435 Shluchim Gathered in Southern France for Kinus

Photos: Morde'hai Lubecki

Shluchim in France gathered for a regional conference in Toulon, South France, marking 50 years since the Rebbe’s transformation of the French National Anthem to HoAderes Veho’Emunah.

Following the Rebbe’s directive to organize regional kinusim, the kinus of French shluchim took place on Sunday and Monday, 3-4 Adar I, in Toulon, Southern France, where shliach Rabbi Shalom Bitton has made a huge impact.

France boasts, thankfully, 435 shluchim across 200 Chabad houses, spreading throughout the country. Despite the challenge of traveling to Toulon, every shliach made an effort to attend this special kinus.

Toulon is a five-hour train ride from Paris, during which the shluchim enjoyed a spirited farbrengen. The French police, upon learning about the kinus, ensured every detail was covered, providing escort and security for the shluchim. The conference hall, located by the sea, was adorned with signs welcoming and honoring the shluchim.

Following light refreshments, the kinus offered fully booked workshops on topics including teaching Torah online, emotional health, working with authorities, and personal outreach through home visits.

A key workshop featured veteran emissaries Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Matusof from Toulouse, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Labkowski from Marseille, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Pinson from Nice, and Rabbi Yehia Lachiani from Grenoble sharing their early experiences and special instructions received from the Rebbe, both orally and in writing.

Rabbi Menachem Altabe from Marseille discussed the importance of strengthening and living with the anticipation of Moshiach, emphasizing that the mission should be imbued with a readiness to welcome Moshiach.

The evening banquet, led by Rabbi Shmuel Levin, the Rebbe’s shliach in Deauville and the driving force behind the kinus, featured three touching videos: one about the network of shluchim in Marseille by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Labkowski, a tribute to Mordechai Pevzner who passed away before Yom Kippur 5783, and a feature on three shluchim serving in remote locations. Guest of honor Reb Yosef Yitzchak Gurevitch from Migdal HaEmek shared his shlichus experiences in France and the niggun HoAderes Veho’Emunah.

As usual, shluchim took upon themselves hachlatos, including the division of Igros Kodesh and visiting of shluchim in smaller places. The banquet concluded with lively discussions that lasted until the early hours, where veteran emissaries shared advice to strengthen the connection to the Rebbe.

On Monday, the emissaries went to the mikveh and davened in the community shul. The afternoon saw more engaging workshops, after which the shluchim departed with a lively dance, each returning to their respective shlichus.

The shluchim expressed their gratitude to the organizing committee in France and specifically to the conference committee who worked tirelessly to ensure every detail was taken care of in a spirit of remarkable achdus.

As one shliach put it, “During these two days, we felt as if we were experiencing a foretaste of Moshiach – a tefach above the ground.”

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