Kinus Warmth in Cold New York

Despite stormy weather and numerous delayed or canceled flights, the opening session of the 23rd International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos took place Thursday night in the main ballroom of Oholei Torah in Crown Heights.

Chairing the evening, Mrs. Chaya Goldberg of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, spoke about her and her husband’s ambitions in their recent shlichus placement in far-off Mexico.

“Playa Del Carmen may be a very small city physically, but we have plans to make it a big city spiritually.”

Goldberg also gave insight into how they were planning on executing this. “It is the small acts of goodness and kindness that the Rebbe demanded of us that helps us and those around us grow in all areas of life.”

As any new shlucha will tell you, there are some testing moments when the best approach is turning them into humor. “It is difficult in the beginning when only one or two women come to your class, so I decided to take away the chairs to make it look like there was standing room only.”

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Chairman of the Kinus and Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, addressed the theme of how to meet the goals that the Rebbe placed before us. Primarily, how the Rebbe obligated each and every one of us to hasten the coming of Moshiach.

“It is our job to expand in all that we are doing to bring this about. This applies even now, by increasing in our energy and chayus for those shluchos that could not be here tonight”, he said, referencing the hundreds of shluchos still stranded by the massive snowstorm that blanketed New York overnight.

Rabbi Kotlarsky then officially opened the Kinus, a tradition based on the instructions of Rabbi Mordechai Hodakov OB”M, before tying in Moshiach’s arrival with the impeding snowstorm.

“How quickly the Aneinei Shmaya pulls up to the terminal depends on our actions. When they do, one thing is for certain: those clouds will not be affected by snow storms.”

The main address of the evening was then given by Mrs. Hinda Gerlitzky from Tel Aviv, Eretz Yisroel. Speaking about the special relationship the Rebbeim have with the shluchim to Eretz Yisroel, Gerlitzky related a personal letter that the Rebbe Raya”tz wrote to Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka about how even when a person is far-away he is always connected to his home.

“When we’re involved in our holy shlichus, we need our family. Just like the High Priest on Yom Kippur couldn’t do his work if he was not married, so it is with us”, she said. “Family gives the main hatzlacha in our shlichus.”

The annual shluchos raffle was then drawn with prizes such as an iPad, digital camera, Mink diamond watch and cash. The raffle was arranged by Haddasah Geisinsky and Leah Shemtov.

The shluchos then watched a video of the Rebbe speaking about the greatness of the Rebbetzin, and Mrs. Sternberg shared her personal encounters with the Rebbetzin. The stories highlighted the love, care and concern of the Rebbetzin, in whose honor the shluchos come together every year.

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