This past Shabbos, the Crown Heights community hosted JLI’s Shabbat in the Heights, an annual Shabbaton, that brought Jewish men, women and families from 52 communities across the globe to the Rebbe’s Shchunah to experience Chassidic life in a personal way. A visit to the Rebbe’s shul, study and home allows a glimpse into life with the Rebbe and insight into how he inspired his thousands of emissaries, in Jewish communities in every corner of the world.
The program kicked off in 770 before candle-lighting with Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie who described its significance in his own experience and that of all chassidim. Mrs. Kreinie Paltiel led the women in lighting candles. Before maariv, Rabbi Mordechai Dinerman steered an interactive class and discussion on applying wisdom from the Rebbe in daily life. At a grand Shabbos meal with the entire group in Oholei Torah, the more than 300 participants were greeted by Shabbat in the Heights Vaad Chairman, Rabbi Chaim Hanoka. Rabbi Mendel Kalmanson delivered the keynote.
On Shabbos, after an early-morning Chassidus class by Rabbi Ronnie Fine, davening with a stirring sermon by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. After a dynamic lecture by Rabbi Benny Zippel, guests enjoyed an elaborate Kiddush, and then went to various Crown Heights families, who opened their homes to groups of five, ten or more for Shabbos lunch.
After lunch, the groups visited several local personalities including Rabbi Levi Baumgarten, Professor Baruch Bush, Rabbi and Mrs. Yaakov Goldstein, Rabbi Leibel Groner, Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Mrs. Chanie Apfelbaum, Mrs. Sara Blau, Mrs. Devorah Halberstam, Mrs. Esther Sternberg, Mrs. Miryam Swerdlow, Mrs. Shimona Tzukernik, and Mrs. Goldie Yerushalmi. Participants closed out Shabbos with a Farbrengen. The women were led by Mrs. Shaindy Jacobson at the Junik family home and the men by Rabbi Mendel Kalmanson in Lubavitcher Yeshiva.
At the Melave Malka at the JCM, the participants were greeted by Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Berel Lazar followed by Rabbi Kasriel Kastel of Tzach (the shabbaton was organized by JLI in conjunction with Tzach). Mrs. Molly Resnick gave the keynote address, regaling the crowd with her inspiring journey.
On Sunday morning, participants had a choice to visit one of the various landmarks of Jewish living in the neighborhood. Some visited the Rebbe’s library, Mrs. Dina Rosenfeld provided an educational tour of the women’s mikveh and Rabbi Chaim Fogelman explained modern-day Kashrus at the OK Labs headquarters. Others visited the Muchnik Arts gallery, saw a sofer execute his craft at HaSofer, or viewed the WLCC communication room with Rabbi Chaim B. Halberstam.
All participants were able to visit the Rebbe’s home, led by Rabbi Moshe Denburg. After Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi and Rabbi Sholom Deitsch taught JLI’s lesson explaining the ohel’s significance in the Nemes Hall, they traveled to the Rebbe’s Ohel. Before entering the Ohel, participants heard inspiration from Rabbi Shalom Deitsch.
A participant from Ottawa, Canada was inspired. “All of the speakers, were very human, compassionate and enthusiastic with their life lessons; they were very, very good. The organization and details, were executed with clock-work precision. I cannot say enough, about our hosts, inviting strangers into their homes, to share their accommodations and their dining rooms,” he said.
A Shliach from Navato, CA wrote, “I can do a dozen events in my mokom hashlichus and not have come close to what this experience has done for the group we brought. It was simply life-changing for each of them.”
The shluchim and participants thank the Crown Heights community and all the presenters for partnering with JLI to provide this unforgettable experience.
Photos by Moishy Lew