The New York Post featured an extended tribute to the life of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in the paper’s June 7th edition, in honor of his upcoming 20th Yom Hilula early next month. In a feature titled ‘How one rabbi modernized Judaism and began a movement,’ staff writer Gary Buiso explores the life and legacy of the Rebbe, and the movement he led to bring Torah Judaism into the 21st Century.
From the New York Post:
From a spartan basement synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the spiritual leader to tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews across the globe, a man whose counsel was sought by world leaders and rock ’n’ roll icons.
As the grand rabbi, or Rebbe, of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Schneerson was a pioneer — the man who, unlike his forebears, made it his mission to spread Judaism across the globe, dispatching an army of emissaries to help convert, or at least convince, Jews to become more observant.
He was also — some of his followers still believe — the messiah.
But he had no children, so when Schneerson died 20 years ago on June 12 at the age of 92, the group’s seventh grand rabbi also turned out to be the last — there was no consensus who the next leader should be.
The leadership vacuum hasn’t mattered much. Schneerson’s spectre remains as powerful now as when he was alive; the sect has become the largest Jewish religious organization in the world.
At its core, his philosophy was simple. Instead of citing the old Yiddish expression repeated for generations during times of stress that “it’s hard to be a Jew,” Schneerson turned the mindset around — and it caught on:
“It is good to be a Jew.”
Continue reading at the New York Post.