50+ Chabad Houses to Join ‘Shabbat in the Heights’

At a time when being Jewish doesn’t feel easy, ‘Shabbat in the Heights’ sees an influx of communities seeking a Jewish “homecoming” with a Shabbos in Crown Heights.

At a time when Jews everywhere feel increasingly under threat, scores are finding ways to reconnect to their heritage. For the five hundred members of over fifty communities who plan to join Shabbat in the Heights come 9–11 Iyar, May 17–19, the path back home runs through Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Nine years ago, Rabbi Chaim Hanoka brought his Pasadena, California, community to Crown Heights. “Even after years in Pasadena, a piece of my heart was still in Crown Heights,” states Rabbi Hanoka. Unfortunately, his homecoming meant arranging an entire Shabbaton program from scratch. “I’m not a tour guide by nature,” he says. “All the logistics . . . it got tedious.”

But this Iyar, he’s returning to Crown Heights with his community—for the eighth consecutive year—thanks to a JLI program known as Shabbat in the Heights. “They put the whole program together from soup to nuts,” he says. “As a shliach, you just sit back and enjoy the experience with your community.”

Since 2016, Shabbat in the Heights has invited shluchim worldwide to lead their communities on an elevated, authentic experience of the Chabad movement’s beating heart: Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“It’s got a mystique,” says Rabbi Hanoka, who now serves as Shabbat in the Heights’ chairman. “They’ve heard about the Rebbe’s shul and the Ohel, but seeing it for themselves is a whole different ball game.”

The Shabbaton’s program includes tours of 770, the Rebbe’s library, safrus factories, mikva’os, and more. Participants will enjoy warm Shabbos meals with local families alongside talks, lectures, and group discussions on big Jewish ideas. Before and after Shabbos, the groups will visit the Ohel, and experience the simple joy of walking down Kingston Avenue and feeling proud to be Jewish.

“The Shabbos always makes a big impression,” Rabbi Hanoka says. “Some people bought tefillin, some bought mezuzos, some began keeping Shabbos more, and everyone had an enjoyable time.”

Shabbat in the Heights is slated to run from 9 Iyar, May 17, through 11 Iyar, May 19, 2024.

For more information concerning Shabbat in the Heights or to register your community, visit shabbatintheheights.com.

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