Alaskan Snow Warmed by Western Regional Kinus

70 shluchim from across 22 US States converged on Alaska this past weekend, bringing warmth and joy to a region known for snow and frigidness. They held what might be the longest Shabbos farbrengen in history.

By reporter

70 shluchim from across 22 states joined the Regional Kinus Hashluchim of the Western Region this past weekend, held in Anchorage, Alaska. The Kinus was hosted at the Lubavitch Jewish Center of Alaska headed by Rabbi Yoske Greenberg.

The Western Regional Kinus brings together shluchim from 22 states every year for a weekend together with tens of other shluchim from “smaller states.” This year, shluchim traveled to participate from across the states of Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington. In honor of Shnas Hakhel, even more shluchim than usual made the effort to attend and the regional Kinus was one of the largest to date.

Soon after landing on Friday morning, the opening session of the Kinus was held. It was addressed by the Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky. Rabbi Kotlarsky, who was unable to attend in person, joined the Kinus remotely via Zoom.

The shluchim then traveled to the Mat-Su Valley Chabad House headed by Rabbi Mendy Greenberg for a grand Siyum Harambam. The siyum was the first of its kind held in North America’s most western region.

With Shabbos starting and ending close to midnight, the shluchim utilized the time for a non-stop farbrengen. Over Friday afternoon and all throughout Shabbos, the shluchim encouraged and inspired one another, especially focusing on the theme of the Kinus – to be mechazek their hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

On Friday night, senior shluchim Rabbis Moshe Feller, Sholom Ber Levitin, Moshe Wilhelm, Yossi Shemtov, Yosef Landa and Zalman Levertov as well as host shliach Rabbi Yoske Greenberg, spoke at the seudah, sharing beautiful stories of their early years on shlichus and amazing insights from their decades on shlichus. The seudah continued into a chassidishe farbrengen which lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

Shabbos day, following davening in shul, a special program and Shabbos lunch was held for the local community. Locals were invited up to speak about the effect of the Rebbe and his shluchim on their lives, and a few shluchim spoke as well.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, the junior United States senator from Alaska, also joined the program. The senator, who is not Jewish, was unable to come to the formal Sunday program, so he came on Shabbos instead, and he spoke beautifully, and presented the official Congressional Record of the declaration of Education and Sharing Day honoring the Rebbe’s birthday.

After the official lunch with the community, the shluchim sat down for what might have been the longest Shabbos farbrengen in history, continuing until 11:30 PM, when Shabbos concluded.

The shluchim said l’chaim, farbrenged, danced, and celebrated the zchus to be the Rebbe’s shluchim.

The program did not conclude with havdalla, with a melave malka being held despite the late hour.

Sunday morning was for sessions, with various shluchim presenting ideas how to bring the inspiration to action.

In the afternoon, there was a special event for the entire community to salute the shluchim. The lieutenant governor, and mayor along with many members of the assembly, and many other dignitaries joined and saluted the shluchim, thanking and expressing their gratitude for their dedicated work. Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky also addressed the event via Zoom.

Following the event, one last farbrengen was held, a tzeischem l’shalom, which continued until the shluchim had to leave to the airport.

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