Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and the Vaad of the International Kinus Hashluchim released an array of materials and resources today for the upcoming Birchas HaChama.
Birchas HaChama (“Blessing of the Sun”) refers to a Jewish blessing that is special in that it is recited on the Sun only once every twenty-eight years. The next date of its recital will be on April 8, 2009 (14 Nisan 5769).
The Chabad offices have sent out an email today with brief descriptions of resources prepared for Shluchim and Chabad Houses, which includes marketing materials and educational resources for both children and adults.
Marketing Birchas HaChama in your Community
A series of marketing materials has been developed, featuring various tag lines, with options to customize flyers, posters, or postcards.
Kehos has published two valuable resources for Birchas Hachama. The Birkat Hachama Annotated Edition: Following the popular, user-friendly format of the Annotated Liturgy Series, it includes a compilation of Chabad customs related to this special event, translated from the original Hebrew (an excellent handout and for Purim/Pesach mailings). A second, more extensive version includes “A Digest of Laws of Birchas HaChamah” and features the Hebrew text of the Minhagim of Birhas HaChamah, three Sichos of the Rebbe pertaining to Birchas HaChamah, and a compendium of in-depth essays and analyses. This is an indispensable tool for preparing your community for this historic occasion
Chabad.org has launched a comprehensive section devoted to Birchas Hachamah. This section contains an overview of the mitzvah and ceremony, the procedure, FAQs, a Global Event Search as well as in-depth information on the astronomical calculations.
More features will, IYH, be added in the coming days, including: texts of the ceremony, multimedia resources, and more. Chabad.org is also looking into the feasibility of doing a live webcast of various Birchas Hachamah ceremonies around the world.
JNet teachers are pleased to schedule special sessions with your Baalei Baatim dedicated to Birchas Hachamah.
Consider setting up your friends and Baalei Batim with one of JNET’s experienced instructors. They will be provided with JLI’s Birchas Hachamah shiur to study with their Chavrusah. This is an excellent resource for students who wish to study this mitzvah in greater depth. Sessions can be tailored to accommodate their schedule. Visit www.JNET.org or call (888) JNET-2-GO.
During the weeks prior to Birchas Hachamah, the dedicated MyShliach mentors will engage their students, the Tzeirei Hashluchim, in special discussions about this mitzvah.
Colored by stories, activities and contests, these lessons will help contextualize this once-in-28-years mitzvah through a child’s eyes. Be sure to encourage your children to partake in this special service.
JEM will be releasing a 90-minute DVD, Blessing of the Sun: The once-in-a-generation commandment. It will include a six-minute feature video on the significance of the sun in Jewish observance and history, and an explanation of the Mitzvah of Birkas Hachama. It will also include the full Birkas Hachama with the Rebbe in 5741, along with the full-length Sichos, with introductions and translation in English, Hebrew, French, Spanish and Russian. As a bonus track, the Rebbe’s full-length talk from 5741 about solar energy will be included.
The project is complete, waiting only for a dedication. You can see the cover and pre-order here. It will be available in bulk at special prices.
Users of Shluchim Exchange will be able to exchange their Birchas HaChama files and resources in a special Birchas Hachama area of the Shluchim Exchange
This area can be accessed by clicking here. In addition, a special email forum will be created where shluchim can discuss and exchange ideas on their Birchas HaChama event.
Beis Medrash L’shluchim
Beis Medrash L’Shluchim will be featuring a series of two classes dedicated to Birchas HaChama. The first class will feature an overview of the Mitzvah and its deeper meaning, providing you with the necessary background you will need when sharing the significance of Birchas HaChama with your community. The second class will discuss the practical how-to and associated Halochos relating to Birchas HaChama, followed by a live question and answer session to address any questions you might have.
Chabad on Campus
Chabad on Campus will be coordinating and disseminating appropriate materials for university students and faculty members to join their local Chabad Houses for this historic event. Marketing materials and educational resources will be provided to best address the Jewish student population. Stay tuned for further details from the office of Chabad on Campus International Foundation.
Tzivos Hashem has prepared a large centerfold poster, appearing in the latest issue of The Moshiach Times. This colorful child-oriented piece outlines the source of the mitzvah, and presents key facts in an attractive cartoon-like format that is sure to excite younger children. In addition the Blessings and other practical aspects are included as well. Click here to see the image.
Smile on Seniors
Smile On Seniors has produced a large print card for Birchas Hachama for volunteers to distribute to their seniors buddies. With hundreds of volunteer ba’alei batim visiting Jewish seniors weekly in their homes and residences to bring yiddishkeit into their lives, this can be a most valuable tool to bring this historic Mitzvah to seniors and the visually impaired. SOS affiliates and all shluchim may use the card at their discretion. Email [email protected] to receive your a PDF for distribution in your community.
JLI has produced a comprehensive lesson featuring an in-depth analysis of Birchas Hachamah and will emphasize its unique nature and place in the canon of Jewish festivals. Another section outlines key questions and answers on how this mitzvah differs from Avodah Zarah, and a final meditation is included for the spiritually inclined.