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My Encounter with the Rebbe

Individuals who met the Rebbe or corresponded with him tell of the experiences

Individuals who met the Rebbe in person and corresponded with him tell of experiences that touched them, impacted their lives, and in turn, caused them to inspire others. In their stories, a part of the Rebbe's life story is told.

One Little Apostrophe
Early 1970s
Dr. Velvel Greene was an original participant in NASA’s Exobiology program searching for life on Mars. The Rebbe used to ask him for regular reports on his scientific research.
“Un-expert” Advice
1970
Dr. Velvl Greene is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and Public Health at Ben Gurion University. An original participant in NASA’s Exobiology program, he served as Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at the University of Minnesota for 27 years.
Lone Voice
1985
Dr. David Luchins served on the staff of US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan for twenty years. He reveals the Rebbe’s influence in bringing down the Iron Curtain.
Worthy of Respect
1985
Rabbi Sholom Ber Lipskar is executive director of the Aleph Institute, which services the religious needs of Jewish men and women in prison. In 1985, they brought a group of prisoners to spend a weekend in Crown Heights, where they attended the Rebbe’s Shabbos Farbrengen.
A Parent Feels
Video | 5:16
A Parent Feels
1973
In 1973, Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan was called upon by the Rebbe to help a teenager at risk. He shares a touching letter that the youth received from the Rebbe.
Benjamin Netanyahu
1984 – 1994
Former Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu shares some of the personal experiences he had with the Rebbe during his tenure as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
Choosing a Thesis
Video | 3:19
Choosing a Thesis
circa 1977
Dr. Susan Handelman is Professor of English Literature at Bar Ilan University in Israel. Trying to decide on a topic for her doctoral thesis, she decided to ask the Rebbe’s opinion.
Department of Military Intelligence
mid-1970s
Mr. Aaron Noach Blasbalg was a member of the board of Poalei Agudat Israel for 25 years. He recalls a fascinating private audience he and his colleagues had with the Rebbe.
A Friend's Memory
Video | 2:37
A Friend's Memory
1977
Efraim Steinmetz's father knew the Rebbe in Paris during the 1930s.
Consistency
Video | 5:53
Consistency
early 1960s
Rabbi Ephraim Sturm served as Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council of Young Israel from 1956 to 1992. In the early 1960s, he read an alarming statistic about the assimilation rate of Jewish Orthodox students in American colleges.
“Cookies and Milk”
Late 1950s
Robert Steingut shares a heartwarming childhood account, of what it was like to be the Rebbe’s neighbor.
“You’re Related to the Lubavitcher Rebbe?”
Paris, France • 1930s
David Bezborodko was a businessman from a non-Chassidic family, who directed his family’s glass and mirror factory in Paris.
“He'll Find a Way”
Paris - 1939
With Germany about to invade France, Asher Heber’s father was unsure whether to escape Paris with his family and leave behind their well-established life. When he consulted the Rebbe for his opinion, the Rebbe suggested some seemingly impossible advice...
A Long-Term Investment
1955
Dr. David Luchins' family joined the Tzemach Tzedek Synagogue in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, around 1910. In 1955, when the neighborhood changed, the property was sold for a large sum. The Rebbe was asked where the money should be spent.
Behind the Miracle
1968
After the first El Al plane was hijacked to Algiers, the story began to circulate of the Rebbe’s advice to Ariel Sharon not to board that flight. Rabbi Zev Segal decided to corroborate the story with the Rebbe himself.
Only the Doctors Knew
Diane Abrams
Diane Abrams is an attorney in New York City. Like many before her, the Rebbe gave her a blessing for a child, and it was fulfilled. Like many before her, her meetings with the Rebbe broke many stereotypes and expectations.
Purim in Berlin
Video | 4:46
Purim in Berlin
Berlin, Germany circa 1930
Rabbi Chaim Ciment shares a few stories he heard from Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik about his days together with the Rebbe in Berlin.
Chassidism in not Asceticism
The “Professor” - 1963, 1967
Dr. Yaacov Hanoka relates how the Rebbe guided him when he first left college and began studying in the Lubavitch Yeshivah
No Child Left Behind
1956 - 1961
As a rabbinic student at 770, Rabbi Aaron Cousin joined his colleagues in working under the New York State "Released time" program, which allows Public School students to receive religious instruction.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
circa 1969
Dr. David Luchins served on the staff of US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan for twenty years. In 1983, he attended a retirement party for Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm of Crown Heights, where she revealed the identity of a most important mentor.
My Job Description
mid-1950s
Dr. Yitzchak Block is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. In the mid-1950s, he accompanied a group of college students to a private audience with the Rebbe.
He Meant Business
Video | 4:40
He Meant Business
circa 1968
Dov Zlotnik, Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the Conservative Movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, once delivered a sermon on the importance of Family Purity. As he was to discover, for the Rebbe, a good sermon requires a great ending…
A Nation that Dwells Alone
1972
Yitzchak Rabin was Prime Minister of Israel, and served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States in the early 1970s. In 1972, he was sent to convey Israel’s blessings to the Rebbe in honor of his 70th birthday.
“The Little Lantern”
circa 1909
Efraim Steinmetz is a businessman from Caracas, Venezuela. He and his wife came to the Rebbe with concerns about their children’s Jewish education. The Rebbe answered with a story from his own childhood.
He Didn’t Change
Berlin, Germany – circa 1928
While living in Berlin, the Rebbe made the acquaintance of a Jewish businessman named Yitzchok Meir Ferstenberg. Rabbi Chazkel Besser of Agudas Yisrael of America later heard these recollections from Yitzchok Meir.
The King and the Pawn
1940s
Rabbi Leibel Posner was a student at 770 during the 1940s, and would attend the Rebbe’s monthly Shabbos-Mevorchim Farbrengen. An illuminating lesson in the game of life.
Yona Kese,
Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine - 1921
Yona Kese grew up in Dnepropetrovsk at the same time the Rebbe was there. He was a writer, who later became a member in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.
Shaar Yashuv Cohen
Luga, Russia - 1927
In 1927, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, was arrested in Leningrad for counterrevolutionary activity – spreading religion. Shortly thereafter Rabbi Menachem Mendel, his son-in-law to be, was forced into hiding. Shaar Yashuv Cohen is the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel.
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.
Rosh Hashanah, 1941
Rabbi Zalman Posner was a young yeshivah student when the Rebbe arrived in the United States in 1941. He describes an event early in the Rebbe’s presence on these shores, which was truly characteristic of the Rebbe.
Rabbi Yisroel Gordon
Warsaw, Poland—1928
Rabbi Yochanan Gordon traveled from Dokshitz, Russia, to the Rebbe’s wedding in Warsaw. His son, Rabbi Yisroel Gordon, recalls his father’s reports of the wedding.
Rabbi Moshe Gerlitzky
Otwock, Poland - 1931
Every year, from Berlin, and later from Paris, the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin would visit her father, the Previous Rebbe, for the festive month of Tishrei. Rabbi Moshe Gerlitzky was a student in the Lubavitch Yeshiva at that time.
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