‘Class picture’ of nearly 5,000 rabbis gathered at Brooklyn synagogue

Nearly 5,000 rabbis from around the world met for the big photo in Crown Heights Brooklyn this morning. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Sunday was a joyous occasion for the rabbis who came from as far away as India, Belgium and the Ukraine to gather at the world headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch in Brooklyn for a special moment caught on camera.

As they do every year, the gathering of 5,000 rabbis posed in front of the Eastern Parkway headquarters for an annual “class picture,” as organizers announced it. The rabbis also attend the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries, the annual event designed to strengthen Jewish awareness and practice around the world.

Prior to the picture, they prayed in tight quarters inside the Lubavitch synagogue. All performed the holy rituals that include putting on the tefillin, black leather boxes containing Torah verses which are worn during morning prayers.

A rabbi puts on the ritual tefillin in the synagogue. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Many of the rabbis gathered in Brooklyn Sunday spoke of the importance of connecting with others from across the world in order to share and strengthen their faith.

“It’s important for me to meet my friends, to strengthen my work and do what God wants us to do,” said Rabbi Shalom Ber Sudak of London, England. “We want to encourage people to be close to the Yiddishchite, to be happy with what we are supposed to do.”

“I was invited, and have been coming for 50 years,” added Rabbi Joseph Hardman of Israel.  “I represent 6,000 talmidim (disciples) that I’m here for. I’m very veshtatum, meaning I’m very satisfied here because they always make us feel welcome.”

Rabbi Mordachai Chencon of Brussels, Belgium was with his father Schmoel David Chencon and they said they felt honored to be praying with so many rabbis.

“We need to take a full review of what we do, and then we speak with the Rebbe – we do this to hold together – and together we are strong, that is very important,” Rabbi Chencon said.

A big thumbs up from rabbis from around the world who gathered for the world conference on Eastern Parkway. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Orthodox Jews at prayer in the Crown Heights synagogue this morning. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Despite the rain, rabbis gather for the big photo. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

There were special prayers offered for Rabbi Menachem M. Scheerson, one of the most influential Jewish leaders in history, who died in June 1994. Some in Chabad Judaism believe Scheerson to be the moshiach (messiah).

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m. to reflect the removal of inaccurate information related to yesterday’s event. We regret any confusion which may have resulted.

Todd Maisel