Chabad of Pasadena organized a Mivtzoim stand at both the Rose Bowl game on January 1st on at the BCS championship game on January 7th.
This was a major accomplishment as many obstacles had to be overcome to be granted the permission for this.
Rabbi Chaim Hanoka, Director of Chabad of Pasadena said, “This was a major Kiddush Hashem and a Kiddush Shem Lubavitch as close to 100,000 attended each game and the Mivtzoim booth was right outside the main gate with literally tens of thousands of people passing by.”
Many dozens of teffilin were put on, in quite a few cases it was a first time experience.
Hanoka said that many passersby commented that they could not believe they met Chabad here, asking if he knew “my Chabad Rabbi” from Ohio, Oregon, Alabama or Texas (where the teams were from).
As the mivtzoim stand was being put away, one last gentleman stopped by and asked Rabbi Hanoka if he knows Rabbi Levi Shemtov from Washington, DC. Hanoka replied of course, he was my classmate, and then asked for the visitor’s name.
The visitor turned out to be Ari Fleisher, the White House’s press secretary for President Bush. After telling Rabbi Hanoka about his connection with Chabad and a few personal tidbits about his stint in the White House, he too put on Teffilin and was visibly moved by the experience.
The Bochurim who helped with the Mivtzoim did a fantastic job and a big yaasher koach goes to Hatmimim Zalmy Klyne, Moishe Lipshitz, Moishe Pape, Yehuda Slonim, Laibel Hanoka, Sroli Friedman and of course the rally Rabbi -Rabbi Yosef Langer from Chabad of S. Fransisco who flew down for the BCS.