Thursday, October 2, 2014

Holiday Season

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is followed ten days later by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement - the most serious holiday in the Jewish calendar. For an introductory and/or in depth discussion of the meaning of these days, click here. Suffice it to say that these are very intense days of retrospection and the taking of personal inventory. They are followed by two holidays that are quite the antithesis - the joyous, celebratory days of Sukkat and Simchas Torah. These days are wonderful to visit the Chabad Lubavitch community in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Jews from all over the world travel to either Jerusalem or the world headquarters of the Chabad movement in Crown Heights.  I'm looking forward to spending time on Kingston Avenue and the main Chabad building at 770 Eastern Parkway, affectionately called '770' by Jews all over the world.

My previous visits to 770 were limited to shooting in the main room, the bias hamidrash - literally the room of study - that also serves as the main sanctuary of the building. But the building also has offices, smaller study rooms, and some residences. One of the Lubavitch students took me through some of the rooms, one of which was the main communications hub for all the Chabad centers in the world. As you can see, this was set up long before high speed satellite or internet communications were commonly available:





There are many small rooms in which students study the Talmud and socialize:




The beit hamidrash is the nerve center of the establishment. between the main prayer services, held several times a day, people come for individual prayer, and gather to eat, dance, study, and listen to rabbinical lectures:











It's never too early to begin learning: