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Thousands of rabbis convene in Cambria Heights to join in prayer for Jewish people around the world

Nov. 10, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

In the wake of the war in Israel and rising antisemitism around the world, approximately 6,500 Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis convened at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights Friday morning for the largest gathering of Jewish leaders in the United States. The purpose of this gathering was to pray for the people of Israel, Jewish people around the world and all of humanity.

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Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis pray for the people of Israel, Jews everywhere and all of humanity at the resting place of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the most influential rabbi in modern history, at Montefiore Cemetery Friday, Nov. 10. Photo by Ethan Marshall

The rabbis, on Nov. 10, prayed at the resting place of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who is viewed as the most influential rabbi in modern history. The resting place for the man known as the Rebbe is considered to be a place of deep spiritual sanctity, with approximately 400,000 people, Jewish and not Jewish, frequenting the site each year to seek blessings, guidance and spiritual inspiration.

This gathering of Jewish leaders happened as they came from all over the world to take part in the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. This annual conference takes place in New York City for the purpose of strengthening Jewish awareness and practice across the globe.

The focus on this year’s conference is the ongoing war in Israel, the rise of antisemitism on college campuses and beyond and the Jewish spiritual awakening seen from Chabad rabbis globally since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. In addition to the 6,500 in attendance, another 1,400 Chabad emissaries in Israel will be joining the conference remotely, as they are needed in their communities.

6,500 rabbis and Jewish leaders from around the world visited New York for the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries, an annual event aimed at strengthening Jewish awareness and practice around the world. Photo by Ethan Marshall

According to Rabbi Motti Seligson, those that met up at Old Montefiore felt it was important to be there and show the unity of the Jewish people.

Photo by Ethan Marshall

“It’s a fraught time for Jews everywhere and for humanity,” Seligson said. “This is an opportunity to come together and pray. This is a sacred place for all people. They come all the time to seek inspiration, help and prayer.”

Photo by Ethan Marshall

Seligson noted that many Jewish people all over the world have become more focused on their religion since the attack by Hamas in Israel. The tragedy acted as a spiritual awakening for them.

Photo by Ethan Marshall

“This awakening has caused so much unity that we’ve never seen before,” Seligson said. “For Jews everywhere, there’s resolve and focus and mutual support.”

Chabad-Lubavitch is considered to be one of the most dynamic Orthodox Jewish movements today. The movement is guided by the teachings of its seven leaders, known as Rebbes. Rabbi Schneerson was the most recent Rebbe, helping to guide Jewry to safety after the devastation of the Holocaust. He set an array of programs, services and institutions to serve the Jewish people until his death in 1994.

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