In a modern celebration with ancient roots, the Jewish community of Pensacola will celebrate a once-in-seven-years unity celebration called ‘Hakhel’ (gathering together).
The unity event on Oct. 13 will feature live music, a BBQ and bar, entertainment, and a children’s program. It promises to draw excited participants from all walks of Jewish life. The community is invited to join the celebration.
The celebration will take place in the Sukkah built at the Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center, the traditional seven-day leaves hut holiday, that will be the largest ever seen in Pensacola, with space for over 100 people.
“It’s a very exciting year with a celebration that will bring special unity within the community, and people are sure to enjoy,” said Rabbi Mendel Danow, director of the Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center.
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“We are especially excited for this Year of Hakhel and unity, coming after COVID-19 when people were not able to congregate in large crowds, to now get back to celebrate in person with the whole community.”
“Hakhel” is the Hebrew word for gathering or assembling, representing the biblical command for all Jews to gather in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, 2,000 years ago, once every seven years on the holiday of Sukkot.
The Jewish king read selections from the Torah to the huge crowd and the event inspired the nation to greater commitment to Jewish life and learning for the next seven years. The literal observance of Hakhel was only possible during the Holy Temple era.
The modern observance of Hakhel as a year of Jewish unity and inspiration was established by the Rebbe — Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, the most influential rabbi in modern history. Born in Ukraine 120 years ago, the Rebbe built back Jewish life there after the fall of Communism and led Judaism’s global post-Holocaust renaissance.
The Rebbe called for the year of Hakhel to be a time for people to come together in unity. Throughout this new Jewish year, Synagogues, Jewish institutions, and people at their homes will host communal unity gatherings to encourage the celebration of Judaism, its observance, and study of the Torah.
The Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center firmly believes Jewish traditions and customs are the birthright of every Jew and that every Jew should have access to them.
Especially highlighted this year, as a year of gathering and unity, every Jew, no matter affiliation or practice, is invited to come and celebrate in this once-in-seven-year unity celebration.
What is Sukkot?
Sukkot, the Festival of the Booths, is a seven-day holiday that begins this year on Sunday at sundown and ends on the following Sunday, Oct.16, at dark, and is immediately followed by the two-day holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, ending at nightfall on Oct.18.
The holiday is celebrated by eating in a sukkah, a temporary structure covered with vegetation or bamboo that commemorates the time the Jews wandered in the desert wilderness and the miraculous clouds that surrounded them. For more information about Sukkot, visit www.ChabadPensacola.com/Sukkot
Want to go?
- What? Jewish Unity Celebration
- Where: Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center
- When: 5 p.m., Oct. 13
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism