The 21st annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries kicked off Wednesday night in Brooklyn, N.Y., setting the stage for five days of Torah learning, workshops and discussions for more than 2,000 women whose mission is to strengthen Jewish life around the globe.
According to organizers, this year’s is the largest such gathering. For the first time ever, the event’s gala banquet will move from the Brooklyn Marriott hotel to the New York Hilton in Manhattan; registrations from lay leaders helped push the Feb. 15 dinner’s expected attendance to more than 2,900 people.
More than 70 countries are represented in the conference, with women flying in from destinations in the Far East, South Africa, Europe and across the former Soviet Union. A lunch program on Thursday featured a live hook-up with women emissaries in Israel who were unable to attend.
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Occurring on the 21st anniversary of the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, of righteous memory, wife of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, the conference “is an opportunity for emissaries to share new ideas,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, and the conference’s chairman.
For many Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who live in the farthest corners of the globe, the conference will be the first opportunity to reconnect with their friends and peers since the Mumbai terror attacks of last November. Sunday’s banquet is expected to include a commemoration of the life’s work of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the slain directors of the Mumbai Chabad House.