When looking through the personal archives of the Peerce family, I was surprised to find a letter from the Rebbe, of righteous memory, to Mr. Zalmon Jaffe, of blessed memory, a Chabad-Lubavitch activist from Manchester, UK. The letter referred to a concert in Manchester.

Here is an excerpt from what the Rebbe writes:

I need hardly emphasize that a concert arranged for a Jewish cause should have a Jewish character, and not be just a theatrical show. Certainly a concert arranged by and connected with Lubavitch. It is quite understandable therefore that I began to look for Jewish topics in the Programme, and I only found something of that nature at the very end of the Programme, after the intermission, and even there the topics are of a mixed nature, and suffice it for the wise.

I do not know who arranged this Programme, but it is well known that the artist has a rich repertoire of truly Jewish pieces.

I assumed that Zalmon Jaffe must have given Jan Peerce the letter because he was the singer the Rebbe referred to. However, that was purely an assumption; I did not know if Peerce had in fact performed for the Jewish community in Manchester. I refused to run on any assumptions and starting to wonder how I could find out if I had hypothesized correctly.

Rabbi Avrohom Jaffe, Zalmon’s son, made available to me the entire “My Encounter with the Rebbe” series (Zalmon’s autobiography), in text version. A quick search brought up what I was looking for:

In volume 25, he introduces the letter:

We were holding a big public concert in one of the largest halls in Manchester and Jan Peerce, the famous, international operatic singer was the star of the evening and he had submitted to us his programme.

In due course, we sent the printed brochure to the Rebbe - just as a formal matter of courtesy, because that has been our procedure since Manchester Lubavitch had been established.

We never expected to receive such a strong reply.

I had my answer.