Close to 400 campus shluchim and shluchos arrived with their families on Monday for the annual Chabad on Campus Kinus at the Crowne Plaza in Stamford, CT.
Over the next four days, every hour was filled with valuable workshops, lectures, and round table discussions aimed at training, inspiring and invigorating each participant. In between sessions, shluchim and shluchos caught up with old friends, made new ones, and took advantage of opportunities to learn from those in the field whom they admire.
“Each day began with learning,” said kinus organizer Mrs. Nechoma Dina Dubrowski. “We had chavrusa learning and shiurim first thing in the morning, and it really added a lot to the ruchniusdik element of the kinus.”
This year, the kinus brought down highly sought after mentors to work one on one with the shluchim and shluchos. Some of the inspirational guests and mentors included Stamford head shluchim Rabbi Yisroel and Mrs. Vivi Deren, renowned author and lecturer Rabbi Shais Taub, and Rebetzin Bassie Garelik of Milan, Italy, whose farbrengens and shiurim were a real highlight for the shluchos.
“We moved out 6 months ago, so this was my first time at the kinus,” said Rabbi Shmuli Lipsker, shliach to University of Miami. “My favorite part was being able to have private sessions with the incredible mentors- I really learned a lot! This has been a one of a kind experience.”
With separate programs for men, women, and 500 children ka”h, the kinus had over 150 staff members working to keep things running smoothly. All throughout the day, children could be found enjoying the camaraderie and a combination of fun and inspirational activities.
For the adults, session topics ranged from fundraising and programming fundamentals to halacha Q&As to CPR and active shooter training. In addition to workshops on finding success and dealing with challenges in campus shlichus, there were sessions dedicated to topics concerning chinuch, shalom bayis, and other family matters.
Several shluchim mentioned that one of the most important workshops this year was given by Rabbi Dr. Yosef Shegalov on the effects of internet use. Following his address, TAG programmers were available at the hotel to put filters on devices for those wished. The demand for their services was so high that they had to come back the next day to finish installing the filters!
“The workshops this year were very interactive,” said Mrs. Dubrowski. “After presenters introduced a topic, participants sat around tables and came up with innovative ways to implement the tools they were learning about. This helped form new bonds, as participants found themselves brainstorming with different people at each session.”
“To me, the kinus means an opportunity to absorb incredible talent and 100s of years in combined experience all in one place, with no distractions,” said Rabbi Berel Grunblatt, who runs the International Jewish Student Center of Boston, MA. “Chabad on Campus does a tremendous job of combining innovation with professional growth and development.”