Some 2,000 Chassidic women are meeting this weekend in New York to shatter stereotypes about their roles as Jewish women.
The five-day gathering of female emissaries from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement features workshops that focus on issues such as the revival of world Jewry, leveraging the latest technology to conduct spiritual outreach and "breaking the ice" in new communities.
The conference, meeting for its 23rd year, provides an opportunity for day school principals, Hebrew school directors, educators, counselors and motivational speakers around the world to also air their concerns and network with each other, something they rarely have time for in their busy schedules.
Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries are known for their outreach efforts in far-flung communities across the world. Young couples establish outposts for Jewish contact in places like Beijing, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Laos, South Africa and Australia, offering guidance and services to Jews regardless of their affiliation.
Nearly 3,000 people are expected to attend the final event of the conference, a banquet that has for the first time been relocated out of the Crown Heights neighborhood to the Brooklyn Armory due to the massive numbers expected to attend. "The conference is a tribute to the legacy of Rebbetzin Chaya Muska Schneerson, the esteemed wife of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and is timed to the anniversary of her passing," noted a statement by the organizers.
"The title of emissary is not an appellation," observed Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the movement. "It is earned by each and every one of these women, who all give their lives to their communities."