The inspiring story of the leader who rebuilt a dwindling post-holocaust community into the most influential Jewish organization in the world. From a modest synagogue In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the late Rebbe Schneerson impacted the policies of US presidents and congressmen, counseled some of our greatest thinkers, and spread his teachings of love and righteousness to the far corners of the world.
The late Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson was the equivalent of the Pope or the Dalai Lama in the Jewish world. An ambassador for Jews globally, his role was in many ways unprecedented within the fragmented religion, comprised of diverse sects which seldom agree. He was the only rabbi to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, and have a national holiday named in his honor, "e;Education Day"e;. 20 years after his death, his position has yet to be reinstated, due in part to the tremendous admiration felt for him in his community and the high standard he left behind.
A prominent public figure, the Rebbe maintained an intimate personal life, marked by peculiarity. Modesty was a tenant of the Rebbe's teachings, which makes his a particularly elusive life to retell. Now, for the first time ever, the keepers of the Rebbe's private correspondence have granted the author access to these records, revealing insights into the Rebbe's personal life. Among other fascinating details and rituals, the leader used to counsel the members of his congregation individually on his spare time, often hosting them late at night and into the early morning. He was rumored to devour lengthy texts in fractional time. He was fluent in dozens of languages and was an accomplished scholar in mathematics and science, which would later influence some of his more controversial views. Many Jews--especially those involved in Chabad--believed that the Rebbe was the messiah while he was still alive.
The Rebbe transformed an insular community into a vibrant global one. Figures as prominent as John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Green, among others visited the Rebbe during his lifetime, some of whom sought his private counsel. Highly controversial among orthodox circles, he was an advocate for women's rights, education, and keeping an open door to the outside world. The Lubavitcher movement (also known as Chabad) began with a tiny congregation of post-holocaust immigrants in Brooklyn, and under the Rebbe's leadership, grew to 3,600 educational and religious institutions in over 1000 cities worldwide. His teachings of love, education, and respect for fellow man, have become engrained in millions of Jews and non-Jews alike.
Written by one the most beloved and popular Jewish writers of our time, Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe is sure to delight and inspire a range of readers everywhere.