Does West Side Stadium Have A Prayer?


Looks like Mayor Michael Bloomberg can use all the help he can get to win approval for a stadium on the West Side. While hosting a group of organizers of Tuesday’s Siyum HaShas celebration, Bloomberg noted that the event was an “amazing celebration of having a great love of study,” then asked the crowd to put in a good word for him with the Almighty.

“Maybe we can even daven a little bit for a West Side stadium,” he smilingly asked the crowd at Gracie Mansion on the night before the siyum, which marks the end of the seven-and-a-half-year Talmud study cycle.

The mayor has invested enormous political capital in his effort to build the stadium, which is the centerpiece of the city’s bid for the 2012 Olympics and would also bring the Jets back to New York. Critics say the plan isn’t worth the investment and would harm the surrounding community.

The last Jewish mayor to openly seek divine providence on a matter of public policy was Abe Beame, who inserted a note in the Western Wall during the 1970s fiscal crunch, praying for a judge to allow the city to sell more bonds. The judge, and perhaps a higher authority, approved.

Bloomberg told the siyum organizers that the stadium would make a great venue for their next celebration. But the mayor may not have done the math. When the next cycle of daily Talmud study ends in another seven and a half years, it will be the summer of 2012 –– when he hopes the city will be hosting the Olympic games. Booking the stadium then would require some major divine intervention.