Chabad International Conference reaffirms women's central role inspired by tradition
The annual conference of Chabad representatives ended Monday with a resounding affirmation of the preeminent place of the woman in Jewish life and community.
Some 3,000 women from 87 countries attended the International Conference of Shluchos (female emissaries) at Chabad-Lubavitch Headquarters in Brooklyn. Among the thousands of women, five Orlando women participated in the five-day conference; Devorah Leah Dubov, co-director of Chabad of Greater Orlando; Chani Konikov, co-director of Chabad of South Orlando; Shaina Zibell, Cteen director of Metro Orlando; Chanshy Majesky, co-director of Chabad of North Orlando; and Rivkie Lipskier, co-director of Chabad at UCF.
At its conclusion, participants were fired up with new energy. Majesky said she is heading back with "bolder vision for my community." The conference provided her "with a rich takeaway that has helped sharpen my focus and has given me new ideas and enhanced skills for the benefit of my community."
Each embracing multiple roles and responsibilities, the women explored relevant issues and learned from professionals and colleagues with years of experience. Among the topics that covered the gamut of their concerns: Raising a Large Family; Mental Health Issues; Events Marketing; Understanding Troubled Relationships; Fundraising; Inclusion; and a conference within the conference for Hebrew School and Preschool directors.
Sessions were thoughtfully targeted to address the different demographics served by Chabad. Campus leaders, for example (there are at least 240 women serving in leadership positions on campuses in the U.S. and abroad), found sessions like Raising a Family on Campus, Life on Campus: Psychodynamic Counseling for Anxiety, and Chabad House on a Budget, highly useful and informative.
The conference included a parallel track for lay leaders, organized and planned by a board of women, each a Chabad representative.
"These are the pillars of our community who are true partners with us," said Konikov, who was joined this year by a member of her community.
Lectures and workshops aside, the opportunity to spend time with other like-minded women from so many disparate countries and cultures who are part of a worldwide project inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe's love for each and every Jew, gave the participants, especially those going back to far and isolated outposts, an exhilarating sendoff.
"This was truly a larger-than-life experience," said Zibell at the conference's Sunday banquet gala. "It illuminated the power of the Jewish woman to lead-drawing on the strength of our tradition-with wisdom, as it focused on women who effect real, meaningful change with courage and creativity."