Thirty Seven Communities Join “Shabbat in the Heights”

Photos: Sholom Burkis

Last week, thirty-seven delegations led by their shluchim and shluchos, from across America as well as the UK and Belgium, celebrated together at JLI’s ‘Shabbat in the Heights’.

The saying goes, “More than the Jewish people have kept Shabbos, Shabbos has kept the Jews.”

For anyone who attended JLI’s Shabbat in the Heights, this saying has profound relevance. 

Last week, thirty-seven delegations led by their shluchim and shluchos, from across America as well as the UK and Belgium, celebrated together, united by the sheer spirit of community and shared purpose. One could sense the feeling of mutuality and connection between the guests. 

Shabbos commenced with a candle-lighting ceremony which was led by Mrs. Shaindy Jacobson, who uplifted the crowd with song and prayer.

Defining moments included Rabbi Simon Jacobson’s powerful talk about discovering our mission statement, as well as a fascinating crossfire addressing real and current questions within Judaism. Hearing the responses in their no-holds-barred style left guests smiling, but most of all . . . thinking differently. 

Woven between the talks and tours were lavish meals, adding a dash of worldly enjoyment to the entire experience.

Rabbi Yosef Vogel delivered the sermon on Shabbos day, unpacking the metaphor of the Jewish people being referred to as dreamers. Mr. Ivor Rosenberg shared opening remarks, followed by the keynote address given by Rabbi Shais Taub, who inspired the crowd with moving stories on the Rebbe’s impact

Havdalah was followed by a beautiful melavah malka where attendees heard a powerful message from Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky as well as a virtual presentation from Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman on ‘Piercing the Iron Curtain.’ 

Messages from the diverse lineup of speakers attested to the fact that although we may be dispersed across the globe, the common values and goals we share transcend the distance

Representatives from a range of communities had the chance to participate in exciting visits to the Rebbe’s house, his personal study in 770, the popular Jewish Children’s Museum, the women’s mikveh, and OK’s kashrus center. Local personalities like Mrs. Molly Resnick and Chaplain Jacob Goldstein addressed the guests in small groups with their warm and heartening stories of personal experiences. 

From meeting local personalities to intimate Friday night dinners at their hosts’ homes, Shabbat in the Heights guests walked away with a rich and authentic Shabbos experience, empowering them for the new week ahead. 

The program ended with a moving trip to the Rebbe’s ohel. Attendees gathered together to hear uplifting words about the significance of visiting the resting place of such a holy leader, presented by Rabbi Shais Taub, followed by a talk from Mrs. Sheli Atara Man, and had the chance to write in their personal letters as well. 

This culmination was so appropriate since the entire weekend stands true to the Rebbe’s legacy of imparting the value of each and every Jew. 

JLI’s Shabbat in the Heights is a testament to the idea that every Jew comes back home. That is not to say geographically, but spiritually. It was a moment for people to center themselves on their true identity and purpose. 

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