By Larry Gordon –
This past Sunday was the 30th annual International Conference of Chabad Emissaries or the Kinus Hashluchim. 5,200 people came together under one roof from the far flung reaches of the world to share their common goal of creating a Godly environment in this world of ours and connecting Jews to their Jewish core. It was an awe inspiring tribute to what one man’s vision–that is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson—the Lubavitcher Rebbe—has accomplished.
Today there are 4,500 institutions that exist in every state in the US and a great number of countries around the world, some p[laces that you would never imagine there was a need for an organized Jewish presence. Places like Laos and Vietnam or North Cyprus or Turkey, just to name a few.
When viewing the Chabad experience there are two tiers from which to see things. There is the big picture which many can summarize or encapsulate in a few brief sentences. Then there is the person to person experience on the ground which is detail oriented and has and is literally changing the face of world Jewry on a day to day basis.
On Sunday night in a converted 110,000 square foot warehouse at the foot of the Brooklyn docks an empty and probably idle and decrepit space was turned into a world class dining facility that was made to look like a Waldorf Astoria ballroom and where a kosher caterer designed and figured out a way to serve dinner to five thousand people in under a half hour.
The featured guest speaker that held this mass gathering spellbound for three quarters of an hour was former Connecticut Senator Joseph I Lieberman. Like so many other government officials both foreign and domestic and almost two decades after the Rebbe’s passing and now that the Senator was retired from politics we were keyed into the special relationship that existed between the Rebbe and the Senator.
Senator Lieberman said that after being elected to a local position in his home state of Connecticut he sough the Rebbe’s bracha, blessing for success. As you probably know, the unusual thing about Joe Lieberman was that he is a serious practicing Orthodox Jew. Despite the intense pressures of often being available on Shabbos and the additional pressure of a campaign to run for Vice President of the United States in 2000 as Al Gore’s running mate—is adherence to observing Shabbos and his scrupulous adherence to the laws of Kashrut were uncompromising. More in this week’s 5TJT.