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Chabad Conference Comes to Town

How to feed 4,000 rabbis

Orlee Maimon
November 13, 2009
Chabadniks praying in Brooklyn last year.(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Chabadniks praying in Brooklyn last year.(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The Chabad Men’s Annual Kinus, a conference for Chabad’s emissaries from all over the world, began yesterday in Brooklyn. Everything is staying local this year, with the enormous final banquet set for Sunday night at the Bedford Armory, at the edge of Chabad’s home neighborhood, Crown Heights. (Last year’s banquet at Chelsea Piers apparently required Herculean logistical support to get the several thousand attendees to the western shore of Manhattan.) The enormous armory, with 92-foot ceilings, will play host to 4,000 rabbis for the closing meal and require 7,000 square yards of burgundy event carpeting, 20 different kinds of lighting, and, somehow, an effective coat check for those 4,000 identical hats. Some other statistics on the banquet:

Months of prep work: 4
City licenses needed for the event: More than 10
Tractor-trailers needed to transport event equipment:5
Length of lighting and power cables used: 7 miles
Workers required to assemble and then break down the hall: 40
Simultaneous translations of the speeches: 3 (Russian, Hebrew, French)
DVD copies of the event that will be produced overnight for Monday morning distribution: More than 6,000

And what does it take to feed the 4,000 Chabad emissaries, known as shluchim, for the four-day conference? According to Bentzion Cohen Catering:

Total meat meals served: 15,500
Total dairy meals served: 6,500
Chickens used: 12,500 chickens
Pounds of margarine used: 55
Gallons of soup prepared: 2,500
Rugelach baked: 5,000