By Merkos 302 News Blog
Photos by Avrohom Perl
Answering the call to bring yaldei hashluchim together for uplifting Chassidishe and social experiences, MyShliach, a division of Merkos Suite 302, hosted its first regional shabbaton for shluchim’s boys living in the Pacific Northwest this Cheshvan. Daughters of shluchim living in southern Argentina and Paraguay met for the first time at a shabbaton just a few weeks later, and a shabbaton open to boys from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas and New Mexico took place shortly thereafter.
Two weeks ago in Lugano, Switzerland, the fourth shabbaton in the series united yaldei hashluchim from Switzerland, Italy and Southern France, kicking off–in true shlichus spirit–with-mivtzoim in downtown Lugano. Shabbos ushered in a packed 25 hours of farbrengens, games and discussions centering around life as a shliach of the Rebbe. “I really liked the shabbaton,” related Mendel Gurewitz, age 7, of Lyon, France. “It taught me lots of things.” The shabbaton concluded with a one-day family fun day and barbeque on Sunday at Parco S. Michelle, a small park at the summit of Monte Bre in the Swiss Alps, enabling the younger siblings and their parents to meet and enjoy each other’s company, along with a Tzivos Hashem rally, Mincha and sports-games.
Rabbi Zushi Rivkin, shabbaton director, who coordinates and chaperones the shabbatons together with Shloimy Freedman and Mendel Weingarten, said, “While it’s good for the boys to be able to share what it’s like living without kosher food or amenities nearby, the real treat is for them to spend a Chassidishe and shlichus-themed Shabbos together with other yaldei hashluchim; it gives them a boost like nothing else can.”
The feedback from the boys has been very enthusiastic. Levi, age 8, from Aspen, CO, says that he loves how “during the shabbaton I met a lot of new friends who are on shlichus, just like me.” Similarly, Schneur, age 9, from Hillsboro, OR, said that the shabbaton “gave me a chance to meet other shluchim and just share what’s going on and stuff like that.” Now he keeps in touch with his new friends by phone.
“We look forward to the upcoming shabbaton to take place the week of Parshas Terumah in Memphis, TN for yaldei hashluchim living across middle-America in states like Arkansas, Kansas and Tennessee,” says Rabbi Mendy Shanowitz, director of MyShliach. With three additional shabbatons scheduled before Pesach and a total of ten through the summer, shabbaton attendance will, b’ezras Hashem include at least 400 yaldei hashluchim by the end of the year. “We are very grateful to the shluchim who have hosted shabbatons in their cities,” Rabbi Shanowitz says. “They have each truly gone the extra mile to facilitate a most incredible experience for the yaldei hashluchim in their region.”
“With an unprecedented number of shluchim living in relatively close proximity to each other, the opportunity for their children to connect with other yaldei hashluchim and enjoy Chassidishe experiences together is more possible than ever before,” states Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice-chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch. “MyShliach’s regional shabbatons bring “Ish es rei’eihu ya’azoru ul’ochiv yomar chazak” to life for these selfless young soldiers.”
For photos of the latest shabbatons, visit myshliach.com/shabbaton.