High Altitude Farbrengen United Western USA Shluchim in Santa Fe 

This year’s Western USA Kinus Hashluchim held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought together 70 Shluchim and Shluchos from 22 states, from cities as remote as far as Whitefish, Montana, and Kona, Hawaii.

This year’s annual regional Kinus for Shluchim in Western USA was held last weekend. Graciously hosted by Rabbi Berel and Rebbetzin Devorah Leah Levertov, in the state-of-the-art Santa Fe Jewish Center. The local community opened its arms to 70 Shluchim and Shluchos from 22 States. Shluchim traveled from remote cities as far as Whitefish, Montana and Kona, Hawaii to bond with their peers.

With the war in Israel ongoing and the subsequent rise of antisemitism, Shluchim have been working tirelessly to support their communities in these difficult times. Traveling to the regional Kinus and reconnecting with their fellow Shluchim offered the opportunity to encourage one another and return home with renewed optimism.

Shluchim were in attendance not only for their personal inspiration but to represent their entire communities at a summit celebrating the continued thriving of the Jewish community despite all odds.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, and whom the Rebbe entrusted to facilitate regional Kinusim worldwide, explains the importance of this gathering. “While every community is unique, the current climate sees many community leaders grappling with similar issues.”

“The Rebbe emphasized how Shluchim can learn from one another, helping with the collective mission across borders,” he continued. “The regional Kinus Hashluchim facilitates these important discussions where Shluchim brainstorm together on how to inspire confidence and further Yiddishkeit for their communities.”

A busy program included sessions to address the needs of the time. This included a workshop on the practicalities of security for a Chabad house or community center. Led by Rabbi Yossi Eilfort of Magen Am, it was complete with practical security advice as well as hands-on self-defense training.

On the more spiritual side, a session marked the upcoming 30th anniversary of Gimmel Tammuz. A time to reflect on The Rebbe’s continued spiritual presence guiding his Chassidim and Shluchim through his writings, farbrengens, and the wealth of content available to us today.

But who is the guest speaker at a gathering of Rabbis you might ask? Why, of course, the Rabbis themselves. Rather than bringing in guest speakers from afar, many of the esteemed Rabbis in attendance addressed their fellows, embodying a spirit of Ahavas Yisroel and friendship.

For the Levertovs, hosting such an important event was an honor, as Mrs Devorah Leah Levertov said “It was a dream come true to host such an incredible group and provide the space for the inspiration, which will no doubt have a far-reaching impact.”

Stories from their communities were shared, with a theme evolving of The Rebbe’s continued support of his Shluchim. For one Shliach, it was when his son who was struggling on Shlichus received an unexpected dollar from The Rebbe, on the day of his Hanochas Teffilin. For another, a gift of a Rebbe picture from a congregant who noticed his home was missing one after his belongings were stuck in a shipping incident.

Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz traveled more than 900 miles from Boise, Idaho, to attend the event. “Every community is unique and you get to learn from others. As Rabbis, we’re often in teaching mode, but it is a pleasure to be in the student mode and to learn from each other. That’s really special,” he told The Albuquerque Journal one of the many local news outlets covering the conference.

In attendance were esteemed Shluchim Rabbi Moshe Feller, Rabbi Yosef Greenberg, and Rabbi Yehuda Weg who led the Shabbos farbrengens. Rabbi Mordechai Farkash gave a practical Halacha shiur on Friday and a Chassidus shiur on Shabbos morning, which were both well attended.

On Sunday, brunch was shared with the local community of Santa Fe. Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302 who traveled to Santa Fe for the occasion addressed the crowd on behalf of his father Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, who also addressed the Shlucim virtually. Senate Minority Whip Craig Brandt then spoke emphasizing his support for Israel and the Jewish community.

Mr. Alan Webber, Mayor of Santa Fe, spoke of Chabad’s significant impact in the city of the past 27 years, headed by Rabbi Berel and Rebbetzin Devorah Leah Levertov. He presented a declaration marking April 19th, 2024, coinciding with The Rebbe’s birthday 11 Nissan, as “Education and Sharing Day” in celebration of the Rebbe’s vision and Chabad’s accomplishments.

Many shluchim chose to join a local Jewish community march to the Santa Fe Plaza, half a mile away, in solidarity with the plight of our brethren in Eretz Yisroel. “Bring Them Home” signs and impassioned messages of hope and resilience were held high. The local community, joined by the tens of Rabbis in black hats, was sure to garner quite some attention, including that of local news that covered the Kinus.

At the plaza, the names of the hostages were read out, and Tehillim was recited in unison, using the power of unity to beseech Hashem to end the suffering of his children.

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