The Three Flights of Israeli Chabad Shluchim


By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

The 27th of October is when the three official flights of the Kinnus HaShluchim land at JFK – El Al’s flight, Delta’s flight, and American Airlines.  The Shluchim are headed to the annual Kinnos which begins Wednesday evening.  When the flights land, the El Al one breaks out in a Lubavitch song.  The other two do not.

The first order of business for the arriving Shluchim is to see the Rebbe ob”m.  Most of the Shluchim will go to the Ohel.  Then they go to 770.

The Kinus Hashluchim is an annual reunion that bring Shluchim together.  Many bring their children as well – to meet peers.  The Kinnus has a camp for the children as well.

The first world Kinus took place in 1988, but the American Kinnus took place earlier in 1984.  Over 5500 members attend.  The gathering lasts for five days.

Rabbi Menachem Hershkovitz, 27, is the Shliach from Avnei Chain, a shchuna in the ever-growing city of Modiin.  He is young, affable, and extremely likeable. He was brought to Modiin by Rabbi Boruch Slonim – the head Shliach in Modiin.  It is Rabbi Menachem’s first time at the Kinnus, and he is very excited.  He is sitting next to me on the El Al flight to New York.

Where do they all stay?  “Most make their own arrangements, but if one cannot – the organizers find spots,” answers Rabbi Menachem.

Rabbi Mendy Beckerman is a shliach in Assaf HaRofeh Hospital in Central Israel.  He is attending to learn of the difficulties. “There will be other hospital chaplains there.  It will be very inspiring and I will most definitely gain much Chizuk from it.”

“We were at the hospital at the height of Corona,”

Is there a flight discount?  “No. But perhaps they will make such an arrangement in the future.”

How long have you been a Shliach?  “I started Purim of last year.”

Before Rabbi Menachem became a Shliach he studied in Kollel in Yerushalayim in Ramot.  Rav Moshe Veiner was the Rosh Kollel.  He focused on Hilchos Shabbos and Yore Deah.

The way Shluchim work is to begin with something called “Charisha.”  They start shiurim and begin Chevrusahshafts.  One shiur that Rabbi Menachem has is in Tanya. He has one chevrusah in Gemorah Shabbos.  Another in Hilchos Shabbos.  They also kasher kitchens.  Rabbi Menachem koshered some half a dozen kitchens already.  On Rosh Hashana he blew shofar for hundreds of people. For fulfilling Daled minim  and sukkos, he assisted hundreds as well.  He teaches bar Mitzvah lessons already.  They host at least one family each Shabbos.  This is very effective in Kiruv.

Rabbi Menachem runs a “Shifra v’Puah” program where they deliver free breakfasts to mothers who had recently given birth.  They also bring necessary gifts for the mothers and babies.  They hope to expand this to bring Shabbos meals as well.

There is a new program called “Shevet Shlosh Esreh” which is a type of game – where a 13 year old lands on a desert island and discovers an entire tribe of Jews that know nothing about their heritage – and the 13 year old must teach them. Reb Menachen uses this and finds it very very effective.  It was recently created by Tzeirei Chabad.  It is not yet available in English, and American Shluchim are still unaware of this dynamic program.  The person in charge of this program can be reached at 050 661 1768.  His name is Pinni Martin and he speaks English.

At the Kinnos Shluchim choose from among sessions that are scheduled back-to-back. They cover a wide range of topics.

What is he most excited about at the Kinnus?

The choices are professional presentations on hi-tech solutions for maximizing Chabad House productivity, fundraising and development.  Rabbi Menachem was unaware of this part, but was very excited about sharing ideas.  He very much looks forward to the chizuk and the camaraderie.  He looks forward to sharing ideas of how to break the ice.

Rabbi Menachem does not like the term “chiloni.”

“That term comes from the word “chol” and every Jewish neshama is holy.” He cites an example.  There is one yid in the area who is very distant, Yet he is very proud of his son who was chozer biteshuva.  People ask him, “Why are you proud of this?”  Yet we see that he has a holy neshama.

The plain flights themselves were filled with much excitement – a prelude of what lies ahead.

The author can be reached at [email protected]




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