Campus Shluchos Experience Kinus of a Lifetime in Eretz Yisroel

In a year when these brave Shluchim and Shluchos encountered unprecedented challenges to Jewish life on campus, Chabad on Campus International decided to bring the annual event to Eretz Yisroel for inspiration and solidarity.

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Chabad Houses on campus have had quite the year.

Shluchim and Shluchos have been at the forefront of the protests on campuses, being there for Jewish students who have been under attack. It was a year when these brave Shluchim and Shluchos encountered unprecedented challenges to Jewish life on campus. Alongside their students, they faced hostile encampments, apathetic administrations, and countless acts of intimidation, with a Ge’on Yaakov that has inspired people around the globe.

Against this backdrop, the annual Chabad on Campus International Kinus HaShluchos became an exceedingly vital opportunity for campus Shluchos around the globe to gather together. With this in mind, Chabad on Campus International decided to bring the annual event to Eretz Yisrael.

“Jewish students need support like never before, provided with relentless intensity,” said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International. “This support must come from individuals dedicated to the truth of our existence as the Jewish People and our rights to our beautiful and cherished homeland, Eretz Yisrael. These individuals are the Shluchim and Shluchos who direct Chabad Houses on campuses. Clearly, the opportunity for campus Shluchos to connect, recharge, unite, and inspire one another has never been more significant!”

“It was intuitively obvious that hosting the campus Kinus in Eretz Yisrael this year was the right place at the right time,” said Rabbi Avi Weinstein, COO of Chabad on Campus International. “Campus environments are being directly impacted by what is going on in Eretz Yisrael, and allowing Shluchos to see the situation first-hand allows them to go back to their campus armed with increased clarity and fortitude to be there for their students. This extraordinary Kinus experience rejuvenated the Shluchos, equipping them with fresh inspiration and enthusiasm to return to their critical work on campus, where they will continue to make a lasting impact on the lives of Jewish students.”

The 150-plus Shluchos began their journey in Kfar Chabad, where they were welcomed by Rabbi Avi Weinstein, COO of Chabad on Campus International. They heard the fascinating history of the Rebbe’s village from local residents and visited 770.

In a heartwarming display of Bikkur Cholim, the group visited wounded soldiers and terror victims at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. The Shluchos shared gifts and delivered letters of love and support from their own children and students back home to the soldiers, victims, and their families.

The first day concluded with a memorable welcome dinner featuring the inspiring words of Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International, Rabbi Yosef Aharonov, Chairman of Tzach Eretz Yisrael, and Mr. George Rohr, renowned philanthropist and Chairman of the Chabad on Campus International Advisory Board.

The second day of the Kinus was devoted to visiting Sderot and the Nova Festival Site. The Shluchos heard from survivors and local Shluchim and Shluchos, gaining valuable insight into the situation that has so deeply impacted their own Shlichus on campus. Shluchos shared their love and support with their brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael, who in turn expressed deep gratitude for the Shluchos’ remarkable work on campuses worldwide. This mutual bond was poignantly captured by Yuri Levin, an alum of Chabad on Campus in Eretz Yisrael, who shared his story of escape from an attempted kidnapping on October 7 and his heartfelt message of hope and gratitude to the campus Shluchos.

Thirty Israeli campus Shluchos joined the Kinus on Thursday led by Mrs. Bracha Shilat who together with her husband, Rabbi Moshe Shilat, directs Chabad on Campus Israel.

At Thursday night’s dinner, a fascinating conversation was held on stage between famous Israeli influencers Sharon Adom, Moran Koors, Yael Zien and Yuval Matook about their inspiring life stories and the amazing work of Chabad on Campus Shluchos. The dinner was followed by a dessert reception for alumni and guests who were invited to spend time together with their Shluchos.

Friday was spent in Yerushalayim, beginning with a visit and shiur in Mayanot’s new Mayanot World Center. The Shluchos spent the rest of the day learning about the history of the Old City, davening and saying Tehillim at the Kosel, and doing mivtzoim at the Machane Yehuda Shuk.

After licht bentchen in the storied Tzemach Tzedek Shul, Shluchos enjoyed a beautiful Kabbolas Shabbos and Maariv at the Kosel before heading back for an inspiring Shabbos Seudah. Farbrengens ran throughout the night as the Shluchos encouraged and strengthened each other in their all-important Shlichus.

Shiurim, round-table discussions, and panels were held throughout Shabbos, with Shluchos sharing their insights and knowledge on essential topics such as faith, hiskashrus, and feminine leadership. Shabbos concluded with an inspiring seder niggunim.

“I have visited Chabad Shluchot from all over the world, but today I am privileged to meet the elite secret unit of Shluchot.” said Israeli journalist and renowned news anchor Sivan Rahav-Meir after visiting the Shluchos on Shabbos. “I think you are dealing with the most important and urgent things in the Jewish world right now. It is connected to what is going on in Gaza. Thank you for being part of this fight, the fight against the ultimate evil. It’s not just fighting antisemitism; it’s how to fight back with positivity and light, Torah and Mitzvot.”

On the final day of the program, the Shluchos headed off to Kever Rachel. Meeting them there was Rachel Goldberg-Polin, mother of Hersch Goldberg, a hostage being held in Gaza, who shared her inspiring message of hope and gratitude.

“I am so indebted to you righteous Tzadikot who are here,” said Rachel. “This is where we know our mother Rachel asks for her children to be returned. I want to thank you on behalf of all of us here in the country. We are in such pain, and your comfort means the world to us. Thank you so much for carving out the time to be with your people when you were needed. I love you. I feel so zochah that I got to be in your presence today. The work you do on campus is so holy, and powerful, and mighty. You are moving mountains, and you are changing the world.”

This was followed by a visit to Me’aras Hamachpeila and a tour of the ancient city of Chevron, where Shluchos were welcomed by Rabbi Danny and Batsheva Cohen, Chabad of Chevron, and had the opportunity to visit the kever of Rebbitzen Menucha Rochel. The Shluchos also connected with the renowned matriarch of Chevron, Sarah Nachshon.

With hearts full of joy and inspiration, the Shluchos gathered for an elegant closing banquet that honored their selfless work and dedication in a truly fitting and deserving manner. They sang moving niggunim led by Israeli Chabad vocalist Yaffush Barkahn and danced to joyful melodies in a tremendous spirit of achdus.

President of Israel Isaac Herzog addressed the Shluchos during the banquet virtually. “You serve an enormous cause, spreading the message of the Rebbe. You have a mission that is vital. You are on the frontier of the defense of the Jewish people. May you go from strength to strength!”

“Until now, I’ve felt there are very few in my world who can relate to the ups and downs, the struggles and joys, that come along with the lifestyle we lead,” shared one Shlucha. “This opportunity to be in a room with over 150 women who can truly understand and care was strengthening and inspiring.”

Another wrote, “We are heading off and I don’t know how to describe the feeling. Overwhelming humble gratitude to all those involved. My sisters – to connect with you is something special. Infused with all we’ve experienced – strength, sorrow, pride, awe, determination, achdus, to name a few. Theses moments we’ve spent together, I will cherish them.”

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