“He was a leader of the entire generation. He established the direction for all, whether they know it or not. He set the agenda and defined the priorities for Klal Yisrael – the entire Jewish community.”

—Rabbi Adin Even Yisrael (Steinsaltz)

With deep spiritual passion and keen vision, the Rebbe stirred the conscience of world Jewry.

Undeterred by the shock of the Holocaust, defying the grim prognosis for Jewish survival in the modern age, the Rebbe launched a sweeping effort to foster Torah and Judaism in all corners of the globe.

Decades before the JewishHis innovations are so ingrained in Jewish life they are taken for granted community realized the need to do so the Rebbe called upon rabbis, Jewish leaders, teachers and individuals of all stripes, to reach out to the youth and the unaffiliated. By the time the Jewish community came to grips with the true dangers of our times, the Rebbe had long since set the agenda and had innovated the methodology for conducting broad-based outreach.

Today’s buzzwords – “Jewish renaissance,” “continuity,” “education,” “outreach” and “mitzvah experiences” – have been part of the Rebbe’s program for decades. Indeed, his innovations are so ingrained in Jewish life they are taken for granted and not identified as Lubavitch in origin.

The Rebbe inspired the entire palate of Jewish activism to reach out and embrace unaffiliated Jews and offer them an appreciation for the beauty of Torah and their heritage. Now, virtually every segment of the established Jewish community has adopted his call of reaching out to those not yet learned in Torah. After fifty years, the entire spectrum of the Jewish community recognizes the truth and urgent necessity of this call.

In a century that saw two World Wars, the rise and fall of Communism, mass emigration of the Jewish people to America, the establishment of the State of Israel, the space age, the computer age, and an information revolution, the Rebbe’s vision remained steady and constant.

The Front Page of the Times

Chasidic tradition, originating from the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement, says that Moshiach (Messiah) will come when the wellsprings of Chasidism will overflow and spread to “the outside.” When the Rebbe first came to America in the early 1940s, he hypothesized, “the announcement of a new class in Chasidism will make headlines in The New York Times” as an illustration of this concept.

At the time the Rebbe said this, the murder ofTraditional Judaism did not seem to have any future in America millions of Jews barely made it to the back pages of The Times. It was a time when traditional Judaism, let alone Chasidism, did not seem to have any future in America.

Sixty years later, no one is amazed when Moshiach makes the front page of the The Wall Street Journal; when books of Chasidic teachings are reviewed in major newspapers; and when The New York Times, in its bicentennial edition, publishes an imaginary front page for the January 1, 2100 issue that includes an announcement of the Shabbat candle lighting on that day, a Friday, 100 years hence.

Defying “reality” and the toll of the Holocaust, the Rebbe envisioned the ultimate fulfillment of a world that accommodates and serves the purpose for which it was created. For him, it was right before his eyes.