Chabad hosts 38th annual conference in New York

Though the pandemic has presented unique challenges to Jewish communities around the world, Chabad noted that it has had many successes in expanding outreach and opportunities for diaspora Jews.

Chabad emissaries (shluchim) attending their annual international conference at Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters in Brooklyn in November 2019. (photo credit: MENDEL GROSSBAUM/CHABAD.ORG)
Chabad emissaries (shluchim) attending their annual international conference at Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters in Brooklyn in November 2019.
(photo credit: MENDEL GROSSBAUM/CHABAD.ORG)

Chabad is hosting its 38th annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries in the Brooklyn, New York, area. The event is open for both in-person and virtual attendance from 28-31 October.

The event normally includes a mass group photo of thousands of Chabad emissaries from across the globe, but the Jewish outreach organization noted that it will not be included this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, attendants will go to Queens to visit the burial site of former Chabad leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, widely known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Though the pandemic has presented unique challenges to Jewish communities around the world, Chabad noted that it has had many successes in expanding outreach and opportunities for Diaspora Jews to connect with the roots of their faith.

The organization raised over $100 million USD in the last 19 months to open new centers and renovate existing ones. Chabad said that even as fewer in-person activities were being held, many emissaries continued construction plans.

Rabbi Shmully Levitin, co-director of Chabad Young Professionals of Hoboken and Jersey City, and his wife, Esta, last year purchased a property where they could host Chabad programs. They had previously used their home in New Jersey to hold such events, but they recently realized there was a need for a dedicated space.

"We kept hearing from our community that it was Jewish life and connection that kept them going throughout the pandemic," they said, according to Chabad.

Chabad emissaries in the Far East distributing Passover packages of matzah and wine (credit: CHABAD)Chabad emissaries in the Far East distributing Passover packages of matzah and wine (credit: CHABAD)

While the number of synagogues has decreased in the past 20 years, there are now more than three times as many Chabad synagogues than there were in 2001, according to a study by Joel Kotkin and Edward Heyman.

"When Covid started, you already had a trajectory, which to a certain extent, carried Chabad forward and exacerbated the declines that the other movements were experiencing," Heyman said.