Photos by Baruch Ezagui
In a major show of unity, thousands of Lubavitchers gathered this evening on Eastern parkway’s main thoroughfare for the much anticipated Mega Hakhel Event.
The Event was inspired by the Rebbe’s directive to arrange large gatherings during this year – a Shnas Hakhel, and was orchestrated by Tzivos Hashem’s Rabbi Shmaryahu Weinbaum with the backing and sponsorship of community institutions and establishments.
The unprecedented preparations involved closing a major thoroughfare during rush hour, and included a large stage, colorful spotlights, smokescreen effects, multiple video and audio stations, a team of professional technicians and organizers, and created the impression that this event would be of another kind, of different proportions. They didn’t disappoint.
The event kicked off with an enthralling musical arrangement stunning the crowd, followed by a superbly crafted video production, narrated by Shimi Wienbaum, creatively informing the viewers of Hakhel’s origins and the Rebbe’s adaptation of it for us today.
Guest musician and entertainer Chaim Fogelman offered some words on Hakhel’s relevance in our daily lives, and went on to play a special Hakhel song composed specifically for the occasion.
Those gathered were treated to a 1980 video of the Rebbe explaining the purpose of Hakhel and starting the Mivtza Hakhel. Large screens set up along the parkway enabled easy viewing, not only of this video, but of the entirety of the event. The Twelve Pesukim were recited by soldiers of Tzivos Hashem of various ranks, followed by “Yechi’, each word loudly echoed back as it was repeated back in unison by thousands of attendees.
Various Chabad Nigunim were peppered throughout the event, often accompanied by flutist Avi Piamenta and rising music star Eli Marcus, the former offering a heart-tugging rendition of the Four Stanzes—Arba Bavos, thereafter encouraging the assembled to unite in Ahavas Yisroel so we merit Hakhel in the Beis Hamikdosh, while the latter showed his superb talent by singing the Ani Ma’amin, the Niggun Hachana, and Nye Zuritzi.
When the stage line up finished for the evening, the event was far from over, as the crowds broke out in exuberant dancing on the main thoroughfare of Eastern Parkway, as Eli Marcus and the orchestra played on.
The dancing continued till 11:00, and from there the crowd marched down Kingston Avenue to Montgomery Street, where the dancing is set to be till the morning.
The Rebbe spoke of the importance of spreading the ‘Hakhel Card’, to fill it out go to joinhakhel.com