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A nod from Williamsburg

Thursday, 15 November, 2012 - 8:47 am

Dear friends,

It's impossible to put into words the feeling of good fortune that I experienced, the sense of destiny and brotherhood that is the Annual Conference of Shluchim (Chabad Emissaries) from which I returned just a few days ago.

So instead I'll give you a visual.

First, a bit of history.

The Baal Shem Tov the founder of the Chasidic movement taught and empowered his followers to live the Biblican instruction of Ahavat Yisroel - Love for our Fellow.  He did this through uncovering the essential Oneness that is the core of every person.

Through his spiritual grandson - Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, student of Rabbi Dov Ber the Magid of Mezritch, this idea was formalized into a movement known today as Chabad.

While many embraced this joyous and loving approach to our fellow Jews as being a core part of the Chasidic message others remained introverted and internalized only the personal piety and relationship with G-d element.  As such some of these movements remained insular even here in the USA.

One such community is the community of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

Now, moving 4000 plus Rabbi's from Brooklyn to Manhattan for the annual banquet that closes out the weekend conference is no easy feat.

Sunday afternoon at 3:00 an army of charter buses loaded up with thousands of Rabbi's began its procession to the Banquet.  The path to Manhattan required a trip through Williamsburg to the Williamsburg Bridge.

We wound our way down the streets mothers with baby carriages eyes open wide.  And there one Chasid looked our way and with a look that contained years of history, a look that reflected a different world view and then the nod.

A nod that reflected a recognition that despite the different attitudes a knowledge that the work we do carries with it the fulfillment of G-d's intent for creation.  A nod that says we need you out there, touching the souls of all our brothers and sisters.  A nod that says we and all of our ancestors are counting on you.

And so I return to Harford County, with the inspiration of thousands of brothers.  I return from a weekend filled with important messages.  I return with new tools to succeed at our hold work.  I return empowered by thousands of years of history.

And dear friends I return with a nod from a lone man on a Williamsburg street on a Sunday afternoon.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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