There’s nothing like Shabbos at an Agudas Yisroel national convention. As the sun sets, the unmistakable aura of the day descends. Spirited discussions and lively sessions that fill the conference rooms on Friday morning are replaced by the sounds of davening, as mispallelim stream into the large hall that serves as the convention shul. The aron, bimah, and dais have somehow appeared along with hundreds of chairs neatly arranged.
Guests in their Shabbos clothes walk the halls of the convention, alongside gedolim and talmidei chachamim. An inspiring and unforgettable experience is about to begin.
This year, that scene will play itself out at the Hilton East Brunswick in New Jersey. Participants from around the world are expected to converge on the hotel for the upcoming gathering—the organization’s 90th—which will take place Thursday through Sunday, parashas Vayechi, December 27–29.
During Kabbolas Shabbos, convention guests will hear a derashah from Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva Torah Vodaath. The women will enjoy a shiur by Rabbi Dovid Ozeiry, mara d’asra of the Yad Yosef Torah Center and director of Yeshiva Ateret Torah.
After seudas Shabbos the guests will return to the hall for a highly anticipated session on the topic “Embracing Emunah in a Madhouse of Kefirah.” The speakers will include Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva Gedolah of Philadelphia; Rabbi Pinchas Jung, menahel ruchani, Bais Rochel (Monsey), and senior lecturer, Ani Maamin Foundation; and Rabbi Y.Y. Rubenstein, education director, Ohr Naava and senior lecturer, Gateways.
The session will be followed by a special “Shevas Achim Tish”—a highlight of any Agudah convention—which will feature Dayan Aron Dovid Dunner, Hisachdus Hakehillos (London); Rabbi Doniel Alter, rosh kollel, Kollel Ari Shebi’chabura (Yerushalayim); and Rabbi Uren Reich, rosh hayeshiva, Woodlake Village. At a concurrent session, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, author of the Maggid series, will offer inspiring words, worthy thoughts, and, as always, fascinating stories.
On Shabbos morning before Mussaf, Rabbi Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel (Yerushalayim), will deliver a Shabbos derashah. On Shabbos afternoon, Rabbi Chaim Yehuda Pollack, rav of Igud Avreichim of Staten Island, will deliver a shiur before Minchah.
There will be three separate shalosh seudos offerings following Minchah. A Yiddish session will feature addresses by Rabbi Yosef Frankel, Vyelopoler Rebbe; and Rabbi Dovid Schustel, rosh hayeshiva Bais Medrash Govoha. An English session will include addresses by Rabbi Moshe Brown, rav, Agudath Israel of West Lawrence; Rabbi Yehoshua Eichenstein, rosh hayeshiva, Yad Aaron (Israel); and Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rav, Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin.
The women will be treated to a special guest speaker who is traveling to the convention from Israel, the highly popular Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, who has inspired women from around the world with her heartfelt words.