1. Now, for the second time, I am arriving at America’s friendly shores,1 though not to visit, but to settle. On the one hand I am grieved to part from my brothers in Europe, after having spent my whole life with them and after having shared with them the painful experiences of the present War. On the other hand, I console myself with the hope that from here I will be better able to organize the help that they so desperately need.

As I now enter Heaven-blessed America, after having been rescued from destroyed and ruined Poland, my lips murmur Birkas HaGomel, the blessing of thanksgiving. At the same time, however, my heart bleeds for the agonizing lot of my brothers who are still in that living hell. Their plight defies description. The cruelty and horror of the War and the siege of Warsaw are equaled only by the vicious persecution that our brothers are now suffering under the brown boots of their conquerors.

I was an eye-witness of the horrendous misfortune and the decree (Heaven preserve us!) that befell our brothers in Poland.

It is my painful duty to relay to you, my brothers in America, the agonizing shriek of the community of three-and-a-half million Polish Jews who are on the eve of full-scale annihilation, G‑d forbid.

Can you, fortunate brothers in America, picture to yourselves what war means, what are the horrors of modern war? You cannot possibly imagine what it all means, and in the future, too, may you never know of such things.

You ought to be thankful that you have been spared such a bitter fate, and you are no doubt thankful for that. However, your gratitude must be expressed in practical action. You ought to bring a thanksgiving offering! You ought to pay a ransom for your lives that have been spared! And that offering should be made wholeheartedly – by creating a huge rescue fund for the benefit of your Polish brothers and sisters, who have been subjected to the whole weight of Divine fury and have thereby become the sin-offering of the entire Jewish people.

This is not the forum to specify all the aspects of the work that needs to be undertaken for their benefit. Suffice it to say that this work requires colossal funds, both in order to alleviate the needs of Polish Jewry in their present location, and in order to enable their large-scale emigration and settlement.

I am firmly convinced that if American Jewry demonstrates its deep-seated concern and involvement in the plight of their brothers in Poland, the American government will reciprocate by providing all the means required to give many of our brothers a haven of rescue in their own home. In the extraordinarily woeful situation of Polish Jewry today, America will assuredly not depart from its traditionally sympathetic response to those who are persecuted and tormented – the response that has always served humanity. America will no doubt ease its own immigration restrictions, and will no doubt also take the initiative to induce other countries to follow its example and to open their gates for a substantial Jewish immigration. Above all, influence must be exerted on England – to recognize its duty and responsibility to the Jewish people by opening the gates of the Land of Israel for a massive aliyah, as it does in its other dominions.

I must mention one aspect of the general problem of Polish Jewry. One element of that population has been discriminated for the most intense and constant life-threatening persecution – namely, the rabbis, the communal functionaries, and the formerly wealthy householders. Energetic steps must be taken immediately to arrange for their emigration. This must not be delayed.

The current drastic plight of Polish Jewry cries out aloud for unity throughout the Jewish people. The petty differences of opinion and political arguments within all the groupings and strata of our people must be forgotten. Everyone must be embraced by one thought and one goal – to create a united front whose joint forces will rescue our brothers in Poland.

We have, thank G‑d, a well-organized body, the American Joint [Jewish Distribution Committee], whose exemplary activity for the benefit of Polish Jewry is well known. I would also like to also point out that the Joint is the only organization that is currently active in Warsaw to alleviate the needs of our Polish brothers. While all the other charitable bodies were crushed, the Joint stood at its post and it does whatever can be done to help our unfortunate brothers. At the same time I must tell you: the Joint, though it is indeed an expansive well, is a mere drop in the ocean when measured against the massive needs of the present hour. The problem, of course, is a shortage of funds. However, I hope that American Jews will recognize their heavy responsibility towards their Polish brothers and will substantially multiply their contributions to the Joint, so that it will be able to carry out its tasks to the maximum.

2. Naturally, one of the burning questions that engage me at this time is the fate of the internationally-reputed Tomchei Temimim Lubavitcher Yeshivos, which my late father founded 42 years ago in the Russian township of Lubavitch. After experiencing various predicaments and exiles in Russia during the [First] World War and the [Communist] Revolution,2 most of the yeshivah was transferred to Poland, to Warsaw and Otvotzk. There it soon developed and branched out, with substantial offshoots in Vilna, Chelm, Kalushin, Lenshne, Patchinov and so on, totaling hundreds of students.

American Jewry is well aware of the fruitful activity of the Lubavitcher yeshivos in Poland, and always played a significant role in their support.

Needless to say, those yeshivos were severely stricken by the universal destruction in Poland. Thanks to the great self-sacrifice of the students and their mentors, the central yeshivah did not collapse. The students remained close to their respective mentors in Warsaw and Otvotzk, and are now awaiting rescue. Some of the students and teachers we succeeded with G‑d’s help to evacuate to Lithuania, where they are pursuing their Torah studies as they did formerly. Unfortunately, about two hundred students are still in Warsaw and Otvotzk, and their mental and material suffering is simply indescribable.

I therefore address a heartfelt appeal to all lovers of Torah in America – not to let the world-famed Torah institution called Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch founder, G‑d forbid. A rescue fund must be founded to enable the evacuation of all the students of the central yeshivah from Poland, together with their mashgichim and mashpi’im. That opportunity still exists, and it must not be missed.

I appeal to the Jewish press to launch an emergency campaign for the benefit of the Lubavitcher yeshivos, and to urge the American Jewish community at large to contribute, from the breadth of their Jewish hearts, in order to save them from collapse, G‑d forbid. Contributions should be forwarded to the offices of the Jewish press, or directly to Agudas Chabad, and made out to Tomchei Temimim, 280 East Broadway, NY.

Hopefully, with G‑d’s help, my appeal will resonate in the hearts of my American brothers, and enable me not only to evacuate the central yeshivos from Otvotzk and Warsaw, but also to bring them, at least partially, to America.

3. In conclusion, this brings me to another point in my program.

We Jews believe that the life of our people is conducted by specific Divine Providence. We believe that the Divine Presence goes into exile, as it were, together with us, and that the Torah likewise suffers throughout all the unsettled wanderings of the Jewish people. This has been fully demonstrated by our people’s history.

For many years, Poland was the Torah-fortress of the Jewish people. Now, after destruction of Poland, that Ark of the Torah is also in ruins. Thus, together with the current exile of Polish Jewry, the Torah too is going into exile, and is now seeking a refuge.

America,3 which G‑d has blessed with peace and tranquility, must now become the Torah center of the Jewish people. Divine Providence has now imposed upon American Jewry the duty of serving not only as the fountain of material support for the Jewish people, but also as its spiritual center. If until now America has enjoyed a golden age that was mainly defined by material criteria, from now on America must blossom spiritually, by becoming the Torah Ark of the Jewish people. Aided by the fresh moral strength of the recently-arrived rabbis, communal activists and Torah scholars, a Torah-fortress must be constructed in America, so that “the Torah should not be forgotten by the Jewish people.”4 At a time when Europe’s Torah-well is being emptied and dried out, G‑d forbid, let us provide ourselves with our own Torah-well – the wellspring on which the very life of our people depends. Let us establish new yeshivos and chadarim, and fortify religious education in America.

I am prepared to work together with all those who are interested in furthering religious education, and I hope that with G‑d’s help I will find fruitful soil for that work.

On this point I address myself mainly to Agudas HaRabbanim, the Association of American and Canadian Rabbis. To them I extend my hand: Let us join forces to discharge our holy responsibility, which Divine Providence has imposed upon us. And in the merit of the Torah, we will be privileged to behold a complete redemption, speedily, in our own days, Amen.