Thousands sit down at Chabad banquet in N.Y.


(JTA) — More than 4,000 guests attended the final banquet of the annual conference of Chabad emissaries.

What has come to be known as the largest sit-down dinner in New York took place Sunday in Brooklyn. Some 350 waiters were required to serve Chabad emissaries from around the world, lay leaders, family, friends and VIPs.

The banquet, which featured the traditional geographic roll call of emissaries, marked the end of the five-day International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

This year’s conference focused on family involvement in the educational work of the late rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, director of the international conference.

The annual parley is important for far-flung emissaries who don’t have a lot of face-to-face contact with colleagues in the Lubavitcher movement, according to Kotlarsky.

"The rebbe would always emphasize the critical importance of the moral support and spiritual sustenance the shluchim give to one another during the conference,” Kotlarsky said, referring to the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. "The convention itself has a strong familial atmosphere. It’s like a large family gathering.”

Over the last year, Chabad outposts have been opened in cities in Mexico, Bulgaria, Canada, Thailand and New Zealand, as well as a new Israeli center in London and a Chabad center at Oberlin College in Ohio.

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