Fresh off the inspiration of the International Kinus Hashluchim, Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois hosted a gala Rosh Chodesh Kislev Farbrengen.
The event was a combination of somber and simcha, as the yahrtzeit of the Mumbai Kedoshim was simultaneously observed.
Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz, Head Shliach of the state of Illinois, welcomed the overflowing assemblage of men, women and children sharing some of the flavor of the Kinus.
A stirring video in tribute to the Holztbergs and the others who were killed in the Mumbai massacre was displayed on a twenty foot screen in the Bnei Reuven Shul.
Rabbi Baruch Hertz, Rav of the shul and the Anash community, addressed the crowd with a call of action one year post Mumbai.
Visibly moved, the crowd made its way to the Hindin Hall for the annual seudah catered by R’ Avraham Schlessinger.
Rabbi Shimon Freundlich, Shliach to Bejing, China, was the evening’s guest speaker. Combining humor, warmth, Chassidishe stories and personal anecdotes from his childhood and from his shlichus, Freundlich mesmerized the crowd for more than an hour.
Freundlich spoke of his personal involvement with Rabbi Gabi Holtzberg and how amazed he was by Gaby’s devotion.
After bentching, the tables were pushed together, the mashke was set on the table with appropriate farbaysen and the Farbrengen began in earnest. Rabbi Freundlich continued for hours with stories, nigunim and tales that made the Far East seem closer than ever.
Many thanks to Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz for coordinating this wonderful event and to Bnei Ruven for hosting.