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4,000 Women Leaders from the Jewish Community Gathered at the International Chabad Conference

The atmosphere in the expansive convention space, transformed into a banquet hall, was electric as 4,000 Jewish women leaders from across the globe convened for the grand event of the annual International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Women Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos). This distinctive gathering, held annually since 1991, unites the women driving the global network of Chabad emissaries, spanning from China to the Caribbean and from the plains of Illinois to Israel.

“Every year, I come back and see more and more women that I’ve met at the Kinus; you meet old friends and new ones,” shared Devora Wilhelm, co-director, alongside her husband Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm, of Chabad of Oregon since 1983.

Wilhelm participated in the inaugural conference in 1991 when the concept was novel and distinctive. The event coincided with the anniversary of the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, the wife of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. Questions about whether it was an imitation of the men’s gathering were dispelled during that first memorable weekend when it was announced that the Rebbe would address the women’s assembly that Sunday. Wilhelm fondly recalled the electrifying atmosphere, stating, “It was incredible; it was the ultimate validation we could get. Was our work important? The Rebbe made it clear it was.”

As Wilhelm shared her reflections amid the illuminated hall, she was joined by an old friend, Chavi Epstein. Epstein, co-director of Chabad of South Carolina with her husband, Rabbi Hesh Epstein, since 1987, missed the inaugural Kinus Hashluchos due to giving birth a few weeks earlier. However, she attended the second one in 1992 when the Rebbe once again delivered a special address to the women. More than three decades later, Epstein vividly recalls the deep and esoteric talk the Rebbe delivered.

“The Rebbe charged us with the work of revealing the G‑dliness inherent in the physical, material world,” Epstein emphasized. “This is the generation in which this special feminine strength would lead the way, the spirit and power of Shabbat. That’s what you feel in this room right now.”

Chany Scheiner, serving as an emissary in Boulder, Colo., has been a regular attendee of the Kinus for several years. She expressed, “It’s amazing to connect with my global community, my friends from the beginning, and to see them, get hugs, and encouragement.” While Scheiner consistently gains valuable insights from the Kinus and the camaraderie with fellow emissaries (shluchot), she noted that in recent years, women have become more authentic. They are increasingly open about both their successes and the challenges they have faced, creating a more honest and positive atmosphere, Scheiner emphasized.\

Chaya Uzan, the Chabad emissary to Abuja, Nigeria, alongside her husband Israel, emphasized the value of connecting with fellow shluchot, noting, “When you connect with the other [shluchot], you realize you are not alone. You can gain so much from a workshop or meeting old friends.” Uzan highlighted that being at the Kinus equips them with the tools to continue their sacred work, bringing back energy and inspiration to their communities. The joyous atmosphere extended to a group of teen girls from Israel, who enthusiastically danced and sang, while slightly older teens from Argentina immersed themselves in the entire weekend experience.