Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chabad Conference of Emissaries


Emissaries of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement are a hardy lot — part envoys, part pioneers — who agree to settle anywhere in the world where their leaders decide that Jewish communities need bolstering, whether in Anchorage or Bangkok or northern Kyrgyzstan.

Often the only Lubavitchers for miles around, they are used to being gawked at and asked to explain themselves, usually in a nice way, though not always. "How long did it take to grow that beard, dude?" is a pretty common query in the United States, they say.

But for three or four days a year, during the annual International Conference of Emissaries held at Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the world of the emissary becomes a kaleidoscope of the familiar.[...]

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