In honor of this Hakhel year, Chabad Young Professionals will be hosting their largest-ever weekend Shabbaton in Crown Heights, welcoming any shliach who bring young adults, and culminating with a Motzei Shabbos concert.
It started as a relatively small Shabbaton dubbed “CYP Encounters,” with 50 young professionals gathering in Crown Heights, arranged on the fly just a few years ago. From there, it has burgeoned into something way beyond that. Each year, the group expands, the program is updated, and the experience blows away the thousands of participants.
But this year, plans are underway for far more than just incremental growth. In honor of this Hakhel year that places so much emphasis on assembling as many people as possible to revel in their Judaism, the staff at Chabad Young Professionals are working feverishly to meet the demand from shluchim in the field.
With shluchim encouraging each other and some furious prep behind the scenes, everything is aligned for an experience these young professionals have never seen before. Thankfully large crowds are nothing new for the indomitable residents of Crown Heights, famous for their legendary hospitality. And so, IYH, come this Jan 13-15, the biggest ever CYP Encounter is scheduled to descend upon the avenues and boulevards of NYC.
Shluchim cannot stress enough how impactful this weekend experience has been for their Young Professionals. As Rabbi Mayshe Schwartz, Shliach in Brookline, MA, said, “for someone looking to move the needle of their Yiddishkeit, this is the greatest gift they can get. This is the greatest possible investment in their Judaism.”
Indeed, the curated program is designed to accomplish just that. As young adults spend a weekend immersed in the distinct Yiddish and Chassidishe flavor of Crown Heights with hundreds of others from diverse backgrounds, they cannot help but be impressed. Touring the ins and outs of the neighborhood, including a visit to the sofer, kosher establishments, a tour of the mivkah, and other stops along the way, provide insight into daily Jewish life. To boot, the intense and uplifting farbrengens throughout the entire weekend make an indelible impact.
And, of course, the climax of visiting the Ohel on Sunday leaves everyone with much to think about and implement in their daily lives.
Throwing the doors wide open, in contrast to previous years, this year’s Encounter will welcome all shluchim who bring young adults, even non-regular CYP shluchim. To further bring the Hakhel spirit to all, the grand Motzei Shabbos event will be a massive concert open to all New York-area young professionals.
“We are seeing an increasing number of CYP communities blossoming in places that at first glance you wouldn’t necessarily associate with young professionals,” said Rabbi Beryl Frankel, Director of CYP International, “We are encouraging Shluchim with young professionals in their communities to participate in the Shabbaton as a way to begin engaging the YPs of their communities.”
Excitement is mounting among the shluchim as the weekend looms closer. “Even nine months after the last Shabbaton, the two gentlemen who came with me last year cannot stop encouraging their friends at every event to come this year for the Shabbaton,” said Rabbi Levi Farkash of CYP Bellevue. “Everything about the event is five star, and we hope the representation from Bellevue is much larger for this Hakhel year.”
“Over the years, we’ve seen incredible results from these Encounters,” said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, “The concrete life-changing ideas and connections born out of an authentic Shabbos experience steeped in inspiration and fun together with young Jews who are at a similar stage in life impacts these YPs for years to come.”