In New York for the 2018 International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries. (photo from Lubavitch BC)
Last month, nine shluchos (female emissaries) of Chabad-Lubavitch in British Columbia – Henia Wineberg, Rivki Yeshayahu, Chanie Kaplan, Shainy Wineberg, Fraidy Hecht, Chanie Baitelman, Blumie Shemtov, Chaya Rosenfeld and Malky Bitton – joined more than 3,000 women leaders from all 50 U.S. states and 100 countries at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos) in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The annual event is aimed at reviving Jewish awareness and practice around the world. At this year’s gathering, thousands of women – hailing from as far away as Laos and Angola, Ghana and Uzbekistan – came together for five days of brainstorming about the future of world Jewry and their roles as representatives of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
The leaders, who embrace multiple roles and responsibilities, explored numerous issues and learned from professionals and colleagues with years of experience. The topics covered ran the gamut: understanding troubled relationships; adult education and inclusion; responding to tragedy; fundraising; the opioid epidemic; and mental health. There was also a conference within the conference for Hebrew school and preschool directors, as well as one for those who serve students on college campuses. The meeting included a parallel track for lay leaders.
“The Kinus is my yearly dose of inspiration,” said one of the shluchos. “It gives me strength and motivation for the whole year, to continue bringing light to everyone around me.”
Additional highlights of the five-day conference were a visit to the gravesite of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, in the New York City borough of Queens; the “class picture,” where they posed for a group photo; as well as the gala banquet, where they were joined by admirers, supporters and influential women leaders for a sit-down dinner.
The conference is a tribute to the legacy of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, the esteemed wife of the Rebbe, and is timed to the anniversary of her passing. Rebbetzin Schneerson’s deep care for and insight into their work remains a source of inspiration to the Chabad women emissaries.
The conference also serves another vital purpose: it represents an opportunity to connect with colleagues and recharge their personal energy. This gives the participants, especially those going back to isolated outposts, an exhilarating send-off, coupled with the sense that they are not alone.