The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was born on Friday, April 18, 1902 (Nissan 11 on the Hebrew calendar) in the Ukrainian-Russian town of Nikolaev.
His father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, was a renowned Kabbalist and Talmudic scholar; his mother, Rebbetzin Chanah, an aristocratic woman from a prestigious rabbinical family.
At age seven, the Rebbe moved with his parents to Yekatrinislav (today, Dnepropetrovsk), where Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was appointed Chief Rabbi of the city.
Those were turbulent years for the Jews of Czarist Russia, who were subject to pogroms and persecutions. Rebbetzin Chanah told of one occasion, in 1905, in which many Jewish families huddled in a hiding place while a pogrom raged outside. The babies and young children were wailing in fright. Their parents' frantic efforts to silence them only increased their terror, and the danger of discovery was imminent. It was young Mendel, little more than a toddler himself, who saved the day by going from baby to baby and calming them with a softly laid hand or a soothing word.
Years later, the Rebbe would describe his early childhood as a time in which his worldview and life's goals were already being formed. Indeed, the Rebbe had a unique perspective on childhood, which he expounded upon in his teachings and put to practical use in his programs.
The Rebbe saw the child not merely as an adult in the making, but as a person with marked advantages of his or her own: the child's faith, trust, integrity, energy, enthusiasm, thirst for learning, conscientiousness, and sense of mission and importance, are qualities to be cultivated in the child and emulated by the adult.
All this was not just theory to the Rebbe. In 1980 he established Tzivot Hashem, his "children's army" to bring redemption to the world. But the Rebbe had enlisted children in his work from the very start of his leadership; they, in turn, were his most enthusiastic and devoted "troops." Several times a year the Rebbe addressed children's rallies. He spoke to them in their language, but never condescendingly, issuing to them "orders of the day" that expressed his regard for them as full-fledged participants in man's mission in life.
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Jewish Education and the Holocaust
Defeating the Nazis through Jewish Education
Do We Lie to Our Children?
Want It All
A Yeshivah in Egypt
The Third Millennium
The Power of the Child
G-d in the Classroom
Religion and the Constitution
Letter & Spirit:
Educating A Child
G-d in the Classroom
Education and The Educator
Educator's Wish to Leave Community
The Purpose of Educational Institutions
On Educating Small Children
The Student Who Likes One Subject More Than Another
A Jewish Educational Foundation
When Is a Person Considered "Educated"?
Pay Attention to Your Children
What the Circumcisions of Isaac and Ishmael Tell Us
Importance of Early Childhood Education
Neglecting the Education of the Very Young
Is Education Only to Increase Knowledge?
Instilling Faith in Your Children
The Joy of Learning
The Need for Torah Education
The Jewish Professor's Influence
Becoming a Leader of a Girls' Group at Age Twelve
Living Torah Archives:
Foundations In Education
“The Little Lantern”
No Child Left Behind
Clarity of Purpose: Freedom for What?
Clarity of Purpose: Inner Unity, World Peace
Education: Sensitivity without Compromise
The Season of Freedom--Preaching and Practicing
“For My Children? Only the Best!”
“Why am I Different?”
Education, an Honor and a Responsibility
Returning the Hearts of the Fathers
The Right Priorities
The 3:00 am Audience
The Man and the Century:
Utilizing Children's Energy
Education is the Cornerstone of Humanity
Being a Good Example
Living and Growing