We arrived at 770 at 4:15 p.m. (on Thursday) and found out that the Rebbe was still at the ohel. However, Reb Zushe Wilmowsky and 100 others from Israel seemed to be waiting just for “Zalmon Jaffe to arrive” and lead them in the singing and dancing. They had already been in Brooklyn for a fortnight, and just needed me to get them started. (A wonderful compliment, to be sure.)

Already, busloads of chassidim and Lubavitch leaders arrived from Montreal and Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, California, Antwerp, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, South America, South Africa, Israel, Scandinavia, and all countries and cities where Lubavitch was established and were represented by their leaders. More were still due to arrive in time for the big farbrengen on Sunday evening - the day of the actual birthday. For instance, Rabbi Drizin, the only Lubavitcher in San Francisco, came along too. There was also an obvious contingent of recent Russian emigrants.

The Rebbe arrived from the ohel in time for a late mincha. He looked very tired. Yet, he managed his usual lovely smile of welcome for the “Englishmen” and myself waiting in the hall.

After mincha I handed Rabbi Chodakov a pile of thirty letters from various local (Manchester) people extending greetings to the Rebbe on his birthday.

The senders included the Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Mayor of Salford, the Manchester and Northern England botei dinim, communal council, shechita board, president of the Board of Deputies and innumerable shuls, organizations and Lubavitch supporters. There was also a very considerable amount of money included for the Rebbe’s special fund. I also delivered a hand-written and signed parchment scroll, extending loyal and warm greetings with brochos for good health and long years until 120 years, from Manchester Lubavitch, including the hundreds of members of our Youth Club and the thousands of people who had cause to be forever grateful to the Rebbe.

Many hundreds of letters and cables had been received by the Rebbe from presidents and leaders from all over the world, including the US President Nixon, President Shazar of Israel, and the President of Italy. (I was informed, unofficially, that the pope also sent greetings; however I was never able to confirm this with a reliable source.)