Conference organizers at Lubavitch Headquarters are expecting a record-breaking 3000 participants at this year’s International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchim. That’s a marked increase from last year’s conference which topped off at around 2300, a result, says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, “of the fact that so many young Lubavitch couples have joined ranks with the Shluchim since last year.”
The five-day conference begins November 24. It’s the one chance a year that Shluchim get to unwind and regenerate among fellow travelers in their life-long calling known as Shlichus. On this annual return to the hearth and home of Lubavitch, the Shluchim are treated to a content-rich program of workshops, seminars and presentations covering a wide variety of topics related to their work.
This year the sessions are being offered in numerous languages, including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, and Russian, accommodating growing numbers of Shluchim for whom these are respectively, their first languages, an interesting development in the Chabad Shluchim demographics: where Shluchim once came mostly from U.S., Israel, England and a smattering of other countries, the new generation of Shluchim are often the products of the work of Chabad in 70 countries worldwide, making it a international phenomenon from the top down.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the conference and of the Lubavitch educational and social services divisions says, “The Shluchim at this conference clearly comprise the most representative body of world Jewry as it exists today. It is unique in that here you will find the broadest representation of the international Jewish community.”
A Junior Shluchim division runs a parallel “conference” for the children of Shluchim—who are typically groomed for Shlichus from their earliest childhood days. More than 350 children under the age of bar mitzvah, travel to New York with their fathers, and then join an exciting program designed specifically to meet their interests over the duration of the conference.
About 400 friends and supporters of Chabad are expected to attend a concurrent lay-leadership program, followed by the gala banquet dinner at the Hilton Hotel in NYC which is being set up for just about 3,000 guests. Professor Alan Dershowitz will be the lay leader guest speaker. Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar will deliver the keynote address.
A parallel women’s conference for Chabad Shluchos is scheduled for February.