When Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, director of Chabad activities in the state of California, opened the senate session Monday morning (March 14), he told the senators that 40 years ago, as a newly appointed Chabad representative to California, he met with a young Governor Ronald Reagan. After hearing about the task that Rabbi Cunin had been charged with by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Reagan asked him, “Young man, do you think you will be successful?”
Now, retelling this story to the senate forty years later, Cunin directed the senators’ attention to the balcony in the capitol building where 150 Chabad-Lubavitch representatives were observing the senate opening. “This is what we have accomplished in the last four decades,” said Rabbi Cunin.
It was the annual conference of Chabad-Lubavitch West Coast Shluchim. Representing 150 Chabad Houses state wide, serving 117 cities the length of California, the Shluchim worked together over two days, to set new goals and advance the work of Chabad in California.
“It was an incredibly inspiring and energizing two days,” said Rabbi Yossi Baitelman, Chabad representative to Studio City. “The conference was outstandingly successful in terms of the content, the spirit of camaraderie, and the resolutions.” Following the senate session, each Chabad representative met with his local government representative.
“Overall, this was an excellent opportunity for all of us to work together to enhance our work in educational, social and humanitarian areas,” said Baitelman.
Lubavitch.com caught up with Rabbi Cunin at the Sacramento airport. In the course of conversation, Cunin spotted actor Edward “Eddie” Olmos (Stand and Deliver) in the terminal. In a moment, Olmos had the senior Chabad representative wrapped in a bear hug. A supercharged Cunin still high from the success of this conference pointed to the Shluchim waiting to board. “Check it out Eddie—these are all our guys!”
Olmos, no less enthusiastic, told Lubavitch.com “Chabad is the greatest thing we have going in California. I love working with them,” he said, referring to the famous L’Chaim, the annual Chabad Telethon fundraiser. “You have no idea how many people this organization has helped over the years,” Olmos told this reporter.
Rabbi Cunin was proud, he said, of the spirit of unity and the resolve of Shluchim to continue building, “more shuls, more Jewish schools, more programs and services . . .”
While there are very few remaining cities in California with no full time Chabad representative yet, Cunin says that “the waiting list of young Shluchim to fill these few places is very long.”