Photos: Shimi Kutner
With Chabad on Campus’s international Kinus taking place just days before the 25th anniversary of Gimmel Tammuz, and cognizant of the heightened threat to houses of worship, the main areas of focus this year were Chasidus and Hiskashrus along with safety and security.
Almost 400 Shluchim and Shluchos – and more than 500 of their children – from ten countries across the world, gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut for four days of seminars, workshops, shiurim, farbrengens and networking opportunities that both informed and inspired.
Each day’s program opened with an hour exclusively dedicated to learning, with a choice of shiurim and chavrusah study. At this year’s Kinus, a special emphasis was placed on having the majority of the central sessions “crowd-sourced”, including many facilitated group discussions that allowed for maximum input and engagement from all participants. Classes and farbrengens were led by renowned mashpiim and rabbonim including Rabbis Moshe Kotlarsky, Moshe Kesselman, Mendel Rubin, Shais Taub, Yisroel Deren, and Eli Silberstein, as well as Rebbetzins Bassie Garelik and Vivi Deren.
Avi Weinstein, COO of Chabad on Campus International, explained that with the recent attack at Chabad of Poway still fresh, a significant portion of the program was dedicated to the safety and security of Chabad on Campus centers. Professionals provided intensive active-shooter training, along with Stop the Bleed training and CPR certification. In addition, Chabad on Campus International’s security consultant met one-on-one with Shluchim to review their security protocols.
Besides the separate Shluchim and Shluchos programs, with sessions dedicated to the many challenges and opportunities faced on Shlichus, the Kinus provided fun for the whole family. Childcare was available for young children and an inspiring Tzeirei Hashluchim program for older children included trips and farbrengens along with a special program for children with special needs. Designated activities and discussions for teenage girls, including one with Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, rounded out the many different tracks.
For the first time, 13 campus Shluchim from Israel joined the Kinus and attended specially arranged sessions. The participation of the Israeli group was facilitated by Rabbis Moshe Shilat and Nosson Rodin.
“The Kinus represents the excellence the campus Shluchim and Shluchos and their families bring to their mission,” said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International. “They are on university campuses throughout the year, giving it their all to reach one more student and encourage a commitment to Jewish identity. The Kinus is an opportunity for us to help recharge their batteries and share new ideas for how to magnify their Shlichus yet further.”