'Hakhel' Gathering to Emphasize Jewish Unity

Posted Monday, Jan 19th, 2009

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Hundreds of Jewish communities around the world will gather Jan. 25 to hear a live broadcast of an address by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in the first of a series of webcast lectures to be held in honor of the Jewish "Year of Gathering."

The broadcast may be heard from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at two locations on Staten Island: The Chabad Center at 289 Harold Ave., Willowbrook, and at the Family Torah Center, 630 Arden Ave., Annadale.

Rabbi Steinsaltz, who was praised by Time magazine in 1988 as a "once-in-a-millennium scholar," is a noted scholar, philosopher, social critic and author.

According to Rabbi Moshe Katzman of Chabad Lubavitch of Staten Island, the Jewish nation would assemble in the Temple in Jerusalem every seven years during biblical times to hear an address by the king, who would urge them on in the study of Torah and service to Hashem.

"In our generation," he said, "the Lubavitcher rebbe encouraged us to revisit the nearly forgotten tradition of these hakhel gatherings, and organize similar events to inspire and invigorate.

"One of the most fundamental aspects of hakhel was that it emphasized unity and included everyone: Man, woman and child. We thus hope to reach out and invite all Jews to participate, regardless of religious background or affiliation."

The Unity Lecture Series is designed for people with all levels of Jewish knowledge. The series is a project of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, the adult education arm of Chabad Lubavitch. Visit www.UnityLecture.com for information.

For information about Rabbi Steinsaltz's address, call Rabbi Katzman at 718-370-8953. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

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