Lubavitch Headquarters Gears Up for Women's Conference


by B. Olidort - Lubavitch Headquarters

January 24, 2005

A good percentage of Chabad Lubavitch Shluchim makes up the 40-something demographic. They’ve been at their work for 25 years now, and can’t help recall, perhaps a bit wistfully, a level of energy that once seemed endless.

Midlife Musing: Life On Shlichus After 40 is the title of one of the sessions geared to veteran Shluchos at the upcoming International Annual Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos. According to Mrs. Esther Grossbaum, one of the coordinators of the Conference, the conference aims to provide enough substantive workshops and sessions to address the interests of Shluchos wherever they are along the Shlichus curve.

The Conference is scheduled to open on Thursday, and the range of workshops, seminars and lectures is truly impressive. The 40 women who worked as a team to develop the program took a bold but thoughtful approach in selecting themes for discussion that will appeal to the interests of the Shluchos—and they are as varied as are the demographics and their respective areas of involvement. These include fundraising, public relations, topics of early childhood education, adult education, marriage counseling, long-distance parenting, to name just a few. A quick perusal of this year’s offerings show the conference’s willingness to tackle sensitive topics that bear on the entire scope—communal and personal—of concerns that affect a Shlucha.

One example is the session for Shluchos with special needs children living in third-world countries. The sense of isolation can be profound in a place that is both remote and lacks the kinds of resources that are available in western countries. Addressing this session is Chava Willig Levy, President of Lucidity Unlimited, who will speak of her own experience living with a handicap.

Seminars on medical ethics that explore dilemmas a Shlucha often confronts in her role as mentor and community leader will be examined by noted medical ethics scholar Rabbi Irving Breitowitz.

The Conference has been months in planning to ensure the women—so many of whom make the trip from as far away as Australia, South Africa, Peru, China, Siberia, and Israel—an experience that leaves them enriched and energized. For those traveling with their babies, a comprehensive babysitting service makes it possible for the women to drop off their babies and participate at the conference worry free.

The Banquet Dinner session of the Conference is Sunday, at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel. Addressing the guests will be Mrs. Nechama Kantor of Chabad of Thailand, who will be reporting on the tsunami disaster and its aftermath and Mrs. Leah Namdar of Chabad of Sweden who will speak of her battle against the force closure of the Chabad school by Swedish authorities. The keynote speaker is Mrs. Faygie Matusof, Chabad representative to the University of Madison.

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