On the first night of Shavuos, maariv was at 9:00. I had told Tzvi Fisher and Lou Teifenbrun (from London) that after maariv, as the Rebbe was leaving the shul, I would sing “v’somachto b’chagecho,” and I was counting on their help.

Everything went over better than I had planned. As soon as I sang the first note, my friends joined in and in less than no time, about a hundred of us were singing and dancing in a huge circle. Happily, it went on for quite a while.

When I entered 770 the next morning some of those men who had been dancing and singing with me the previous evening, asked me in Ivrit “od paam?” (another time?). Last night was “tov meod,” said another one, kissing his fingers. I learnt that they were Russian Jews from Georgia (Russia) and only spoke Russian and Ivrit.

They and their friends had been sustained spiritually by the Rebbe throughout these many years, and had remained devout and pious Jews with the encouragement of the Rebbe. After leaving Russia with their families, they had settled in Nachlas Har Chabad, in Israel. They had now taken the very first opportunity to come to Brooklyn and to thank the Rebbe personally for all his help, material and spiritual, over the past many years. It was no wonder that they so spontaneously and joyfully joined with me in singing, dancing and rejoicing together with our wonderful Rebbe.

Quite a number of these Russians had settled in Brooklyn, too. At one place, I saw twenty young Russian boys learning and studying. I was told that ten others had already been integrated into the normal day school. Most of them are good scholars. A boy of eleven, who two years ago could just about manage to read the siddur, was today learning gemora with Tosafos.

Another lad of ten was being prepared for his bris.

A child of four refused to take off his yarmulke at home (as he was so taught). His father and mother were so impressed that they have arranged to get married in a week or so under a chupah. In Russia they only had a civil marriage.

I heard the story of the Russian who had a mikvah in his attic. The police came along and saw his “tank” full of (dirty) water, and said that it must be emptied at once. It was not hygienic. To prove his point he got a tumbler, filled it with the mikvah water, and drank it in front of them, proving to everyone that it was clean and satisfactory!

Our poor brethren certainly went through fire and water, for the sake of their faith.