More than 170 Chabad rabbis and emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, gathered in Long Beach, California over the last two days for the annual West Coast Chabad Lubavitch Convention of Shluchim. The convention provided a forum for speakers and workshops, as well as a platform to launch initiatives to help Chabad representatives serve their communities.
The convention’s central initiative was the official announcement of Camp Gan Israel Running Springs, a new Jewish overnight camp located n Chabad’s Kiryas Schneerson mountaintop campus. Set on 70 acres inside the spectacular S. Bernardino National Forest, the state-of-the-art camp will open this summer, with separate sessions for boys and girls. CGI Running Springs will focus on children who may not have had prior access to a Jewish education, and will also welcome those already attending Chabad Hebrew schools and programs.
Another initiative was the introduction of “The Rebbe’s Gelt,” a program designed to help Chabad emissaries meet their personal financial needs while they tend to the needs of others. Funded by West Coast Chabad Lubavitch as well as voluntary contributions from Chabad representatives, this new program will provide grants and loans to those rabbis who need short-term financial aid.
Chabad also announced its plan to organize the first annual Woman’s Convention of Shluchos on the West Coast. Soon, the women who play such a vital role in Chabad’s community efforts on the West Coast will enjoy their own convention where they can share ideas, hear motivational peakers, and attend workshops. The event is tentatively scheduled for early May.
Another program, which was unveiled during a workshop on marketing Chabad’s mission, is the establishment of a communication and outreach department that will help local representatives effectively present their activities to the public and reach a broader audience.
West Coast Chabad Lubavitch Convention of Shluchim was held on January 15 and 16 at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel and the Hebrew Academy in Huntington Beach. The highlight of the event was a gala dinner featuring several prominent speakers, including Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Director of West Coast Chabad Lubavitch; Rabbi Cunin addressed the group shortly after his return from Chabad’s Bolshoya Bronnaya headquarters and synagogue in Moscow, site of a recent anti-Semitic attack. Syndicated radio commentator and Chabad Telethon host Dennis Prager also spoke to the crowd, as did noted speaker and author, Rabbi Yossi Jacobson.