By 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 Matzav.com 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.