Wednesday, November 14, 2007

International Convention of Chabad Emissaries

Four thousand hats, four thousand beards, sixty five countries, forty seven states. There is no hall large enough in the entire borough of Brooklyn, NY to hold them. They are gathered at Pier 94 on the west side of Manhattan, which has been converted in to a gigantic banquet hall.

Welcome to the International Convention of the World-Wide Chabad Lubavitch Movement.
The annual gathering of Chabad emissaries is the highlight of our year. Our mission to reach every single Jew is evident throughout the entire ballroom.

Rabbis from every corner of the world are here today, yet tomorrow they will be off to their faraway destinations, placing them within the reach of every single Jew in the entire universe.

The guest speaker is Mr. Levi Leviev, the powerful diamond magnate, who personally bankrolls hundreds of Chabad institutions in the former Soviet Union. He tells the tale of ten Chabad envoys who one hundred years ago arrived in Samarkand to inspire the Bucharian Jewish community. To their chagrin, only ten boys agreed to attend their small cheder. The entire generation was engulfed by a wave of assimilation, yet those ten boys in the cheder remained steadfast in their Jewish observance. One of those boys was Mr. Leviev's grandfather.

It was this committment to the individual, to every single Jew, that Chabad displayed to his grandfather and continues to display to every single Jew that inspires him to stand side by side with the Chabad movement, ensuring that no Jew will be left behind.

The highlight of his talk was the story of a girl from the country of Tatarstan who was born to a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. The mother felt an obligation to give her daughter a Jewish education and enrolled her in the local Chabad day school. The father went along with it initially, but gradually changed his mind and decided to baptize her as a Christian. As they prepared for the ceremony on a Friday evening, the girl asked the priest for some candles, and he complied with her wishes. She took the candles, lit them and proceeded to say," Baruch ata adon-ai... Lehadlik ner shel shabbat kodesh .... Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the audience.

May we all merit to reach every Jew and inspire them to give their children a love and passion for the Jewish faith.

By Rabbi Dov Mandel

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