The annual Western USA Regional Shluchim Kinus took place on Shabbos Mevorchim Sivan, Parshas Bechukosai, on the stunning seven-acre campus of Chabad of Arkansas.
Over 30 Shluchim convened from the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
They were hosted by local shluchim Rabbis Pinchus and Estie Ciment, Benzion and Rochie Pape, Mendel and Sarah Mochkin, Yosef and Mushka Kramer, and Mendel and Dobi Greisman.
Arkansas may have no kosher bakery, butcher, or pizza shop, but with a seemingly endless array of gourmet dishes that local shluchos Mrs. Ciment, Pape, Mochkin, Kramer, and Greisman prepared, it was hardly missed.
Chabad has been in Arkansas for nearly 25 years. Today it hosts a state-of-the-art preschool, elementary school, gorgeous men’s, women’s, and keilim mikvaos, minyanim, events, programs, and classes. Just last year Chabad of Arkansas launched a Mechina class for fellow children of Shluchim in small cities as a preparatory step for life in Yeshiva.
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and chairman of the Kinus Hashluchim, set the tone for Shabbos with various personal directives he received from the Rebbe on a wide range of topics, including some specific ones regarding regional Kinusim. Rabbi Kotlarsky passionately implored the shluchim to maintain their connection to one another throughout the year.
Throughout Shabbos, local baal habatim presented Divrei Torah, Chassidus gleanings on the parshah, or personal stories of the local shluchim and their life transforming work. Dr. Elisha Lieber, neurologist at UAMS Little Rock, shared that when he first encountered opposition to Chabad, he overcame it through realizing the reality of shluchim: “people who put their own life on the line for you,” he said, “cannot be anything but genuine.”
Rabbi Sholom Ber Levitin, head shliach to the Pacific Northwest, and Rabbi Zalman Leib Markowitz, well-known educator, consultant and mentor, shared positive inspiration and direction to the shluchim as well.
As the clock ticked into a long summer Shabbos afternoon, the shluchim gathered together for a warm, heartfelt farbrengen. They shared inspiring stories and heartfelt brochos in all areas of life, health, chinuch, shidduchim and parnassa.
The Motzei Shabbos Melaveh Malkah was dedicated in memory of Rabbi Binyomin Klein ע”ה, whose first yartzeit will be on 18 Sivan. Rabbi Klein is the father of Rebbetzin Estie Ciment, Shlucha to Arkansas. Rabbi Mendel Feller chaired the evening and related how Rabbi Klein’s renowned wit, humor, and, most importantly, genuine care and interest he took in people’s lives, no matter young or old, single or married, impacted him in his personal life.
Rabbi Levi Klein, Head Shliach to Tennessee and Rabbi Binyamin Klein’s son, shared a powerful story that transpired between his father and the Rebbe.
On Chof-Beis Shvat 5748 his father was in the hospital recovering from a procedure when he heard of the Rebbetzin’s histalkus. As soon as he heard, he immediately left the hospital and went directly to the Rebbe’s house on President Street. Suddenly he was told that the Rebbe wanted to see him. Rabbi Klein anxiously went upstairs to the Rebbe, not knowing what to expect in these unprecedented circumstances. Upon seeing him, the Rebbe’s face broke out into a wide smile, and he asked Rabbi Klein if he had received his doctor’s permission before leaving the hospital. Without waiting for an answer, the Rebbe proceeded to give him some directives.
The Shabbos was an unprecedented event. But this is not just the story of Little Rock, Arkansas. This is the story of each of the 30 Shluchim who gathered together, along with the thousands of shluchim around the world, together completing the Rebbe’s mission of preparing the world for Moshiach’s imminent arrival.