They’ll come by car, bus or train. Some will come by foot, and others by subway. On Sunday, March 13, Jewish people of all ages from the Northeast and beyond will get together for a day of learning and leisure, discovery and dining, sightseeing and services as part of a Hakhel program to take place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., as well as nearby Queens.

Margelit Hoffman of Philadelphia plans to be among them. Together with her husband, Shmuel, and their children, she’ll take the bus to Brooklyn along with other members of Chabad of Penn Wynne. “We are looking forward to giving our kids a glimpse into Lubavitch headquarters,” she says. “While they’ve been to the Ohel before, they haven’t spent so much time in Crown Heights. Neither Shmuel nor I got to meet the Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory] before his passing, so we know we need to take these opportunities whenever they come up.”

“This will be an insider’s peek into the inner workings of the world of Chabad-Lubavitch,” says Rabbi Mordechai Morozov of the Hakhel Office, which is coordinating the event. “People from Chabad centers from miles around will be treated to an experience that we hope will leave them both enlightened and inspired.”

The program is being arranged in honor of Hakhel, a year dedicated to gatherings that foster Jewish unity, Torah study and related inspiration. In ancient times, all of Israel would congregate in the Temple in Jerusalem to hear the king read from the Torah. More recently, the Rebbe encouraged Jewish people to hold gatherings in their communities to recreate some of the special atmosphere that embodied the Temple readings.

Highlights of the program include a group visit to the Ohel (the resting place of the Rebbe and the Sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn,of righteous memory), and guided tours of the Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway and the Rebbe’s nearby home on President Street.

A highlight of the program will be a group visit to the Ohel, the resting place of the Rebbe and the Sixth Rebbe. (File Photo: Bassie Vorovitch)
A highlight of the program will be a group visit to the Ohel, the resting place of the Rebbe and the Sixth Rebbe. (File Photo: Bassie Vorovitch)

At that point, a portion of the group will take advantage of an “insider’s tour” of the neighborhood, such as a visit to the famed Crown Heights matzah bakery and other attractions. Women will also tour the Crown Heights mikvah.

Although Hoffman and her family have been to Lubavitch World Headquarters in the past, she says “it will be nice to get a guided tour to gain new insights. The one other time I’ve been in the Rebbe’s office, I looked around at all his awards and his letters from presidents, and I burst into tears at his example of what one person can accomplish in a lifetime. It’s really motivating.”

For those who prefer a more sedentary type of learning, a parallel track will feature a roster of lecturers and presenters, such as Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement; author and lecturer Rabbi Shais Taub; Rabbi Yossi Paltiel, lecturer and expositor of Chassidic thought; and Rabbi Yossi Engel, director of Chabad of South Australia.

The program will include a tour of the Rebbe's study and home. Here, Prime Minister Mike Eman of Aruba visited the Rebbe's study with Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky. (File Photo)
The program will include a tour of the Rebbe's study and home. Here, Prime Minister Mike Eman of Aruba visited the Rebbe's study with Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky. (File Photo)

The full-day event offers a kid-friendly (ages 7 to 12) program by the Ohel, a restaurant lunch, a game show, education at the Jewish Children’s Museum and other engaging activities.

Participants will then regroup for a gala banquet, complete with musical entertainment, in a grand celebration of Jewish unity.

The event takes place on Sunday, March 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Those wanting to attend can register online here.