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Ninety Years Later: A Different Kind of Guest

“Shneerson! We have guests!”

It happened on the night of the 15th of Sivan in 5687 – the night when the Frierdiker Rebbe was arrested. In the middle of the night, the dreaded G.P.U. officers burst into the Rebbe’s house on Machovaya St. in Leningrad. By hashgacha pratis, the Frierdiker Rebbe’s son in law – our Rebbe – was not home just then. Yevsektzia members Mr. Nachmanson and Mr. Lulav place guards in all the doorways and rooms. Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka swiftly takes action and through the open window manages to relay the message to our Rebbe, who had been on his way to their home: “Shneerson! We have guests!…”

The Rebbe immediately turned on his heels and set into motion a chain of events that would ultimately lead to the redemption of the Frierdiker Rebbe and the holy manuscripts.

Thus began the saga of the arrest and liberation, whose fruits, and impact, we continue to witness to this very day.

Precisely during these days, as we commemorate ninety years since these events, the village of Lubavitch welcomed a completely different sort of guests. On Wednesday, the 18th of Tammuz, the Governor General of Smolensk Region, accompanied by the District Director of Rudnia, as well as other important government members, came for an official visit to Lubavitch.

The important delegation was welcomed by Rabbi Alexander Boroda, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, Shliach Rabbi Gavriel Gordon, who oversees the upkeep and maintenance of the Holy places in Lubavitch, and Mr. Boruch Bentzion Gorowitz, one of the distinguished layleaders of Moscow’s Jewish Community.

The delegation began by visiting the communal gravesite where 483 Jews of Lubavitch were murdered by the Nazis ym”s. Then they visited the holy resting places of the Rebbe Tzemach Tzedek and the Rebbe Maharash, where they all prayed emotionally for the well-being  and success of all of the region’s residents.

The Governor General received an historical briefing, as well as a short update about the Old Jewish Cemetery in Lubavitch from Rabbi Gordon. He closely examined the work that had been done to conserve and restore the historical sites that are holy to the Jewish people, and to Chabad Chasidim in particular.

At the end of his visit, the Governor General was presented with a special gift. A Russian atlas that had recently been published for children, which inludes mention of the village of Lubavitch, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and Chabad Chassidus!

The Governor General thanked Rabbi Boroda and Rabbi Gordon for the special visit, and immediately instructed his staff members to help Lubavitch in any way that they can.

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