Eighty Chabad emissaries from across the North-Eastern United States—from Portland, Maine to Providence, Rhode Island—convened in New Haven, Connecticut last Sunday for a two- day regional conference of Shluchim in the New York-New England region.
Though they had all met up in New York several months ago at the International Conference of Shluchim, this conference serves a different purpose, says Rabbi Shea Hecht, director of the New Haven Hebrew Day School—Chabad of Orange, and a coordinator of last week’s conference.
“When you bring together Shluchim who are working the same region, the issues addressed relate directly to each one’s individual work,” he says. And while the international conference offers inspiration and camaraderie on a global scale, a regional conference serves to pool the Shluchim’s resources toward very practical outcomes, he says. Resolutions of last week’s conference, for instance, included plans for upcoming Shabbat retreats that will bring together families from various communities..
“A regional conference provides the opportunity for discussion on a very personal level,” says Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, director of Chabad on Long Island and a participant at the New Haven conference. “It’s a time to talk about the personal issues that we face as emissaries and an excellent opportunity to coordinate projects locally and network between ourselves.”
Topics covered at the conference, held at the New Haven Hebrew Day School campus, included fundraising, inter-relationships between partner Shluchim, and personal and family issues faced by the Shluchim and their children in their unique roles as community leaders.
Regional conferences, established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe some 15 years ago, are held periodically in regions across the global Chabad-Lubavitch network, says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky vice-chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, sponsors of the conferences,
A similar conference for Shluchim in the Western United States, was hosted last week in S. Paul, by Rabbi and Mrs. Moshe and Mindy Feller of Chabad of Minnesota. Twenty Shluchim from 17 states, most with very small Jewish communities participated.
“At a conference of this size, every participant can share their experiences and relate directly to the experiences of their colleagues,” says Rabbi Feller. He says the conference is also an ideal opportunity for the local Chabad community to benefit from the visiting rabbis. S. Paul’s Chabad community, some 40 families in all, had the unique opportunity to learn from the Shluchim attending the conference, who addressed them and shared their experiences over the weekend, he says.
“A conference like this combines the energies of Chabad shluchim working alongside each other into a potent force,” says Mrs. Mindy Feller. “Pooling our resources offers a sure route to greater successes in our respective undertakings.”
Additional regional conferences are scheduled for the Mid-West region at the end of the month; South Eastern region in July, and the Mid-Atlantic region in August.