By COLlive reporter
Hundreds of people participating in “Shabbat in the Heights,” the annual Shabbaton by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) in Crown Heights, enjoyed a musical conclusion to Shabbos.
Gathered at the Oholei Torah ballroom, men and women of all ages joined a Havdalah ceremony led by Cantor Zevy Steiger accompanied by Chony Zucker in what was an uplifting crescendo to a Shabbos filled with Chassidic warmth and inspiration.
Eighty-five adults attended the first year of the Shabbaton and since then the number of participants has grown so that this year organizers expected 320 adults and 100 children from around the US and other countries.
Addressing the guests at the festive Melava Malka that followed were Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Rabbi Efraim Mintz, Executive Director of the JLI institute.
Video: Musical Havdallah
Hosted in the homes of welcoming Chabad families in Crown Heights, guests were able to witness first-hand how preparations for Shabbos are made and how the day itself is celebrated in its entirety and in its authenticity.
On Friday evening, guests met at Lubavitch Headquarters – 770 Eastern Parkway for pre Shabbos study with the renowned author and scholar Rabbi Simon Jacobson. Female guests later enjoyed a pre Shabbos concert with singer Chaviva Tarlow.
On Friday night, guests joined Kabbolas Shabbos davening led by Rabbi Arele Loschak, Director of Young Jewish Professionals of Brooklyn. They then joined Shabbos meals at the home of their hosts.
Shabbos morning began with breakfast at Oholei Torah and continued with the Chassidut Group on the topic of “How Sefirat HaOmer Informs – Personal Transformation” taught by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg of JLI.
During davening and later the Shabbos meal, guests heard from Rabbi Jacobson and Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie, Rabbi Chaim Hanoka, Mr. Ivan Lewis and Rabbi Manis Friedman.
During the day, guests watched a Crossfire panel discussion that has become a staple of JLI’s other successful program, the National Jewish Retreat each summer. They also got to visit the Rebbe’s House on President Street led by Rabbi Zalman Marcus and Mrs. Devora Caytak.
“Many people are intrigued by this mythical-sounding ‘factory of rabbis and rebbetzins’,” commented Rabbi Hanoka, director of Chabad of Pasadena, CA. “But once they visit, it brings the concept of who we are and what we are doing, to life.”
Sunday’s program includes a tour of the women’s Mivkah and a visit to the Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens.