Shlichus: A complex new world for every young Shliach
Every new situation presents its own challenges, problems and difficulties. Whether one moves to a new place, takes a new position or embarks on a new enterprise – he will be faced with a battery of issues requiring knowledgeable, decisive solutions often beyond the individual scope of an inexperienced newcomer.
Each year, hundreds of young Chabad Shluchim set out on new lives dedicated to serving the Jewish community – moving to a new place, taking a new position and embarking on a new enterprise all at once. The complexities of the concerns that face them are in direct relation to the magnitude of the responsibility they shoulder – creating a vibrant future for Jewish life in their new homes.
Each aspect of their new life presents its own set of issues – from setting up shop in a new location, to providing for necessary costs in difficult circumstances, to negotiating competing institutions and their own struggles in establishing and leading their communities.
Over a half-century in development, the Chabad House network continues to expand to new communities, each with its own character. And while many of a new Shliach’s general concerns and specific issues may share typical qualities with situations faced by so many Shluchim before him, every problem has its own peculiarities and requires a unique solution.
And indeed, this continues to apply even as the newcomer becomes a seasoned veteran. With each phase, the Shliach encounters new situations: both ongoing issues in his personal, family and community life – as well as acute concerns that require immediate advocacy, intervention or emergency medical attention.
While each individual Chabad House operates independently, Shluchim often receive counsel from their neighboring Shluchim, as well as through an international network of peers – sharing their concerns and issues with others in similar situations.
To navigate the complex world of modern Shlichus, however, the young Shliach – and the experienced as well – needs more than the anecdotal advice of friends. Ideally, he would have access to experts – knowledgeable and experienced in the field – who would evaluate his situation and guide him in the best possible path, both as he establishes his Shlichus and as issues arise.
The Shluchim Guidance and Mentoring Center – realizing the ideal
To bring the Shluchim true expert advice – tailored to their individual needs – Lubavitch World Headquarters will establish a central office, the Shluchim Guidance and Mentoring Center, that will make available guidance and counseling services, as well as providing an advice and referral center.
Each Shliach, as required, will be able to schedule a visitation from the Mentoring Center by an advisory group that will include a trained guidance professional (in the full-time employ of the Center) as well as a practiced Shliach from the field. The advisory group will spend a day observing and reviewing the Shliach’s Chabad House, school, etc.; evaluate and provide appropriate guidance and specific suggestions to improve his existing situation and institutions.
Further, the Guidance Center will be able to provide full-time access to comprehensive advice and referral services, including:
- Creating vision
- Time management
- Community relations
A helpful contact in the central Chabad community
After many years in the field, Shluchim have established themselves and their families as integral to the fabric of their local communities. As much as they become part of the place they live, however, the Shluchim always remain part of the larger Chabad community they represent.
This is most noticeable in the lives of their children, who often leave home at a young age to pursue a full Torah education in Chabad schools, yeshivos and seminaries. Eventually, the time comes to help their children find Shidduchim; but because they are long removed from daily life in the central Chabad communities, they are not able to act directly within that network as active agents on their children’s behalf.
Thus in addition to services for their concerns in the field, the Guidance and Mentoring Center will serve as a point of contact to help the Shluchim find the best Shiduchim for their children – preparing a new generation of Shluchim for its role in bringing life and light throughout the world.