NEW YORK, January 27, 2003 — More than 1,500 women, leaders of Jewish communities around the globe, converged on Lubavitch World Headquarters in New York this past weekend for their annual International Lubavitch Women Emissaries' Conference.

The envoys, representing some 60 countries around the globe, convened from January 22-27 about enhancing Jewish life and learning around the globe.

In their capacity as "Shluchos" (lit. emissaries or representatives) the women serve as school principals, teachers, counselors, writers, lecturers, Rebbetzins, camp directors, editors, program managers, youth directors, fundraisers, campus leaders, and life guides and coaches to thousands. All this in addition to their critical roles as wives and mothers.

At this year's convention the "Shluchos," as they are called in Hebrew, benefited from "a very wide variety of workshops and lectures, reports and discussion groups,” according to Mrs. Esti Grossbaum of Toronto, chairwoman of the coordinating committee. 

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"There is probably not a talent on Planet Earth that one or more of the Shluchos hasn't harnessed in some way to fulfill our common goal of helping to turn the world into a more tranquil and loving place," said Committee Co-Chair Chaya Teldon of Long Island.

Workshops and seminars, held almost round the clock, included diverse topics like: receiving accreditation for pre-schools, juggling the varied academic levels of adult class attendees, solving and teaching complex halachic issues, innovating daily in campus outreach, maximizing each minute of Hebrew School instruction, successfully incorporating interactive children’s learning, impacting the tough-to-reach teen crowd, and much more.

Before, during and after other sessions, many Shluchos joined the popular ongoing track of intense textual learning as well.

Despite the dozen or more languages spoken by participants and numerous other differences related to geographic distances, conventioneers were drawn together by common purpose.

"The Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory] would always emphasize the critical importance of the moral support and spiritual sustenance the Shluchos give one another during the Conference," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, who oversees the International Shluchim and Shluchos Conferences from his position at the Lubavitch World Headquarters.

The conference is scheduled annually to coincide with the 22nd of the Jewish month of Shevat, anniversary of the passing (in 1988) of Rebbetzin Chaya Moussia Schneerson of righteous memory, wife of the Rebbe. Her role in encouraging the Shluchos and the pride she took in their work is felt today.

“The Rebbetzin adored the Shluchos,” said the Lubavitch Headquarters’ Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of the annual conferences and a close aide to the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin. “She often spoke of her profound admiration for the Shluchos, their families and their extraordinary selfless devotion and outreach to all Jewish people.”

The annual conference of Shluchim (male representatives) was held last November.