Tales of War Captivate North-Eastern Regional Kinus

Photos: Sholom Burkis

The New England and New York Regional Kinus Hashluchim Kinus culminated with a grand banquet with a keynote address by Rabbi Yosef Wolf, Shliach to Kherson, Ukraine, who inspired the Shluchim with personal stories from the war.

“I was on the ground as the soldier several meters away shot in the air, ordering me not to move,” described Rabbi Yosef Wolf to the spell-bound room of Shluchim. 

Wolf was on his way to deliver vital supplies to his community in Russian-controlled Kherson. While approaching a fork in the road, he paused to find the correct directions, not realizing that the soldiers were hidden nearby. He was ordered out of his car and onto the ground. 

Rabbi Wolf later understood that several miles down the road, the Russian Military was shooting at any car that passed. “You would have been shot and killed without question,” he was told. 

“While lying there on the ground, I felt a buzz in my pocket. After I showed the soldiers my permission documents and got cleared to continue, I saw that a Shliach had sent me a Tefillin Selfie. The Shliach had reached out a day earlier, asking how he could help. I responded that he should find an extra Yid to put on tefillin in our merit. I feel that the Tefillin helped save my life.”

Hosted in the Chabad of Briarcliff-Ossining, New York, by Rabbi and Mrs. Dovid Labkowsky, the one-day Kinus brought together Shluchim from across the North-Eastern region of the United States, the workshops and sessions tackled discussions such as Chinuch, Halacha, and post-covid related difficulties. 

The Kinus concluded with a gala banquet, where the crowd was addressed by Rabbi Wolf, and the Shliach, Rabbi Labkowski. A local community member shared his thoughts after recently learning the Maamar V’Ata Teztave. He described the role of the Shluchim as extensions of Moshe Rabbeinu, bringing to all Jewish people the light they so desperately crave and need. He expressed appreciation to the Shluchim for all that they do, and conveyed the idea of the maamar that those on the receiving end add to the illumination of the giver. 

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, spoke passionately to the Shluchim, reflecting on previous accomplishments and plans for the future.

“The energy gathered in this room is tremendous,” said Rabbi Kotlarsky. “Some 80 years ago, the Frierdiker Rebbe visited America. He commented on the state of American Jewry saying they are “deaf and blind to Yiddishkeit.” Boruch Hashem, since then, American Jewry has widely become open and receptive to Yiddishkeit. Undoubtedly, your work as Shluchim has turned the tide greatly.”

Post-banquet, the farbrengen continued with Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi, Mashpia in 770, inspiring the Shluchim until the wee hours of the morning. 

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