The Gala Banquet of the International Kinus Hashluchim opens with the theme "20 Years Since The Rebbe Defined Shlichus as preparing the world for Moshiach."
A group of interior decorators spent many hours designing the interior of 770 and giving it a regal look fit for the King's emissaries. From the entrance and the walls to the tables and stage.
The Shluchim were greeted by workers of the Va'ad Ha'kinus who presented them with a raffle ticket for the grants totalling $165,000 and a fancy magazine defining Shlichus.
As the noise subsides, the voice of Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht, Chabad Shliach in Westport/Norwalk Connecticut and Master of Ceremonies is heard "Shluchei Adoneinu, Welcome to the International Kinus Hashluchim 5772," followed by a reminder to everyone to remember where they are and in front of whom are they standing.
This was followed by the recital of the Rebbe's chapter of Tehillim by Rabbi Berl Levitin, veteran Shliach in New Haven Connecticut.
The Rebbe was then seen on the plasma screens around the room. The scene is from Kinus Hashluchim 5753, the only time the Rebbe participated in the Kinus Hashluchim banquet, a historical moment etched forever in the minds of every Shliach.
Rabbi Hecht comes back to stage and welcomes the Rabonim of the Crown Heights Beis Din, mentioning the fact that the Rebbe demanded the event count with the participation of the local Rabbis. He invited the Mara De'asrah, Rabbi Yaakov Schwei to speak.
Rabbi Schwei welcomed the Shluchim in the name of the Crown Heights community and spoke about the Shluchim who come home to 770 to tell the Rebbe "We have fufilled your mission," the Shluchim who see the Rebbe in front of their eyes at every turn of life.
This was followed by the words of Rabbi Sholom Mendel Simpsonwho was appointed to direct Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch. He spoke about the dedication of Shluchim to the Rebbe's mission, and told a story about his predecessor in Merkos Rabbi Chodakov.
Renowned philanthropist, R' Sholom Ber Drizin is called to the podium to address the Shluchim, and he blesses everyone with success in all their endeavors.
The next speaker is Rabbi Shimon Waronker, renowned educator in New York City who shares episodes from his educational career, and describes his success as a result of following the Rebbe's instructions.
Rabbi Hecht mentions that Shabbos was the third Yohrtzeit of the Shluchim Rabbi Gavriel & Rivka Holtzberg who were brutally murdered while performing their Shlichus.
After all the speakers in Yiddish and English, Rabbi Shimon Pizem, director of Hisachdus Hachassidim in Israel is invited to speak. He delivers a fiery speech inspiring the Shluchim to bring redemption into this world, for 20 years have passed since we were entrusted in this mission and we didn't fulfill it yet.
The video presentation is now shown, depicting the Shlichus revolution taking place in New York.
The keynote address is delivered by a known face in Lubavitch, a veteran Shliach and a inspirational speaker, Rabbi Sholom Ber Kalmanson from Cincinnati.
Rabbi Kalmanson begins with a story about Rabbi Eliezer Silver OBM, the Chief Rabbi of the United States and Canada, who resided in Cincinnati. He then proceeded to remind the Shluchim that the mission is to present the Rebbe's words in an unadulterated and undiluted way, for the truth will always be accepted if it is presented.
Rabbi Shalom Ber Wolpo, the Rebbe's Shliach to Shleimus Ha'aretz calls upon the Shluchim to unite behind the struggle to help the Jews of the land of Israel.
An exciting moment is the annual raffle, when cities and countries are announced and 150 Shluchim receive a $1,100 grant to help them with their Shlichus. The tickets were pulled by the young Shliach, Levi Carlebach, and the winners announced by his father, Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, Shliach to New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Rabbi Eli Dovid Borenstein, Shliach to Bologna, Italy lead Bentching.
Each Shliach was presented with a leather-bound Siddur, and a Kehos book on their way out.