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The Life and Times of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson

A collection of first-hand accounts, stories, and even the Rebbetzin’s personal diary chronicling Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s valiant struggle to maintain Jewish life under Soviet oppression.

Biography of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak
Lubavitcher Rebbe's father
Discover the life and times of a humble giant who put his life on the line, refusing to be silenced the Stalinist regime.
Rebbetzin Chana's Memoirs
Read the diary of the woman who shared Rabbi Yitzchak’s life. These personal entries paint a vivid picture of the valiant struggle to strengthen Judaism in the face of the harshest oppression.
Uniting Body with Soul
The Life and Writings of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson—Part One
To study the writings of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, is to realize that his entire life was an extended meditation on the mysterious entanglement of body and soul . . .
Strength in the Soviet Shadow
The Life and Writings of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson—Part Two
This article covers the life and rabbinic leadership of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson in Yekaterinoslav-Dnipropetrovsk during the first decade of the Bolshevik regime.
11 Facts to Know About Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson
Learn the life story of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the Rebbe’s father, through images and short facts.
Start Off on a High Note!
All chassidim, young and old, and of every inclination, are swept up in the euphoric, dramatic, joyous uplift of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s lively chassidic dance tune, “Nigun Hakafot.”
A Tenth Man for the Minyan
It was necessary to get people that could be relied upon to keep a secret. Within half an hour, the room held nine men. Only one was missing, a tenth man for the minyan. What did the rabbi do?
The Soviet Government’s Kosher Certification
When the Soviet government nationalized the mill, they well knew that the Jews would not buy flour without the supervision of a recognized rabbi, so Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was asked to certify that the flour was kosher.
A Story of Reb Yosef Nemotin
Throughout the years, Reb Yosef took care of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s gravesite. He’d visit, clear the weeds, and sit there reciting Psalms, often wondering sadly why the Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s son, never came to visit.
Chaf Av: The Sukkah as Eiruv
Letters from Yekaterinoslav: Uniting the Facets of Torah
As the climate in Berlin became increasingly anti-Semitic, Rabbi Menachem Mendel and his wife decided to move to Paris.
Children, Be Strong!
In 1939, the Rebbe’s father was exiled by the Soviet government to a remote region of Kazakhstan. At the end of his sentence, he and his wife traveled to the closest large city, Almaty, Kazakhstan. Leibel Raskin and his family were there to greet and assist them upon their arrival.
Making Ink From Grass!
Farbrengen, 6 Tishrei, 5742 • October 4, 1981
After the passing of his mother, Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, in 1964, the Rebbe began holding a farbrengen, chassidic gathering and public address, on the date of her yahrzeit. This gathering would be dedicated to her legacy, and to the mission of the Jewish woman.
Unwavering Jewish Courage
6 Tishrei, 5750 • October 5, 1989
The Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, was the Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, at a time when Jewish leaders were persecuted for preserving Judaism. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, however, was defiant; publicly declaring that he would not be coerced into submission.
“My Father Stood Up to the Soviets”
The Rebbe speaks on 20 Av, the anniversary of his father's passing.
My father served as chief rabbi of Dnipropetrovsk, a major city in Ukraine, which supplied wheat to large parts of Russia. When the time came to prepare flour for matzah, people flocked from the surrounding areas seeking flour that was certified kosher for Passover.
You Will Survive
Video | 4:21
You Will Survive
Mr. Israel Adamski grew up in Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and attended underground Torah classes taught by the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson. Here, he recalls Reb Levik’s prophetic words to him shortly before the outbreak of World War II.
A Jew Just Like You
Mr. Israel Adamski lived in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, where Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, the Rebbe’s father, served as rabbi. He recalls Rabbi Levi Yitzchok performing an underground wedding, and inviting a communist informant to be the tenth man. (Late 1930’s)
Giving of Oneself
Video | 8:07
Giving of Oneself
Learning from R’ Levi Yitzchok Schneerson’s Self-Sacrifice in Soviet Russia
The Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, whose passing is marked on the 20th of Av, was imprisoned and exiled to Kazakhstan for his stance against Soviet efforts to uproot Jewish learning and practice.
Reb Yitzchok the Schochet
Rabbi Mordechai Goldschmid’s father, Reb Nochum, grew up with the Rebbe in Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine. His grandfather, Reb Yitzchok, was the local Shochet.
The Schneerson Resolve
Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi’s cousin, Reb Nochum Goldshmidt, was close with the Rebbe’s family when they lived in Dnepropretrovsk, Ukraine. Rabbi Ashkenazi recounts a story he heard from Reb Nochum about the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson.
Chana Shapiro
Video | 2:04
Chana Shapiro
Dnepropetrovsk, 1909
In 1909, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, Rebbetzin Chana and their three sons moved to Dnepropetrovsk, a huge military city 520 kilometers from Kiev, where Rabbi Levi Yitzchok became the rabbi of the city’s 25 synagogues and 50,000 Jews. He turned to Rabbi Zalman Vilenkin, asking him to teach his sons. Chana Shapiro is Rabbi Vilenkin’s daughter, recalling her parents’ descriptions of the children in their home.
Saying Thank You
Video | 6:39
Saying Thank You
Mr. Evsey Neymotin recalls his father’s efforts in assisting Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, the Rebbe’s parents, when they arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as well as the Rebbe’s expressions of gratitude when the Neymotins arrived in the United States many decades later.
The Exiled Rabbi and the Executed Poet: A Soviet Jewish Story
A telling interaction between Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson and Peretz Markish during the height of Stalinist terror
The Rebbe's Family and Ours: A History of Devotion
Their first meeting, which was supposed to be just an introductory encounter, lasted seven hours, and went well into the night
Childhood Memories From Dnepropetrovsk
The account of Dina Sharinov (1923-2009), a childhood neighbor of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson.
Q&A: The Surviving Torah Teachings of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak
What has been published is only a small fraction of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s writings.
The KGB’s Belated Apology for the Persecution and Death of the Rebbe’s Father
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson passed away in Soviet exile on 20 Av, 1944
From Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan
A Visit to R’ Levi Yitzchak’s Resting Place
Shortly after visiting R' Levi Yitzchak's resting place, my friends were blessed with the birth of a healthy child.
A mystic and scholar, he wrote commentaries on the most esoteric texts. As rabbi of a major Ukrainian city, he struggled valiantly to strengthen Judaism, in spite of Soviet intimidation.