Thousands of children in Chabad Hebrew Schools worldwide are set to participate in an unprecedented “Chanukah Live” Hakhel event produced by CKids.
By Zelig Katzman
While the radical challenge that was the COVID-19 pandemic brought so much devastation to the world, one silver lining of the upheaval was the increased prevalence of using technology to overcome geographical barriers and to bring together those who would otherwise be distant.
One shining example of the utilization of this movement has been the flowering of new online events to mark special occasions. From record-breaking farbrengens to weekly shiurim, Zoom has served as a portal for spreading Judaism in unprecedented ways.
Amongst the organizations taking advantage of this development is CKids, which has been capitalizing on the vast proliferation of the use of Zoom technology to host worldwide rallies for Jewish children enrolled in Chabad Hebrew Schools across the country in advance of Yomim Tovim. And in the spirit of the current year of Hakhel, they plan to host their iconic rally this Chanukah on a scale heretofore unimagined.
Featuring the recital of the 12 pesukim, tefillah, and a Menorah lighting at the Kosel, which will be followed by a magic show, dancing and singing, this Chanukah-themed rally is intended to drive home-both the uplifting message of Chanukah: The triumph of light over darkness. The event hopes to empower all participants to become agents of positive change for themselves, their families and their communities in all areas of Yiddishkeit.
Meant to entertain as much as to inspire, this half-hour event will be chock full of fun, from an appearance by a professional illusionist to exciting raffles on coveted prizes. But most crucially, the children will be made aware of the inheritance they are privileged to share with the millions of Jews scattered across the world, the legacy of the Torah that binds us all together, as diverse and disparate as we may seem. The goal is to showcase the joy of being Jewish, an impression that will hopefully last long after the last child logs off.
The feedback from past rallies has been overwhelmingly positive, as parents shared the joy their children displayed while participating and connecting with Jewish kids the world over. The positive impact it has had on the many children in their communities has not gone unnoticed by their local Shluchim as well. Mrs. Chana Gansburg, director of ACHS in Toronto, Canada, tells us: “I look forward to this year’s Grand Chanukah Hakhel Event. I will certainly promote this very important Mivtzah in my community and specifically in our Hebrew School.”
With a track record like this, anticipation for the coming rally runs high, and many Shluchim are eager to promote it amongst the children attending their schools.
“There is tremendous power in bringing children from all over the world together, and we are looking forward to joining in this very special opportunity,” Mrs. Beila Goodman of Long Beach, New York, shared with us.
The secret of the radical success of these rallies in engaging children of all ages is in the novelty of it “It excites children to feel part of something so much bigger than themselves, uniting with children who are so very far but have so much in common, all while having the time of their lives,” says Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, director of CKids International at Merkos 302, a driving force behind these rallies.
“The importance of these events should not be underestimated, says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, “Bringing together Jewish children is incredibly important, both for the sake of the world as their prayers storm the heavens, and themselves, as we hope the extraordinary experience will leave a lifelong impression.”
The rally will be streamed live on Sunday, December 18th at 12 PM EST on Chabad.org, the day before Chanukah in the US. To take advantage of this unique opportunity to promote Hakhel during the auspicious days of Chanukah, visit http://shluchim.merkos302.com/item/chanukah-hakhel