CROWN HEIGHTS (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – The iconic picture of several thousand Lubavitch emissaries from all over the world gathered together for the annual Chabad Kinus Hashluchim has become the latest COVID casualty, with the annual gathering shifting away from an in-person format for the first time since its inception 37 years ago.
The kinus has had a virtual component for years to accommodate shluchim who cannot make the trip to New York, as well as thousands of others who tune in online, explained Motti Seligson, director of media for Chabad. With the recent uptick in COVID cases, organizers made the decision to move the entire event online, a platform that works well for the usual workshops but is less suited to the always anticipated annual photo taken in front of Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, which in past years has made its way to the Associated Press, the New York Times and multiple other media outlets.
“The picture itself is really powerful, and manages to communicate some of the immense energy of just being there,” Seligson told VIN News.
The possibility of creating a unique photo this year is still being explored. Seligson said that several creative alternatives are being considered to continue the long-standing photographic tradition. As previously reported on VIN News, more than 4,700 shluchim were featured in the 2018 kinus photo.
“That photo is always so special to so many,” observed Seligson. “It really represents a global picture of unity and impact and we hope to be able to make that happen somehow this year.”
The fall kinus is just one of two major gatherings held by Chabad Lubavitch each year, with a second event for female emissaries typically taking place each year in February to commemorate the yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, the wife of the last Lubavitcher rebbe. A weekend event to be held once the pandemic is over is currently in the planning stages, providing shluchim an opportunity to once again gather in Crown Heights and, hopefully, create another memorable Kodak moment.