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Feast readied for thousands of rabbis

NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A cruise terminal on the Brooklyn waterfront will become a sea of black hats and kosher meals for 4,500 Hasidic rabbis Sunday.

David Scharf, who is organizing the banquet, told The New York Times, "It's the largest sit-down dinner in New York."

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The event is the International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries, in which rabbis of the ultra-Orthodox movement stationed around the world convene each fall in New York to share stories and attend workshops and seminars.

The banquet is meant to galvanize the rabbis before they return to their missions. There will be speeches and dancing, and the roll call of the many countries where the rabbis work. Behind the dais, workers have hung a huge portrait of Lubavitch movement leader Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994.

The forces Scharf has mustered are impressive: 90 chefs, 340 waiters, 390 tables, 15,000 glasses and 30,000 pieces of cutlery.

"It has to work like a precise machine, down to the inch," Scharf said.

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