Brooklyn, NY - Chabad Kinus Hashluchim Underway In Crown Heights
Brooklyn, NY - Over 5,000 shluchim from around the world have gathered in Crown Heights for the annual Kinus Hashluchim, which began this past Wednesday night and will conclude with a gala banquet on Sunday evening.
The yearly gathering was designed as an opportunity for shluchim, who often live in remote areas, an opportunity to connect with like minded individuals and enjoy camaraderie, inspiration and an opportunity to discuss the experiences and challenges that they face in their day to day lives.
The annual kinus has evolved since its humble beginnings in 1984 and today the event boasts a full roster of over 80 sessions designed to offer contemporary solutions to issues such as fundraising, outreach and educational issues. A parallel children’s conference gives junior shluchim the ability to interact with their peers and allows students who are enrolled in Chabad’s online school a chance to meet their classmates face to face. A separate kinus for women is held each year during the winter months.
Event organizers, headed by chairman Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, have been preparing for months for the kinus, which includes shluchim from 86 different countries including Jamaica, Congo, Thailand, Nigeria and Australia. Over the last few weeks, meetings have been held with the NYPD to coordinate logistics and security for the kinus and a production team has been hard at work transforming the Bedford-Union Armory into a combination conference center and banquet hall to accommodate kinus participants.
This year, which follows a shemita year, is a Hakhel year and while the mitzvah of Hakhel does not apply in our time, the Lubavitcher Rebbe reinstituted the custom of gathering men, women and children to promote unity, Torah study and greater mitzvah observance, adding an extra level of energy to this year’s kinus. Organizers hope to encourage shluchim to create Hakhel gatherings of their own in their own communities in honor as a way of creating greater awareness and observance of yiddishkeit.
The conference kicked off on Wednesday with registration at the Jewish Children’s Museum on Eastern Parkway, with dinner at Yeshiva Oholei Torah and yesterday’s events included a full day of sessions, individual workshops and meals. Today’s schedule also includes a visit to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens and organizers are expecting a Shabbos filled with festivities and farbrengens, followed by a gala melava malka on Motzei Shabbos. Participants will gather early Sunday morning in front of Lubavtich World Headquarters in full Chasidic levush for a massive group photo described by event organizers as “kind of a Where’s Waldo of rabbis.”
The kinus will culminate on Sunday evening with a full scale banquet at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, which will include Tehillim led by Moshe Holtzberg, the 9 year old survivor of the deadly Mumbai massacre, a keynote address by Rabbi Shlomie Chein, director of Chabad at the University of California Santa Cruz and an international roll call of shluchim followed by music and dancing.
Shluchim from around the world are reveling in the five day event, an opportunity to gather strength and inspiration for the coming year.
“The kinus is an opportunity to connect with other shluchim from around the world and gain chizuk and inspiration,” Rabbi Chaim Lipskier of Chabad at the University of Central Florida told VIN News. “This year’s conference is especially significant, as it is the year of Hakhel, a time to promote achdus and limud hatorah. Being here, together with so many chaverim is something very special. I’m taking it all in.”
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