As the 16th yahrtzeit [anniversary of death] of the Lubavitcher Rebbe begins Monday evening - Jewish dates begin at nightfall) - the central memorial ceremony will be held in Kfar Chabad, in central Israel.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, passed away on the 3rd day of Tammuz, 5754 (June 12, 1994), in New York City, more than two years after suffering a stroke that robbed him of the ability to speak or move his right side. He is considered to have been among the most influential and powerful Jewish personalities and leaders of modern times.
Thousands of students around the world are completing Mishnaic tractates, rabbinical literature and examinations of Jewish law studies in honor of the day.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to file through the stone structure over the Rebbe’s gravesite Monday evening, to beseech G-d for blessings, seek spiritual inspiration and reflect on what the Rebbe’s life meant to them. Based on the experience of recent years, hundreds of thousands of faxes, letters and e-mails containing prayer requests will arrive at Chabad Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, known simply as 770, to be read or placed at the resting place.
In Kfar Chabad, buses from all over the country will arrive for the memorial event. Taking part will be hundreds of heads of Chabad institutions all over the country, as well as the directors of Israel’s 262 Chabad Houses.
“The gathering is aimed at bringing about a great arousal among the Chabad Hassidim in strengthening their ties to the Rebbe and expanding the ways in which we spread his message of Redemption,” said Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Aharonov, head of Chabad organizations in Israel.
After the public study of the first passage of Rabbi Schneerson’s last prepared Torah article, speakers will include leading Chabad rabbis, as well as historian Dr. Aryeh Morgenstern, top Hadassah Hospital orthopedist Dr. Aharon Danziger, and economist Yisrael Ganot, who will tell stories of near-miracles they witnessed the Rebbe perform.
In Jerusalem, special Torah and Hassidut classes will be held throughout the day and night at the Nishmata D’Oraita center.
In Southern California, 1,000 people are expected at a dinner sponsored by centers affiliated with Chabad of the Valley, and in Wisconsin, Rabbi Yossi Jacobson will speak to an estimated 250 people on the Rebbe’s clarion call to reach every single Jew in every corner of the world. Chabad-Lubavitch centers in the greater Detroit, Michigan area will welcome close to 1,500 guests at an annual Evening of Vision, Music and Inspiration, which will feature Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.