In Honor of Yud Shvat, The Released Time Program hosted a grand Hakhel gathering. 600 children from public schools across NYC gathered in 770 on the day that marks the Yartzait of the Frierdiker Rebbe and 66 years of the Rebbe’s leadership.
The children were overtaken by joy as they were greeted by bochurim dancing in clown costumes. MC, Rabbi Shimon Hecht, introduced children representing schools from the 5 boroughs to recite the 12 pesukim.
Special uplifted sprits were felt by the children when they sang Released Time songs in 770 accompanied by singer Eli Markus with musician Tzvi Rimler.
In the course of the event, children enjoyed a juggling show by Shmulik Cyprus and special snacks over which they all recited brochoh together.
They were told stories of the extreme Ahavas Yisroel of the Frierdiker Rebbe and Rebbe to each yid. The stories gave them a true understanding of the special love, affection and caring the Frierdiker Rebbe and Rebbe have for each and every child.
The gathering in 770 left a tremendous impact on the children. They were now strengthened with heightened enthusiasm for Yiddishkeit. Sara of PS 216 expressed, “It felt so good to be in a place that everyone is a Rabbi and in the shull where everyone is a Rabbi and to be in the main Rabbi’s Shull.”
Kevin of PS 177 put it this way, “It’s so cool! I’ve never seen so many Jewish people in one place!!” Release Time, in itself is an expression of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s boundless Ahavas Yisroel. As Dr. Luchins related in the name of Rabbi Noach Wineberg who was a Releaed Time instructor in the early 1940’s, (from Yeshivas Chaim Berlin) and later founder of Aish Hatorh. “As a Released Time teacher I learned one big thing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I learned the power of non-judgmental Ahavas Yisroel!
The thought of giving an intermarried Jew hand-baked Shmurah Matza, which cost 25 cents [a large sum to give away] in those days, the thought of giving a Lulav and Esrog to a Jew who never kept Shabbos, was unthinkable in Europe, it was even unthinkable to the American Orthodox Jewry in the 1940’s.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe changed that… He created the concept that lovingly, non-judgmentally, all we want is to share Torah with you and to do a mitzvah with you.”
Over the years, the Rebbe gave special attention to the Released Time children, including one Sukkos when the Rebbe called for a farbrengen in the sukkah exclusively for them.
Till today, Released Time remains to be the only educational institution that provides Jewish education, all across New York City, with no charge to the parents and without any funding from the government.
Release Time is very grateful to all the supporters that find the Frierdiker Rebbe’s cause close to their heart and continue to make it possible to bring free Jewish education to children in public school, in an ever increasing manner.
A special thank you to Eli Speiro and the Released Time Bochurim, Released Time staff, Gaboim of 770 and Yitzy Vail for making this event the success that it was.