George Rohr is a prominent businessman and longtime supporter of Chabad-Lubavitch who enjoyed a special relationship with the Rebbe.

While standing in line with people requesting the Rebbe's blessings before Yom Kippur, he prepared for the Rebbe a gift of good news to balance the endless stream of requests about pain and suffering that people bombarded the Rebbe with.

When his turn came, he told the Rebbe that on Rosh Hashanah he had organized a beginners' service in his synagogue for more than 130 Jews who had no Jewish background.

"What?" the Rebbe asked, looking at Rohr intently.

Assuming the Rebbe did not hear everything he said, Rohr repeated himself.

"No Jewish background?" asked the Rebbe

"Go back and tell them that they have a background. They are the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah!"

Whereupon the Rebbe's smile returned.

During the 1960s, the Rebbe sent several chassidim to Russia as tourists. In some cities, they would have clandestine meetings with members of the chassidic underground. In other places, however, such meetings were too dangerous. Nevertheless, the Rebbe instructed his emissaries to pass through these cities and stop at the synagogues and places of Jewish interest.

Years later, after being able to leave Russia, one of the courageous Jews who had struggled to keep Judaism alive in his family and community under communist rule explained how important those visits were.

"In our city," he explained, "none of us had a chance to speak to ever meet with any of the Rebbe's emissaries. It was simply too dangerous. In fact, it was usually not until months after they had passed through our city that we knew for sure that it was the Rebbe who had sent him. Nevertheless, their visits had a tremendous effect on us.

"The Russian government had begun a campaign to try to demoralize us. From time to time, it would call in members of our community and show them headlines from American Jewish newspapers and magazines which spoke of assimilation and intermarriage. 'Your faith is doomed to extinction,' they told us. 'In Europe, your brethren have been wiped out and in America, they have forgotten their heritage. Why must you be so stubborn in your observance? Why make things so difficult for yourselves?'

"And their words had an effect. Not that we believed them totally. But still, when you read an American Yiddish newspaper that speaks of 'the vanishing American Jew,' you become disheartened.

"And suddenly we saw evidence that it was not all that dark in America. There was a young American wearing a kipah and tzitzit and sporting a full beard! It reinforced our faith in the future."

In 1974 the Rebbe launched his famous Shabbat candle lighting campaign to encourage every Jewish woman and girl to light Shabbat candles. As part of the campaign, the Lubavitch Women's Organization organized a series of radio ads encouraging women and girls to fulfill this mitzvah. Because federal law required that every ad have a commercial aspect, the ads mentioned that if the listeners sent one dollar to the candlelighting division of the Lubavitch Women's Organization at 770 Eastern Parkway, they would be sent a special set of Shabbat candle holders.

Thousands of these holders were distributed. At times, people would err, and instead of addressing their letters to the Lubavitch Women's Organization, they would address them directly to the Rebbe (whose office is at that address).

On one occasion, a woman living on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn wrote to ask for the Shabbat candle holders. She, too, addressed her letter to the Rebbe. The Rebbe received the letter in the Friday mail. On Friday afternoon, he had his secretary, Rabbi Binyomin Klein, call Mrs. Esther Sternberg (who ran the Shabbat candle campaign) and ask her to see to it that this woman had the opportunity to light Shabbat candles that very Friday.

Mrs. Sternberg is not one to take a request from the Rebbe lightly. With 45 minutes left before the start of Shabbat (once Shabbat has begun, the Shjabbat candles can no longer be lit), she tried to get the woman's phone number, but was told it was unlisted. Then, noting that the woman's address was not far away, she resolved to deliver the candle holders personally. If the woman was not home, she would leave them with a neighbor.

Taking two of her daughters along, Mrs. Sternberg drove (flew!) to the woman's apartment. She rang the bell and knocked several times, but there was no answer. She tried several of the neighbors' apartments, but they too did not answer. Finally, a woman from an apartment down the hall replied that, yes, she knew the woman who had asked for the candle holders. She was an elderly lady, said the neighbor, and hard of hearing. That's probably why she had not answered her bell; she hadn't heard it ringing.

And so Mrs. Sternberg, her two daughters, and the neighbor all knocked hard on the woman's door. Eventually, an elderly Jewish lady answered. She was grateful to see visitors, and even more grateful when she found that she would be able to light Shabbat candles that week.

Mrs. Sternberg was happy to give the woman the candle holders, but couldn't help wondering: The woman seemed sincerely committed to the mitzvah; why then hadn't she lit candles before? "Don't you have candle holders of your own?" she asked.

"Of course I have Shabbat candles," the woman told Mrs. Sternberg, taking her into her kitchen and showing her a large silver candelabra on top of one of the cabinets. "But when my children moved me here," she explained, "they put my candelabra up there. Neither I nor any of my neighbors can reach it! That's why I haven't been able to light." (Apparently, this woman mistakenly thought that Shabbat candles need to be lit in a ritual candelabra.)

One of Mrs. Sternberg's daughters climbed up and brought down the woman's candlesticks. And Mrs. Sternberg was able to report to the Rebbe that the woman welcomed the Shabbat into her home by lighting candles in her own candelabra that very Friday.