The Jewish Community of Pensacola celebrates an event once every seven years

In a modern celebration with ancient roots, the Jewish community of Pensacola will celebrate once every seven years a celebration of unity called “Hakhel” (gathering).

The October 13 unity event will feature live music, a barbecue and bar, entertainment and a children’s program. It promises to attract enthusiastic participants from all walks of Jewish life. The community is invited to join in the celebration.

The celebration will take place in the Sukkah built at the Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center, the traditional seven-day feast in the leaf hut, which will be the largest ever in Pensacola, with room for more than 100 people.

“This is a very exciting year with a celebration that will bring a special unity within the community, and people will certainly appreciate it,” said Rabbi Mendel Danow, director of the Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center.

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“We are especially excited about this year of Hakhel and unity, which comes after COVID-19 when people were unable to gather in large crowds, to now return to celebrate in person with the entire community.”

“Hakhel” is the Hebrew word for gathering or assembly, 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 over the next seven years. The literal observance of Hakhel was only possible during the time of the Holy Temple.

Aerin Bar-Or, 7, and Noah Fromowitz, 9, Hebrew School students at the Palm Beach Synagogue, decorate the Sukkah, an outdoor structure, for Sukkot on September 19, 2021 in Palm Beach.  The Pensacola community is invited to a similar unity event on October 13 which will feature live music, a barbecue and bar, entertainment and a children's program.

The modern observance of Hakhel as a year of Jewish unity and inspiration was established by Rebbe – Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of good memory, the most influential rabbi in modern history. Born in Ukraine 120 years ago, the Rebbe rebuilt Jewish life there after the fall of communism and led the worldwide revival of Judaism after the Holocaust.

The Rebbe called for the year of Hakhel to be a time when people come together in unity. Throughout this Jewish New Year, synagogues, Jewish institutions and people in their homes will hold community unity gatherings to encourage the celebration of Judaism, its observance and the study of Torah.

The Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center strongly believes that Jewish traditions and customs are the birthright of every Jew and that every Jew should have access to them.

Particularly marked this year, as a year of gathering and unity, every Jew, regardless of affiliation or practice, is invited to come and celebrate at this celebration of unity which takes place once every seven years.

What is Sukkot?

Sukkot, the Feast of the Cabins, is a seven-day feast that begins this year on Sunday at sunset and ends the following Sunday, October 16, at nightfall, and is immediately followed by the Feast of Two days of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, ending at nightfall on October 18.

The holiday is celebrated by eating in a sukkah, a temporary structure covered in vegetation or bamboo that commemorates the time when Jews wandered the desert and the miraculous clouds that surrounded them. For more information on Sukkot, visit www.ChabadPensacola.com/Sukkot

Want to go?

  • What? Celebration of Jewish Unity
  • Where: Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center
  • When: 5 p.m., October 13

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