Rambam celebration
Rambam celebrationYisrael Bardugo

Hassidic singing star Avraham Fried capped off a gala event at the Jerusalem Convention Center (Binyanei HaUmah) last night, marking a new round of the three-year study cycle of Maimonides' magnum opus.

Thousands of people in Israel and world-wide take part in studying a daily chapter of the work known as the Mishneh Torah, or Yad HaChazakah. Mostly a work of Jewish Law, its 14 volumes and 1,000 chapters also set forth many of the fundamental concepts of Jewish thought and philosophy.

A particularly notable feature of last night's event occurred when emcee Yedidya Meir asked everyone in the audience to send a text message to the phone number that appeared on the large screens aside the stage. He asked that they send the name and number of at least one person whom they would like to "invite" to participate in the daily Rambam cycle. As a result of this simple act, 1,200 new members of all ages signed up within a few hours!

Speakers at the event included author and Talmud teacher Rabbi Haim Sabato, who initiated the world-wide daily Rambam project and whose video lessons on the daily chapter adorn it. In addition, Rabbi Adin Even-Yisrael Shteinzaltz – author and editor of the famous Shteinzaltz Talmud edition - launched his new edition and commentary on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah.

Avraham Fried, who himself studies a daily Rambam (Maimonides) chapter, gave a full performance for his co-studiers at the event.

Among the many who participate in the program are some 18,000 (!) pupils of public-religious schools throughout Israel. Another event is scheduled specifically for them this evening to mark the onset of the new three-year cycle in Menorah Hall in Tel Aviv.

Rabbi Sabato spoke of Maimonides' unparalleled ability to encompass the entire Torah on both a simple level for even young students, and with great complexity and details for great Torah scholars.