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Former Israeli President Joins Chassidic Gathering

Former Israeli President Joins Chassidic Gathering

Jerry Dantzic: Trailblazing in the Rebbe’s footsteps.

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Detail from “Yechidus.” © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
Detail from “Yechidus.” © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

"In Chabad nothing changed," said former President of Israel Zalman Shazar to a reporter the morning following his two audiences, and participation in a Chassidic gathering, with the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. "They greeted me with the same parade and the same love as when I was president."

This was in contrast to the way others had greeted the former president after his term in office had concluded. "In most places he has already been forgotten," wrote the paper, "he is no longer the President..."

"The true friends," said Shazar, "still come to speak and confer with me. The Rebbe received me courteously, and gave me useful advice on how to adjust to my new status as ordinary citizen. The transition is very difficult and the Rebbe's advice is truly helpful."

It was two days before the 12th of Tammuz, on a Tuesday, when Michoel Sheshar received a phone call from Shazar who was on a trip to Mexico City, Mexico, "I cannot miss the farbrengen (chassidic gathering) this week in Brooklyn."

"Thursday was a very difficult day for Shazar," said Shulamit Kahanah, Shazar's secretary. "We went from meeting to meeting in Mexico City and then we flew straight to another meeting in New York."

Still she says, "No sooner than we arrived at the hotel in Manhattan, where we dropped off our belongings, and Shazar was on his way to the Rebbe."

On the way to Mexico City, Shazar had an hour stopover in Texas, where he was greeted at the airport by representatives of the Jewish community. Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff also came to the airport to bring greetings in the name of Chabad-Lubavitch of Texas. Shazar informed him that he was planning to go to the farbrengen in New York for the 12th of Tammuz.

When Shazar came to Lubavitch World Headquarters and entered the Rebbe's room, a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries was gathered to greet the former President, before Shazar's private audience.

At that time Shazar told the Rebbe of his meeting with the Lubavitcher emissary in Houston.

The Rebbe pointing to Lazaroff, who was present, and said to Shazar, "You know that his grandfather was the rabbi of Lenigrad."

Smiling and surprised that Lazaroff was there, Shazar stood up and enthusiastically shook his hand.

Photographs by Jerry Dantzic, courtesy of, and copyrighted by, the Jerry Dantzic Archives.

Shluchim:


The Rebbe, prior to a private audience with former Israeli President Zalman Shazar, introduces him to Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries from across the globe. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
The Rebbe, prior to a private audience with former Israeli President Zalman Shazar, introduces him to Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries from across the globe. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Yechidus:


Shazar waits for the last person, Jerry, to leave the room so he could privately confer with the Rebbe. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
Shazar waits for the last person, Jerry, to leave the room so he could privately confer with the Rebbe. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Portrait:


Jerry took close-up headshots of many of the attendees. The negatives of the Rebbe’s headshots are missing. This picture, cropped from a larger photo, is the one close up “portrait” in the collection. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
Jerry took close-up headshots of many of the attendees. The negatives of the Rebbe’s headshots are missing. This picture, cropped from a larger photo, is the one close up “portrait” in the collection. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Waiting:


While Shazar and the Rebbe remained in the Rebbe’s office, Jerry went to the synagogue downstairs and captured some photos of the crowd that was assembling at Lubavitch World Headquarters in anticipation of the Rebbe’s farbrengen (public gathering) scheduled for that evening. The farbrengen was in honor of the Rebbe’s father-in-law’s release from Soviet incarceration. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
While Shazar and the Rebbe remained in the Rebbe’s office, Jerry went to the synagogue downstairs and captured some photos of the crowd that was assembling at Lubavitch World Headquarters in anticipation of the Rebbe’s farbrengen (public gathering) scheduled for that evening. The farbrengen was in honor of the Rebbe’s father-in-law’s release from Soviet incarceration. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Contemplating:


An elderly Chassidic Jew sits and meditates while he awaits the farbrengen. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
An elderly Chassidic Jew sits and meditates while he awaits the farbrengen. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Conferring:


The Rebbe and Shazar converse during an interlude between the Rebbe’s scholarly addresses. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
The Rebbe and Shazar converse during an interlude between the Rebbe’s scholarly addresses. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Clapping:


Shazar claps his hands to a Chassidic melody. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
Shazar claps his hands to a Chassidic melody. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Lchaim:


Shazar says l’chaim, a toast on wine, to the Rebbe. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
Shazar says l’chaim, a toast on wine, to the Rebbe. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Vocal Unity:


The crowd assembled at the farbrengen joined in chassidic melody. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved
The crowd assembled at the farbrengen joined in chassidic melody. © 2009 JERRY DANTZIC ARCHIVES, All Rights Reserved

Click here to contact the Jerry Dantzic Archives.

Dovid Zaklikowski is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn. Dovid and his wife Chana Raizel are the proud parents of four: Motti, Meir, Shaina & Moshe Binyomin.
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