Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Head Shluchim?

Click on letter for a more readable size

Emmanuel has sent out this letter from Rabbi Y Krinsky, Chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, officially appointing Rabbi Yossel Gutnick and Reb Arel Serebryanski as "Head Shluchim" of their various Chabad Houses.

What does this mean?

Both these gentlemen have either established or supported Chabad Houses over the past few years. Reb Yossel has and is being more active with this and, I assume, financially supporting his children in their establishment of various Chabad Houses in Melbourne and beyond. Reb Arel most notably lent his backing (sometimes with the financial support coming from his friends) to various shluchim who did not have the backing of the established Chabad House Rabbis for whatever reason. I don't see that this official recognition from Merkos actually changes anything. Both Reb Arel and Reb Yossel are secure enough to have never needed official backing for any of their ventures. In any case I wish them Mazal Tov on this "appointment" and hatzlocho in continuing their good work.

As Emmanuel points out in his email there is still no overall "Head Shaliach" in Melbourne. Rabbi Groner was always the official Head Shaliach with Rabbi Shimshon Yurkowicz as the de-facto head of the Shluchim "board of Rabbis". I have no idea what that group is called but, from my observations, it is an exclusive, self-appointed board. In essence I think it is a good idea that there is an place where Shluchim can brainstorm issues and work together. My issue is that this group of Rabbis, many of who established their own Chabad Houses with little consultation with anyone else, has decided that only they have to the right to approve of who can be called a Shaliach. I know of good, talented and dedicated people who have been given an extremely difficult time by this group when they wanted to establish a new Chabad House. Fortunately there are people like Reb Arel around who will back new shluchim in their ventures.

So the bottom line appears that everyone will continue and do their own thing. The more established Chabad Rabbis will still oppose the opening of new Chabad Houses (except by family members) and those rejected will have recourse to Reb Arel and Reb Yossel.

The main thing is that the Rebbe's work be continued in a positive way without egos getting in the way. Now that the "Head Shaliach" role is decentralised this should lead to positive outcomes.