By An Avid Nightlifer
You can see it on our faces; the air of enthusiasm and revitalization as we greet each other with smiles that say it all. Nightlife is back!
It’s true: The much-loved Crown Heights Nightlife events are retaking their prominent positions on the calendars of single young women in and around Crown Heights. Over the last three weeks, whether it’s a Chanukah party, a Yud Tes Kislev farbrengen, or a mass prayer gathering at the Ohel for Yud Daled Kislev, every personality found something relatable at Nightlife’s new cycle of events. For every “type” of single girl in the city, Nightlife has been marked as an evening’s preferred destination. Be it for the exciting social scene, to catch a motivating lecture, have a nutritious supper or to just “be”, the exclusive Nightlife vibe is known for its inevitable long lasting impact.
“Now more than ever, Nightlife is offering events for girls, by us girls,” said Chanie Blotner, a Nightlife attendee, in an announcement at the Yud Daled Kislev event, the first Nightlife event of the year. “We’re creating our own sense of community, and it’s up to us to make it happen.”
Yud Daled Kislev – Davening at the Ohel
It’s not an accident that Nightlife comes back to life every year on Yud Daled Kislev. On the day of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s wedding anniversary, a large contingent of single young women get together at the Ohel to daven for shidduchim. We stand together, realizing the strength of the many.
“We ask for each other, for every ben or bas Yisroel, and finally for ourselves,” the Pan Klali stated. In an inspirationally charged davening of 70 young women, nearly 1,000 names were recited out loud, one by one, for a bracha that would enable each person to find his or her match and establish a bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel. In addition, the entire Tehillim was completed three times.
Rabbi Shea Hecht addressed the group with words of encouragement and direction. “It is a common custom to go to a chosson and kallah on the day of their wedding to ask for brochos. It is therefore appropriate that you all come here today, to the Chosson and the Kallah, to ask them for brochos for shidduchim.”
Rabbi Hecht recounted the story of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s wedding, going into detail about how the event took place and all the preparations involved.
“Keep in mind how old the Rebbetzin was when she got married,” he quipped. “She was in her latter twenties, so don’t get discouraged.”
On the way back from the Ohel, some of us took on good resolutions as a keili for the brochos and in order to set a proper foundation for married life.
Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen
Back “home” at the Nightlife Lounge, 150 ‘Nightlifers’ attended a Yud Tes Kislev farbrengen to remember.
Rabbi Dov Yona Korn – ever passionate and alive – called our attention to how much we have individually and collectively accomplished thus far in our spiritual mission, and to take into account the effect we have on the world with every action we take. He emphasized that we all have our strengths, and we need to capitalize on them instead of getting ‘stuck’ on things that are difficult for us.
“We have to do what we can do. As Hayom Yom says so clearly: it’s not about moving mountains. Every Mitzvah on its own is valuable and the Mitzvos we have done so far are amazing. We will do more and we will shine more. But every action we have already done is actually bringing Moshiach. Look around, we’re sitting in a room full of the Rebbe’s soldiers, all of us working to bring Moshiach now and the way the each of us knows how.”
For three hours, Rabbi Korn had us soaking up Chassidus. The messages he imparted were woven into stories and Divrei Torah, sprinkled with his unmatched sense of humor. He spoke about the great magnitude of a day like Yud Tes Kislev and how we can keep true to its meaning throughout the year. Some of us were courageous enough to ask some very open and honest questions which compelled us all to look within ourselves for the answers…
Chanukah Party and Drum Circle
In case you think Nightlife is all seriousness, you’ve got another thought coming… Nightlife knows how to put up a party! An email asking, “So you think you can DRUM?” invited us to a jovial evening in true Chanukah spirit complete with menorah lighting, Chanukah songs, a brilliant drum circle, lively dancing and plenty of good food.
Led by Moshe Sobol, leader of the Hip-Hop/Reggae band “Shem’s Disciples”, where he composes, produces and arranges music, the drum circle rocked! He had us all stomping and clapping, banging and laughing as he guided us through the dynamics of pitch and drumming. When we got a good rhythm going, he came in with an awesome song he had just been working on.
As we went around the room, each attendee shared something inspiring about Chanukah or what brought them to the event.
“It’s my first time at a Nightlife event,” said one as she handled her drum. “But it definitely won’t be my last!”
Another shared, “To me, Chanukah is about spending time with friends and family. We get together and celebrate together. Being here at Nightlife is exactly that.”
Turning the music up and the lights down for a night of dancing, we found ourselves back in the Nightlife groove, chilling and hanging out with friends both old and new.
A Community-Supported Project
Remarkably, Crown Heights businesses are displaying their true colors, partnering with Nightlife to make these events a reality. Many business-owners appreciate the significance of a project like this one, and they’ve stepped up to the plate. These most recent events have been sponsored by local businesses such as Empire Grill, House of Glatt, Kosher Town, Kol Tuv, Dovid Malka, BenZ’s Gourmet, Café K and Mendy’s. At each Nightlife event we are treated to a delicious light dinner served with lovely presentation. Thank you all for your partnership in Nightlife’s success!!
“I’m impressed that girls in Crown Heights took initiative to ensure the continuation of such a creative and original project,” one young lady marveled. “It’s even more amazing to see how many people support it!”
Interestingly, no matter how many girls have already come through Nightlife’s doors, there are constantly new faces.
“I just came to Crown Heights and didn’t really get involved with the social scene yet,” said one new Nightlife attendee. “Now that Nightlife’s back, I can’t wait to take part in its classy events and really meet people.”
Additionally, Nightlife is supported by the girls themselves, who sponsor events for special occasions, or participate on an ongoing basis as members.
The ultimate thanks goes to the unparalleled generosity of the Rubashkin family. From Moshe Rubashkin who brought the Nightlife dream into fruition, to his wife Faige who selflessly welcomes us into her home time after time, Nightlife is forever grateful to this special family. Thanks to them, the ever-comfortable Nightlife Lounge – the Rubashkins’ basement – always seems to offer just the right ambience to make an event special with a good dose of sophistication. Here, the single young women in our community have a place to call “home”, to connect and recharge so they can go back to being students, employees, business owners, shluchos and teachers re-energized and ready to make a difference in the world.
Nightlife Plans for the Future
Going into the future, Nightlife plans to continue with weekly Monday evening lectures, special events on prominent dates in the Jewish and Chassidic calendar, Shabbatons, talent shows and a new Nightlife website.
To contact Nightlife for further info or volunteer/partnership opportunities, email [email protected] or visit www.CHnightlife.wordpress.com.