Even as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries work to stem the tide of Jewish emigration from South Africa, they are making sure their new communities abroad welcome them with open arms.

That was the message South African Rabbi Dovid Masinter, director of the Chabad House of Johannesburg, had for the more that 60 emissaries gathered in Sydney, Australia, for a recent conference.

Masinter, the scholar-in-residence for the conference of emissaries from across the Australian state of New South Wales, reflected on what local Jews could learn from the South African Jewish experience. He stressed that Australia, a prime destination for a new crop of exiting South Africans, should make the new immigrants feel at home.

The rabbi noted, however, that as the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, repeatedly assured South Africans that their country would stabilize and that Jews would remain safe, his own Jewish community had nothing to fear of a recent upsurge in violence.

"Although we may be going through a rough patch at the moment," Masinter said, "we are certain that South Africa will remain a prosperous and safe nation, as the Rebbe assured. The Chabad leadership in South Africa has therefore been discouraging emigration."

On the other hand, "because emigration is a fact, and many South African Jews are coming to Sydney, they have to be welcomed with open arms and provided the spiritual nourishment they need in their new country."

The conference also focused on combating assimilation and featured addresses from Rabbi Mendel Kastel, president of the Rabbinical Council of New South Wales, and Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, chief emissary of New South Wales and dean and spiritual leader of Sydney's Yeshiva Centre.

"The conference was a resounding success," said Feldman. "A number of innovative new ideas were tabled, and resolutions made to enhance Jewish awareness and involvement in our community."