Since Monday night, thousands of hassidim have gathered at the so-called “Ohel” (literally, the tent) – the shrine built over the grave of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory. Jews of all stripes have all come together to pour out their hearts at the site.
The line snakes back to the cemetery’s entrance. As they silently and patiently wait their turn, worshippers grasp religious books and recite Psalms.
Night prayers at the grave (photo: Shturem.net)
Video clips – in several languages – are projected onto screens. Meanwhile, in the adjacent house, the faithful sit and study the Rebbe’s teachings.
Groups of “shluchim” (Chabad emissaries) have also converged on the Ohel. Seemingly every second, another taxi pulls up. The shluchim have come from around the world. Some stay for a short while, and others remain for several hours before heading back towards the airport.
Female worshippers (photo: Shturem.net)
The crowds peaked on Tuesday. Masses of people came to pay their respects – including hundreds of school groups from New York metropolitan schools, tens of delegations from Chabad houses throughout the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area, and untold numbers of tourists from around the globe.
Waiting in line (photo: Shturem.net)
Each group was only permitted to stand at the grave for two or three minutes. There were separate lines for men and women.
The police were out in force, and private security officials helped maintain the peace.
For those who were unable to make it to New York, worldwide vigils and prayer gatherings also commemorated the Rebbe’s yahrzeit (anniversary of his death).