A palpable energy of excitement filled the streets of Crown Heights this November 4th, as throngs of university students arrived in town for Chabad on Campus International’s annual Pegisha Shabbaton. The students were treated to an unforgettable weekend of unique experiences that only the Crown Heights neighborhood, home to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, could offer.
Despite organizers’ planning for many extra participants compared to last year’s event, registration filled quickly and broke records. Over 1,200 students, almost 200 Chabad emissaries, and 65 additional chaperones came for this year’s Pegisha. “In future years, we’re going to be creative so as to accommodate even more people—and we absolutely plan on doing so,” said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International.
This year’s programming included a musical prelude to Shabbos by the sought-after Chasidic band 8th Day, lectures, discussions, and farbrengens (inspirational Chasidic gatherings) throughout Shabbos, warm welcomes into the homes of hundreds of families in the Crown Heights community who hosted the participants, and the highly anticipated Havdalah concert following Shabbos, with another performance by 8th Day as well as the stars of the Miami Boys Choir, who recently rose to social media fame. The weekend’s inspiring closing program was led by the Global Head of Culture at TikTok and author of What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid, Michal Oshman. Students were also given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences during the Shabbaton with a visit to the Ohel, the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
“The energy and pride I got to experience this weekend is something that will always stick with me. From the lessons we learned, to standing on a chair singing my heart out at Shabbos lunch, to going to the Ohel, this trip is unforgettable and something I hope every Jew on campus will experience,” said Katie Penn of Illinois State University, where Rabbi Chaim and Rochel Telsner operate the Chabad on Campus.
“Pegisha was an incredible experience,” said Julia Freedman of ISU. “I had the opportunity to learn about myself and my Jewish identity, ask questions, and so much more. I feel so inspired and couldn’t have imagined a more amazing weekend. “