The Call from Mr. Reichmann


paul-reichmann1By Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding

In memory of the great man who was Reb Moshe Reichmann zt”l, I wish to share a story here on that is not public knowledge.

Before the 1990 Siyum HaShas, Rabbi Moshe Sherer z’l assigned me to procure Madison Square Garden’s main arena for the Ninth Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi.
When I called the Garden office, I was told, under no uncertain terms, that the venue was rented out to the circus the entire week near the Siyum date and we should try again in 7 years.

I reported back to Rabbi Sherer what the response was, but also gave him a suggestion: The Garden’s ownership was connected to Gulf & Western, which was also connected to the Reichmann’s. They were negotiating to build a new Madison Garden at the nearby rail yards and I mentioned to Rabbi Sherer that it might be an idea to call Moshe Reichmann; maybe he could help, which Rabbi Sherer immediately did.

It wasn’t long before the president of Madison Square Garden (I think his name was Mendelsohn) called Rabbi Sherer and said he heard from Mr. Reichmann that he wanted to meet him. Within a few days, he was in Rabbi Sherer’s office for lunch when Rabbi Sherer asked him what he could do to allow the Agudah to use the Garden for the Siyum HaShas. He subsequently went to his legal department and called back Rabbi Sherer to inform him that there was a clause in their contract with the circus that allowed them to “buy out” the circus for a day, and he asked Rabbi Sherer if he was ready to do that.

Well, the rest is history.

BTW, if you look at any of the photos of the Ninth Siyum, you will see circus rigging attached to the ceiling. And, yes, the animals were fed right before the Siyum so as not to interfere with any unwanted roaring during the Siyum.

Two great men, Rabbi Sherer and Moshe Reichmann.

Yehi zichrom boruch.

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  1. His son said over by the levaya last night that his father had absolutely no ” chemdas Hamamon” In my opinion that short tidbit tells much more than the above story. Than again this is just one man’s opinion.

  2. I do have a vague memory of the stench of animals at the Gardens at that Siyum. And if my memory serves me right we were told upon inquiry that there were elephants right beyond that wall – the usher pointing to a wall.
    Ehat a story!
    Thanks Yosef Chaim

  3. I wish to relate a reverse story about these two askunim. When the Reichmans (Olympia & York) were building the Financial center near the World Trade Center they did not allow any work on Shabbes and had the work continued on Sunday. Some christian groups demonstrated in front of the project to halt the “desecration” of their Sunday. Reichman called Reb Moshe Sherer and he contacted the cardinal of NYC who in turn called off the protests. Heard from Reb Moshe himself.

  4. Here we have a feel good story and we have commentators who are full of Kina and can’t “fargin” this story. Quote The elephants smelled,they were behind the curtain. This story is already known. Should have made it in another arena .Eat your peanuts ….. What would you have done?

  5. Just a post script!
    31 years ago, this Friday, 28 Cheshvan was the siyum hashas before the one mentioned in this story! It was only in the Felt Forum and they could hardly fill it! (Its capacity is 6,000 seats)