My first private audience with the Rebbe, of righteous memory, was on June 1st, 1965. I made plans to go with Rabbi Vogel to New York, and on his advice, prepared in advance a seven-page memorandum, giving my personal background, business activities and my involvement with Lubavitch.

In particular I wrote that although stressing my regard and respect for the leading personalities of Lubavitch in London, it seemed natural to enquire more deeply into the organization, and I became aware of some of the organizational issues. Most of them were due to the lack of administration experience, causing that there was no advance planning, resulting in considerable diversion of time and energy.

The original Lubavitch House in the 1950's
The original Lubavitch House in the 1950's

I concluded that if it would be the Rebbe's wish to discuss these matters I would be happy to do so

I spent a day or two in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights and in the middle of a Sunday night I was shown into the Rebbe's office, at Lubavitch World Headquarters or as it is known, "770." We shook hands and the Rebbe asked me to sit down, and waited for me to speak.

I explained to the Rebbe that I had learnt many things in my short time at 770, and my memorandum would be very different if written now; to this the Rebbe smiled. I asked what he would prefer to discuss and the Rebbe responded, "As you wish."

After discussing various ways how to better organize Lubavitch House, I brought up other concerns that I felt needed addressing.

At the time, only the salaries of the leadership of Lubavitch of London was in comparison with the commercial levels of salary. The Rebbe agreed that the teachers should also receive the commercial level of salaries, and added that resources necessary for personal self-respect, including a special allowance for entertaining, should be provided for all Lubavitch employees, not just for the top three.

Lubavitch in the 1960's
Lubavitch in the 1960's

"It would be appropriate for the leadership to receive ten to fifteen percent above the others," the Rebbe said, "Teachers should have the same as [the salaries paid] in other establishments—perhaps £1 or £2 more. Even if this will increase the deficit, it is okay."

The Rebbe concluded, that "this initiative should come formally – or even informally – from the lay leaders."

I asked if I have the Rebbe's approval to argue with Rabbi Vogel on budget priorities. The Rebbe, smiling, said, "You have my approval!"

I suggested that the wives could make a much greater contribution if they become more active in Lubavitch activities. "In these matters I believe in Emancipation," the Rebbe responded. However, as they still had young children at the time, "it is more suitable for them to be active in the home rather than outside."

At that time, Lubavitch House building was mostly functioning as a school, the Rebbe felt that with the purchase of an additional building, it should encompass much more. "The proposed new Lubavitch House should not only be a school but a symbol and a centre for as many activities as possible. You should consider creating special divisions, a women's division, a doctors and professionals divisions..."

After that audience I got further involved in implementing the Rebbe's advice, which had proven to be quite good. In a letter from the January 16, 1966, the Rebbe wrote to me, "It has been gratifying to receive reports about your interest and support in the Lubavitcher institutions in London, which I trust will not only remain consistent, but will also grow steadily."