More than 5,000 Chabad emissaries convene in Crown Heights for night of dancing

30th annual International Conference of Chabad Rabbis culminates Sunday with largest gathering of hassidic movement’s emissaries in history.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
November 5, 2013 03:52
2 minute read.
30th annual International Conference of Chabad Rabbis.

Chabad Rabbis conference, dancing rabbis 370. (photo credit: Maya Shwayder)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

NEW YORK – Ever been in a room filled with 5,200 dancing rabbis? No, that’s not the beginning of a joke. That was the finale of the 30th annual International Conference of Chabad Rabbis on Sunday night, and the largest gathering of the hassidic movement’s emissaries in history.

Joe Lieberman, the former US senator from Connecticut, gave the first keynote address at the dinner, revealing his deep Chabad roots, respect for the teachings of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and marvel at the size to which Chabad had grown.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“I used to say Chabad was sending out more shluchim [“emissaries”] than McDonald’s was opening up hamburger places,” he joked. “It’s way beyond that now.”

He recounted several stories from his time as senator, when no matter where he traveled in the world – even as far as Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he once had to make an emergency stop – there was always a local Chabad House that knew how to find him, provide him with a kosher meal and fulfill any spiritual needs.

Lieberman also addressed the most prevalent concern of the evening: the seeming decline of Judaism on the world stage and the role of Chabad rabbis in counteracting this.

“The recent Pew study showed a remarkable decline of non-Orthodox Jews,” he said.

“But I’m optimistic enough to know that the Jewish people are an eternal people. We’re going to exist forever. The question is which of us will choose to be part of that continuity. And you shluchim have chosen to do exactly that.



“Tonight, I can say, the rebbe’s shluchim of the world united for a cause, and this momentum will be eternal,” Lieberman said, referencing Karl Marx. Lieberman went on to praise the intellectual energy and teachings of Schneerson, and talked about how his blessing “carried me through 24 years [in the Senate].”

Dov Greenberg, Chabad rabbi at Stanford University, gave the other keynote address. He based his speech on the story of a shepherd in the Song of Songs, and came to the conclusion that “we can’t write off a [non-observant] Jew,” Greenberg said. “We just have to reach into their hearts. A large part of the future of our people rests on the shoulders of the shepherds who are here tonight. We have to be the shepherds of Israel.”

Chilean businessman and philanthropist Leonardo Farkas Klein, a major supporter of Chabad in Chile and Miami, was also in attendance.

The conference, held in a converted warehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, involved two kitchens churning out more than 5,000 meals, hundreds of drapes from the walls and ceilings to disguise the concrete, over 100 programmable lights hung from the ceiling, 30 largescreen projector screens, 60 loudspeakers, and over 600 tables with over 5,000 identical place settings. The evening ended with the annual roll call, welcoming the rabbis who had come from as far away as Thailand and New Zealand to attend the six-day conference.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF