Word about the groundbreaking got out without advertising, and hundreds of Lubavitchers from all over the country attended the event. In the video, you can see R’ Zushe giving out mashke to the participants, which he had gotten from the Rebbe for the groundbreaking.
Rabbis and elder chassidim sat on the dais. The rav of Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi and Rabbi David Chanzin a’h as well as the elderly Chassid, Rabbi Alter Hilowitz a’h, spoke movingly about the privilege of building something especially for the Rebbe.
Immediately following the ceremony, after midnight, R’ Zushe got a phone call from Rabbi Groner who told him that the Rebbe wanted to know who were the distinguished personalities at the event, and whether pictures were taken. R’ Zushe responded that he would prepare a list and send it in the next morning. Rabbi Groner demanded an immediate answer since the Rebbe was listening in to the conversation.
R’ Zushe quickly began enumerating the names of the participants. When he mentioned R’ Alter Hilowitz, Rabbi Groner stopped him and said that the Rebbe was very pleased that he was at the ceremony; that was enough…
The presence of R’ Alter Hilowitz at the groundbreaking ceremony gave the Rebbe great pleasure. From the beginning of R’ Alter’s speech, you can understand why the Rebbe so enjoyed his being present;
” It is a great privilege for me to be personally present at this groundbreaking ceremony for the Rebbe’s personal homestead, may he live long days and good years.”
R’ Alter went on to say that he had seen the lands belonging to the earlier Rebbeim and expressed his happiness upon seeing that the Rebbe was getting his own portion in Eretz Yisrael.