Cleveland, Oh.

Greeting and Blessing:

I just received your letter with enclosure. It was gratifying to read the good news that you succeeded in inducing the Federation to make an initial grant to the Chabad House in your city, thus breaking the ice, as it were, towards moving it to begin supporting Torah—true Chinuch.

I agree with you, of course, that it was advisable to accept its initial commitment, although by far too inadequate, as you also indicate in your letter. However, under the circumstances, the important thing is to have induced it to move in the right direction, and it is to be hoped that before too long, the Federation will gain momentum and increase its support for the vital programs of the Chabad House. There is also the weighty consideration, as you rightly point out, that this move will serve as a pilot program and model for other communities and organizations to emulate.

There is no need to emphasize to you the great Zechut that is yours in bringing about this initial step. I am certain that you will continue to promote and develop it into a more substantial effort. No less effective is your personal commitment and dedication, which must surely inspire others. This is reflected also in the note accompanying your generous check to Machne Israel, to assist in our educational programs. It is very timely indeed in this Year of Chinuch, when we have embarked on a series of new and intensified activities and programs in this vital area. Here, too, I trust that the above is the forerunner of greater things. I have earmarked the check — hopefully with your approval — for the new educational program begun by our Chabad people in Eretz Yisrael.

Here my thoughts turn to the recent miraculous rescue of the hostages from Uganda. One cannot fail to note the extraordinary aspects at both ends of the hijacking. On the one hand, the ease with which the four terrorists hijacked the airbus in Athens, and on the other hand, the extraordinary success of the rescue operation. In other words, both the initial tragedy and eventual deliverance clearly point to the Hand of G‑d. And while every Jew is grateful to, and admires the Mesirat Nefesh1 of the brave rescuers, we must not lose sight for a moment of the warning and lesson at the bottom of it all — not just in regard to the danger of hijacking in the ordinary sense, but even more importantly, in regard to the “spiritual hijacking” of so many of our young generation by alien and freak cultures which, unfortunately, capture so many of our innocent boys and girls in Eretz Yisrael as in the Diaspora. With all the anxiety and love which filled every Jewish heart for those unfortunate hostages at Entebbe Airport — surely no less concern should be shown to the spiritual hostages that are abducted daily, and no less Mesirat Nefesh to save them. It is also particularly painful to contemplate the secularized education of considerable segments of Jewish youth in the land which even the nations of the world recognize as the Holy Land, where one would have reason to expect that all Jewish children would be brought up in an atmosphere of holiness befitting the Holy Land. It is for this reason that our Chabad people in Eretz Yisrael and everywhere else have undertaken special rescue operations in the area of Jewish education.

May the Zechut of your participation in this work stand you in good stead in all your affairs, particularly to have ever more true Nachat from all your near and dear ones.

Last but not least, I was gratified to note that you commemorated your late wife, of blessed memory, by publishing one of our Holy Scriptures, the Book of Ruth, with a commentary, in a way that makes it accessible to those who need Chinuch and inspiration, with selected Midrashim of our Rabbis, our teachers for all generations.

With blessing,