Over the course of the past several years people would often ask me “how is 11213 going?” and I would reply jokingly “you mean the neighborhood or website?” Well funny enough the two have coincided in an interesting sort of way.
You see, several weeks ago, I was appointed by Lubavitch Youth Organization (established in 1955) to welcome visitors from across the globe to Crown Heights (11213) and show them around this modern day shtetl.
Over the past several months I have been offering Chassidic walking tours to Jews and non-Jews alike. The scribe, the matzah bakery, 770, WLCC, The Rebbe’s Room, the silversmith, Raskin’s fish, Primo Hats, the mikvah, the Lubavitch Library, a real life Chassidic home (701 Montgomery St.), Kosher Supermarket, Gombos Bakery, have all been on the itinerary depending on the group.
The groups are fascinated by the care and devotion we have to this way of life. It allows me to share with them the unique perspective I have gained over the last several years since creating 11213.org. Whether we are in the matzah bakery or at the scribe I emphasize to them that what you are witnessing is how seriously we are taking G-d’s needs and trying to get the details just right, the way he likes them. They are blown away at the intricacy of the laws and how devoted the Chasidim of Crown Heights are to actually serving G-d.
But wait, get this. The best part is that most of the groups I have led met with Rabbi Manis Friedman before they hit the streets. For half hour to 45 minutes they get an orientation of Chassidic Philosophy as well as the opportunity to ask any hard hitting questions. Unfortunately, at this point this meeting with the Rabbi is not always guaranteed.
Personally, I did not grow up in Crown Heights but have lived here for the better part of my adult life. Quite frankly I can say there is no place like it in the world. The Rebbe’s Schuna (neighborhood) is alive and well and the people living here are truly great representatives.
We named this project JewishBrooklyn.nyc because in the near future we hope to expand our tours to Borough Park, Williamsburg and beyond (but more on that later). And as you can see in the logo we have continued the 11213.org theme to continue to share the perspective with the world.