International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries Moves Online Amid Pandemic

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kinus hashluchim
The annual Chabad Kinus Hashluchim usually draws thousands Lubavitch emissaries to Crown Heights. (Mendel Grossbaum/

Since its launching in 1983 by the Rebbe Lubavitch, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, zt”l, the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchim) has brought together Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries for a weekend of inspiration, learning and fellowship.

From an inaugural conference of 65 emissaries, it has ballooned to one that annually sees nearly 6,000 emissaries and lay-leaders from all 50 states and more than 100 countries gather in New York. The annual event is both the largest rabbinical gathering in the world and the biggest sit-down-dinner in the New York area.

In recent years the conference’s banquet has been broadcast at, opening the convention to hundreds of thousands at home as well as those emissaries who can’t make it to the convention.

This year, no one will be able to make the trip. With a recent uptick in coronavirus cases making clear that any large gathering could be hazardous, the organizers, in consultation with medical professionals, made the decision that for the first time in its 37-year history, the Kinus will be an entirely virtual event — one that will be different in form, but identical in function: giving the participants, especially those going back to far and isolated outposts, the sense that they are not alone.

A suite of workshops, addresses, vignettes and highlights from previous Kinus gatherings will take place virtually, culminating in a “Grand Event” — which will stand in for the annual Grand Banquet.

The global melava malka will begin as Shabbat ends in Australia and New Zealand, and as time goes by, emissaries will join from Asia, Europe, Africa and finally the Americas.