From the Midwestern United States, to Florida, France and the U.K., ten localized mini kinusim were held for campus shluchim families. The overall sentiment, repeated dozens of times, was, “This is exactly what we needed!”
In the world of Chabad on Campus, summer is a special time. While regular daily activities at home quiet down with schools out of session, these shluchim and shluchos who work so tirelessly throughout the year don’t miss a beat, shifting focus to other important tasks such as fundraising and getting ready for another year of continued engagement.
And for the past 17 years, the Chabad on Campus Kinus has been a major part of the “getting ready” effort, providing camaraderie, planning sessions, and an overall boost for the year ahead. What started as a relatively small gathering has grown into a sprawling annual conference with hundreds of families KA”H, providing a boost for the entire year.
But last summer was different. With the world still embroiled in a raging pandemic, the kinus, like every other such event, was called off. And as the days got longer and the weather warmed this past spring, it became clear that a bold decision needed to be made to bring the kinus experience to the shluchim who look forward to it so much.
And so, the “mini kinus” was born, breaking up the larger kinus and bringing that same inspiration and warmth on a regional level.
Getting right to work, Chabad on Campus International encouraged shluchim and shluchos to arrange localized kinusim and provided generous funding to help make them happen. shluchim jumped on the idea, reaching out to fellow campus shluchim in their area and working out the logistics for intimate gatherings.
It was a wild success.
From the Midwestern United States, to Florida, to France, to the U.K., ten such kinusim were held and received with overwhelming excitement. The overall sentiment, repeated dozens of times, was, “This is exactly what we needed!”
Highly localized as it was, the kinus took on different formats in different regions. In England, it was a group of Shluchos specifically who converged upon a beautiful location in Coventry. “What an amazing two days that was!” said Mrs. Chana Sora Danow of Leeds University. “We laughed, sang, and reconnected. We learned, shared ideas, and relaxed, and it was so good to connect and spend time with people who know so much of my life so well. Thank you are small words to express the feeling I have.”
For some, this was the very first opportunity they got to meet nearby shluchim. Rabbi Mendel Gordon of Chabad at FGCU in Fort Meyers, Florida only recently moved out on shlichus, just prior to the pandemic. For him and his wife Shternie, they were hardly able to get to know anyone from the family of shluchim before the entire world shut down. “Thank you so much for facilitating this program and everything else you do for the shluchim,’’ he said. “It was really incredible for my wife and I. As new shluchim, a number of our nearby shluchim we hadn’t met or only met very briefly, and now we’re spending Shabbos together.”
Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International, sees the unique importance of these kinusim. “As the world reopens, we anticipate a surge of interest in Jewish engagement, a release of pent-up demand after protracted isolation. As shluchim on the front line, we must be ready for this historic wave, and that’s what these mini kinusim have been all about: getting together and supporting each other, reinforcing and sharing best practices, and being prepared for the exciting times ahead—all with a sense of joy and family.”