People across the globe are preparing to mark the anniversary of the passing of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—on the third day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, corresponding this year to Thursday, June 25. And with the ever-growing engagement with the Rebbe’s vast body of scholarship and teachings, this year, 26 years after his passing, more people than ever before are expected to commemorate his legacy.

This is due in part to the myriad publishing projects in multiple languages delving into the Rebbe’s teachings. Among them are Toras Menachemthe 68th Hebrew volume was released recently—the new bi-lingual edition of Likkutei Sichot, academic books such as Social Vision and popular works like Positivity Bias and Wisdom to Heal the Earth, which, together with videos, websites, social media and new Chabad-Lubavitch centers around the world, have made the Rebbe’s profound message for humanity more accessible than ever.

The impact of the novel coronavirus, if anything, only serves to further expand the reach of this meaningful day, say organizers of events around the world. But it also means reimagining how one goes about marking the day in non-conventional ways, like Zoom classes and conferences taking place around the world.

Thoughts about how best to observe the day are on the mind of Arnie Herz of Port Washington on Long Island, N.Y. In a conversation with, he explained that while he would have certainly made his way this year to the Ohel—the Rebbe’s resting place in Queens, N.Y.—with social-distancing guidelines still in place due to the current pandemic, he’s not entertaining that notion.

Does that mean he’s feeling the Rebbe’s reach any less?

Not at all. “As a recent baal teshuvah, I really feel that the Rebbe and Chabad teachings are everywhere—and I mean that in a real way. So much of what I’ve come to understand of what the Rebbe was all about was to imbibe the messages of Judaism. So, for me, the Rebbe is right here in my home.

“In other years, the power is indeed more strongly felt in a specific place, namely at the Ohel, but this year, precisely because of the current situation, I firmly believe that the power has been transported into my living room. Of course, at some point, that power will shift back to wherever it needs to be, but for now, it’s right here—and I plan on capitalizing on that.”

To that end, together with his wife, Suzanne, he plans on spending the day studying the Rebbe’s teachings, praying just a bit more and reflecting on what the Rebbe teaches him about life.

How to Observe the Day From Home

Indeed, 3 Tammuz is a day traditionally used for reflection, learning, prayer, and above all, positive action—all items not limited to any specific time or space. Based on time-honored tradition and the Rebbe’s own teachings, there are quite a few ways to commemorate this special day, which are compiled here.

A key observance of the day is writing a letter to be placed at the Ohel for the Rebbe’s guidance and intervention On High, in the age-old tradition of written prayer petitions at our holiest sites. Letters are written and delivered throughout the year, and the anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing is considered a particularly auspicious time to do so. Letters can be written at home and then sent online to be placed at the Ohel by staff and volunteers.

For those who still wish to personally visit the Ohel, the opportunity is available under strict guidelines.

Dovid Weissman lives with his wife, Lifsha, and their five children in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. Though not exactly a hop, skip and jump away from New York, Weissman regularly visits the Ohel, making a point to be there on special days never missing 3 Tammuz.

When 11 Nissan—the Rebbe’s birthday, which corresponded this year to April 5—came and went, and Weissman wasn’t able to make his annual trip to the Ohel, his only comfort was knowing that he would certainly be there soon enough. With the first glimmers of healing peeking through our battered country, he plans on doing whatever it takes to be there this Thursday.

How? Flying poses one set of challenges while driving comes with its own, such as lodging and whatnot, so what to do?

Adhering to the social-distancing guidelines posted on the Ohel’s website and consulting with a close personal medical professional friend at home, he landed on the perfect idea—an RV. Driving halfway across the country with his bed in tow, he sees his chance to pay a visit to the Rebbe.

“I plan on arriving late Wednesday night, sleeping a little, going into the Ohel early Thursday morning to place my [letter] there, and immediately heading back to Chicago in time for Shabbat,” he told “It’s an ambitious ride, but with the opportunity to finally visit, if even for a moment, I can’t imagine anything else.”

Andrew Lucks, who usually attends the Chabad Young Professional Community of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, headed by Rabbi Yosef and Devorah Wilhelm, is considering his options. “I would usually certainly go, and I hope I can do so this year as well,” he said. Currently safely quarantined away on Long Island, Lucks has observed the slow reopening in the area, and with the mandatory precautions in place at the Ohel, he’s hopeful that he will be able to be there in person.

To avoid what may still be larger-than-usual daily crowds, some are opting to visit days beforehand. Simona Trembitsky of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a regular visitor, and as her birthday falls just days before, on the first day of Tammuz, she’s planning to go to the Ohel then and ask for personal blessings on her new year ahead.

For those considering going, staff at the Ohel have put together a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure public health. In addition to the obvious measures of social distancing and wearing face masks, other restrictions are being put in place. The Ohel is surrounded by many tents that also serve as synagogues, a place to learn, and, of course, a place to sit down, reflect and compose a personal letter to the Rebbe. Round-the-clock refreshments are available, and overall, it’s a beehive of activity.

This year, the visitor center will be closed with guests requested to compose their letters prior to arrival. While usually a two-minute time slot is allotted to visitors at the actual gravesite, this year, that has been changed to only a brief moment to enter, place the letter and leave.

Nevertheless, Ethan Stein, who also attends services with Chabad on the Upper East Side, plans to make the trip into Queens. “I know that the Ohel is now open in a limited way, and I feel fortunate to have battled the virus myself and regained my full health. With the opportunity just a 20-minute Uber ride away, I feel privileged to be able to personally visit. I hear of people driving in from California, and I really can’t think of a more necessary time to be praying at the Rebbe’s Ohel than now,” he said. Beyond that, “I feel a sense of responsibility to act as an agent on behalf of all my Jewish brothers and sisters who want so much to come and are not able to do so,” he added.