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My First Kinus Banquet Experience

Thursday, 7 November, 2013 - 4:28 pm

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We arrived at the Kinus on a cold blustery afternoon. Quickly parking on a shabby street with members of a gang lurking about to “greet” us. Quickly heading toward the vast shipping terminal where the Kinus banquet was being held peering ahead, we saw a long line of vehicles going through serious security checks.

Nearer to the terminal, a few hundred Chabadniks were standing up to the strong winds. What appeared to be a long line was actually a cluster of Minchah minyanim [prayer quorums].

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Upon closer examination almost every Chabadnik had whipped out a smart phone, leaving me to be the only one davening from a Minchah booklet, a wonderful reminder of how comfortable Chabad is with integrating the latest technology with their holy tasks.

Entering the terminal where the banquet was being held, the transformation from the chol [mundane] outside to the kodesh [holy] inside was amazing. This rough shipping terminal was beautifully decked out for the huge banquet. There was a sea of tables surrounding a high tech circular rotating speaker’s dais. Several thousand Shluchim were milling around greeting each other with great joy.  There was a palpable energetic charge in the air.

The program began. It included a wonderful surprise, Rabbi Ovadia, the Russian Shliach who was shot by a hateful terrorist several months ago, standing tall leading Tehillim [psalms]! Several other speakers spoke eloquently about the amazing worldwide and achievements of the Shluchim [emissaries] and their personal journeys via Chabad.

After a sumptuous feast, several speeches followed by the spirited dancing of probably over 5000 joyous shluchim (we are all shluchim), we benched [said grace after meals], davened Maariv [evening prayers] and all too soon it was time to re-enter the cold streets of reality, after a meaningful recharge.

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