By COLlive reporter
From a single house to a household name, Lubavitch UK has grown over the past 6 decades to a network of 115 Shluchim who span the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
This week 92 of those Shluchim gathered for the annual Chabad Lubavitch UK Kinus Hashluchim that was held in the magnificent setting of Bosworth Hall Hotel (part of the Britannia Group) in the picturesque village of Market Bosworth, Leicestershire.
The Kinus was greatly enhanced by the presence of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch who had flown in specifically for the conference. Many Shluchim took advantage of his presence to seek advice about various facets of their work.
Professional presenters at the conference included Rabbi Howard Hirsch, Subject Leader for Jewish Education at JFS who ran a series of workshops for Mechanchim; and Malcolm Nathan who led a workshop on financial planning. Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE presented the Chabad Lubavitch UK Anti-Abuse Policy which has been rolled out to all Chabad Houses and Mosdos in the UK. Other workshops included sessions on working with young singles and helping mekurovim to find shidduchim.
Making the most of the historic setting of the conference, Rabbi Mendy Korer led a group of shluchim on a bike tour of the area.
The Kinus is the first to take place since the passing of the Head Shliach to the UK, Rabbi Nachman Sudak OBM, a few weeks ago.
Spread across two days, the first evening featured the gala dinner where the MC, Rabbi Yitzchok Sufrin, kept the evening flowing with his inimitable sense of humor. The guest speaker Rabbi Kotlarsky spoke about the importance that the Rebbe attached to regional Kinusim and how after each one he would be asked what practical resolutions had been made.
He stressed the importance of building on the solid foundations laid by Rabbi Nachman Sudak during his decades of dedicated leadership to expand the work of Lubavitch in the UK to an even greater audience.
Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, CEO of Lubavitch UK was the next speaker, he spoke about the personal challenges he faced following the sudden passing of his father who spread Jewish awareness and spearheaded Chabad growth in Britain since 1959.
Rabbi Bentzi said he took his inspiration from the words of the Rebbe to a tragedy in Israel that “Behemshech habinyan tenuchomu” (– through the continuation of building you will be comforted.) He asked all the Shluchim to work with him in building on the unprecedented success of the past few years, continuing to expand the activities of Lubavitch UK.
Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson of Chabad of Belgravia delivered an inspiring keynote address, the dinner was interspersed with cantorial renditions by Rabbi Naphtoli Tiefenbrun.
Following the dinner the Shluchim sat down for a vibrant and uplifting Farbrengen that saw many Shluchim singing, dancing and talking until well into the early hours of the morning.
It was particularly inspiring to see a large group of chassidim, some of whom had only finished farbrenging a couple of hours earlier, sitting down for a shiur chassidus given by Rabbi Yoinasson Golomb before Shachris. Rabbi Leivi Sudak made a siyum on the mishnayos learned by Shluchim in memory of his father.
The Shluchim returned home reinvigorated and ready to redouble their work in their respective areas of Shlichus.
Rabbi Yehuda Pink, Chair of the Conference Committee thanked his colleagues on the organizing committee for dedicating an enormous amount of time and energy to ensure that the Conference would be a success.
Noting that this was the biggest Kinus Hashluchim ever in the UK, he said that the feedback has been extremely positive and underlined the importance of the conference as a platform for learning and growth.
“Every year the conference grows in participants, in the atmosphere and the quality of the program,” said Rabbi Bentzi Sudak. “A huge credit to the Kinus Vaad under the able leadership of Rabbi Yehuda Pink, who addressed every detail. The highlight of the kinus is the strong sense of achdus and the new faces who join the family of UK Shluchim with each passing year.”