By COLlive reporter
Photos by Mendi Toledano
A festive Kinus celebration marked the 61st anniversary of the founding of Tzeirei Agudas Chabad Hamerkozis – Lubavitch Youth Organization (“Tzach”), by the Rebbe in 1955.
The celebration at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights was timed with Beis Iyar, the birthday of the fourth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, known by the acronym the “Rebbe Maharash.”
It was the Rebbe Maharash’s staple motto of “Lechatchilah Ariber” (“Go above from the start”) that was the theme of the festive farbrengen that united Chabad Shluchim from around the New York Metropolitan area.
A video of the Rebbe speaking about this motto was the opening salvo of the event, invigorating participants to continue their mission to rekindle the holy spark in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people.
The emcee was Rabbi Efraim Zaltzman, Director of Chabad of Kingsborough in Brooklyn who welcomed both the Shluchim and Members of the Board of Lubavitch Youth Organization which oversees Chabad’s outreach activities in New York.
Rabbi Moshe Pesach Goldman, the long-time secretary of the organization from the very beginning, recalled how Tzach was founded and its first activities to awaken American Jews to Torah and Mitzvos.
Rabbi Goldman remembered the Rebbe’s Chief of Staff Rabbi Mordechai Hodakov telling him and the Tzach Chairman Rabbi Dovid Raskin that the Rebbe initially wanted to participate in the organization’s first gathering.
“Rabbi Hadakov notified that the Rebbe’s Simchas Beis Hashoeva Farbrengen will therefore be considered a continuation of the first gathering and the Rebbe asked for a report from us,” he said. “I was privileged to deliver that report.”
Rabbi Goldman added that in the following years, the chairman of the annual gathering should provide a report of the event in the presence of the Rebbe during the Sukkos Farbrengen.
Among those honored with delivering these reports over the years were the chassidim Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, Rabbi Sholom Ber Gordon and Rabbi Hirsh Gansburg.
Rabbi Shmuel Butman, director of Tzeirei Agudas Chabad Hamerkozis, highlighted the organization’s pivotal role, quoting what the Rebbe told Rabbi Zalman Gurary that each of the Chabad Rebbes established a special institution, their ‘zohir tfei’ — “the special institution that I established is Tzeirei Agudas Chabad. It is more precious in my eyes that any other institution.”
Rabbi Butman said in the name of Rabbi Raskin that the founding of the organization on the Sefiras HaOmer day of Tiferes Shebtiferes and the Rebbe Maharash’s birthday point to the dual approaches required of the organization and given the strength to achieve them: determination and majesty.
Rabbi Butman noted that the Shluchim in the New York Metropolitan area have a special Zchus of being ‘Ligyono Shel Melech – the Shluchim in the Rebbe’s city.’
Rabbi Kasriel Kastel, the program director of the organization, spoke about the high success rate of the Shluchim with more than 60 Chabad centers offering an array of programs, classes, and activities for Jews of all backgrounds. “We see the constant brochos of the Rebbe for our continuous success,” he said.
One example of how to further grow outreach efforts was given by Rabbi Mordechai Hirsh, director of the Mitzvah Tank Office. Rabbi Hirsh stressed the constant mutual activities with the Shluchim throw-out the calendar year whether it’s a Mitzvah Tank, a Succah Mobile or a Menorah Parade. “It will be our pleasure to continue to work with you throughout the year.”
The guest speaker of the celebration was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gluckowsky, Rav of the Chabad community in Rechovot and Segan Mazkir – Deputy Secretary of the Chabad Beis Din of Israel.
He enthralled the participants with stories and anecdotes of how staying true to the Rebbe’s directives will reap great results. “You have great powers and unlimited possibilities,” he said. “You are Shluchim in New York – others than Israel, there is no larger population of Jews in the entire world.”
The Guest Speaker stressed the great merit that the Shluchim have that they are the Shluchei Haelech B’ir Hamelech” – the Shluchim of the Rebbe in the city of the Rebbe” with all the merits that come with it.
Rabbi Gluckowsky’s words had had a deep and profound effect on the participants. Many of the Shluchim asked him for a continued Farbrengen after the formal event.
This was a great uplifting kinus of enthusiasm, unity and dedication. “This was a unique and warm event,” one Shliach commented. “We were uplifted by what we heard and empowered to take the Rebbe’s messages back to our Chabad centers and communities with greater resolve and energy.”
The Shluchim left with a strengthening in their unity and commitment to the Rebbe’s Shlichus of preparing the world for the coming of Moshiach.