May 19, 2024
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Shluchim From Near and Far Gather at Chabad-Lubavitch Annual Kinus

This year’s gala banquet, held at the Pier 8 warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, concluded the four-day annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchim), and attracted over 5,600 rabbis and guests as well as millions worldwide who joined by webcast.

Rabbis hailing from 90 countries and their guests applauded the news of the establishment of a Chabad center in South Dakota, and its significance—that all 50 states will now have a Chabad presence.

The keynote address was given by Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who gave a rousing talk, emphasizing his longtime ties to Chabad and his appreciation for their mission.

“I always felt that you could light all of Brooklyn… and maybe even New York City, with the electric energy generated each year here,” he said, in what he noted was going to be a “politics-free” talk. “It’s not impossible, because Chabad has been lighting the world for many years.”

He continued, “The Rebbe is not only the most influential Jewish leader of the 20th century but also in the 21st century.”

Focusing on the positive, proactive growth that is the hallmark of Chabad-Lubavitch, uniting Jewry everywhere around the globe, Hoenlein delighted the audience when he quipped: “I am convinced that in Chabad schools they only teach addition and multiplication—not division and subtraction.”

Rabbi Mendel Solomon, of the Chabad at Short Hills, New Jersey, shared some of his impressions with The Jewish Link. “It was an exhilarating convention with the prime purpose of helping us recharge our physical, emotional and spiritual batteries. The camaraderie with colleagues, sharing our successes and struggles, gives us chizuk to power on for the next year. The convention culminated in the banquet, which is the highlight of the event.”

Solomon continued, “In 1993, the Rebbe gave me his blessing to go on shlichut. I am in awe of all of my colleagues and their families who are situated for life in some of the most remote areas of the world, with little to no kosher food, Jewish life or education. At the end of the convention, I drive back to my home. Some of my colleagues take a much longer trek back to their reality.”

Rabbi Lev Cotlar, of the Chabad Center of Raleigh, N.C., spent the kinus honing skills and recharging his spiritual batteries. His wife, Dassy, is home with their three children—ages 2, 4, and 6—while he stocks up on tips to bring home to their community, which includes visits to Jewish inmates at a federal prison. He said the gathering fills him with awe: “No one could have imagined the scope of where shluchim are and how it has impacted the world.”

That impact is not just felt in the United States, even though that was a focus of this year’s banquet. Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, and director of the kinus also noted the presence of Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Dani Dayan, the Israeli consul general of New York, wishing the Israeli people safety and security.

As Kotlarsky summed up, “They go out in the world for one reason—to fulfill the mission that the Rebbe entrusted us with, to make this world a world of goodness and kindness. To better this world, to bring Torah and mitzvot to each and every Jew.”

By Karen Schwartz and Carin M. Smilk/Chabad.org and JLNJ Staff

 

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