If you look out your window today and see a fleet of converted motor homes with photos of Hasidic-looking folk, don't be alarmed: it's just the annual Mitzvah Tanks parade, a yearly reminder pre-Passover to be a good boy/girl. This is because we haven't called our moms recently, right? But jeez, don't they know we're drowning in digital communication!
The Mitzvah Tank parade honors the the birthday of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Tanks are mobile "education and outreach center" that can also act as a mini-synagogue. You could view this like the Orthodox jewish equivalent of the NPR pledge drives, or you could view them as the chance to learn a bit more about a religion you maybe don't know so much about. Oh, and a chance for free Matzah!
According to a press release, "The Tanks will be equipped with Passover needs for the upcoming holiday, including hand-baked Shmura Matzah. People will have the opportunity to don the Tefilin and pray, receive Sabbat candles and inspirational literature for Jews and non-Jews."
The parade starts from Lubavitch World headquarters in Crown Heights, crosses the Manhattan Bridge and rides north on 6th Avenue until 59th Street. The parade continues south on 5th Avenue until 23rd Street. Hopefully none of the vehicles will break down.