(JTA) — The Chabad-Lubavitch movement estimates that 100,000 people on 45,000 devices gathered in an online Zoom event to honor the late Chabad rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Schneerson, who died in 1994, led the movement’s transition from a small and insular Hasidic sect to an outward-facing global force. Tens of thousands visit his grave in Queens, New York, every year on the anniversary of his death. Things were different this year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our focus is always to strengthen people’s connection to the Rebbe’s example and teachings — to be inspired to become closer to God and our fellow,” Rabbi Levi Slonim, a Chabad emissary to Binghamton, New York, and a member of the organizing committee, told Chabad.org. “This year, we needed to dig deeper and be more creative in order to accomplish our goal, but thank God, the event was deeply moving and the sheer magnitude of it was breathtaking.”
The approximately 100,000 people who tuned in gathered in 26 different Zoom rooms to form one mega event dubbed “Barcheinu Avinu,” or “Remembering Our Father.” The event, which could be the largest ever on Zoom in the world, featured Torah speakers and singers.