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Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a struggle faced by most people in the workforce. For Shluchim whose entire lives are dedicated to the Rebbe’s work, this challenge is all the more poignant.
Addressing this issue was the theme of a regional Mid-Atlantic Kinus held recently, titled “Finding Balance in the Life of Shlichus”. Close to 100 Shluchim from nearby states – Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington DC, Virginia and West Virginia – gathered at Chabad-Lubavitch of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for a day of learning and inspiration, with Shluchim and professionals sharing experienced insights into maintaining that healthy equilibrium.
“It was amazing to see so many Shluchim come out in the middle of the week in August,” said Rabbi Yudy Shemtov, Director at Chabad-Lubavitch of Bucks County. “People are eager to learn from their fellow Shluchim’s experiences, and really appreciate the opportunity to share ideas with other people in the field.”
The formal program included a presentation by Rabbi Reuven Boshnack, an experienced educator and trained psychologist, as well as a symposium moderated by three Shluchim. The Shluchim addressed different responsibilities that are inherent to their Shlichus work, and discussed effective ways to integrate their role as the Rebbe’s representatives across every area of their lives. Rabbis Aryeh Weinstein, Eitan Webb, and Yosef Chaim Sufrin spoke of a Shliach’s responsibilities to his community, his family and his personal well being – both spiritual and physical.
“Shlichus is not a 9-5 job,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch. “Being an ambassador of the Rebbe encompasses every aspect of a Shliach’s life; his community life, his family life, and his personal life”.
A highlight of the event was a special presentation made by Rabbi Moshe Gurary, Shliach to Toms River, New Jersey, on the history of the Rebbe’s 10 Mivtzoim and their significance in Shlichus work.
“Friendship Circle, CTeen, CYP, and other amazing programs are great tools for reaching the various demographics of our shlichus,” said Rabbi Gurary, “but we must remember that the core of our shlichus is the 10 Mivtzoim that the Rebbe spoke about. The programs we run should be focused toward helping us achieve the Rebbe’s 10 Mivtzoim.”
An inspirational banquet brought the day’s proceedings to a close, with various Shluchim and laypeople sharing thoughts and ideas. The highlight of the evening was a keynote address by Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad and Head Shliach to Pennsylvania. He noted that most of the Shluchim present were appointed by other Shluchim, and drew on the Talmudic concept of “A Shliach may appoint another Shliach” to define the role of a Shliach in his individual community. “If a Shliach is truly dedicated to his mission,” he said, “he will naturally create more Shluchim – more people who are dedicated to the Rebbe’s work”.
Rabbi Kotlarsky is responsible for coordinating regional Kinusim throughout the year as well as the yearly international Kinus – a position he was appointed to by the Rebbe. “These regional gatherings help foster a sense of family amongst Shluchim,” he said. “We all have the same objectives, and are all working for a shared mission”.
The Kinus was coordinated with the help of Rabbi Shraga Sherman, Shliach to Main Line, PA, Rabbi Mendel Mangel, Shliach to Cherry Hill, NJ, Rabbi Sholom Raichik, Shliach to Gaithersburg, MD and Rabbi Shneur Najar, and was hosted by Rabbi Yudy Shemtov, Shliach to Bucks County, PA.