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 Menachem Mendel “The Rebbe” Schneerson

Menachem Mendel “The Rebbe” Schneerson

Birth
Ukraine
Death 12 Jun 1994 (aged 92)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Springfield Gardens, Queens County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 5919 · View Source
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Religious Leader. Born in what is today Mikolaiv, Ukraine, he was the son of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the Chief Rabbi of Yekaterinoslav. His family belonged to the Chabad-Lubavitch Hassidic movement, which had originated in Russia in the late eighteenth century. At the age of sixteen he enrolled in Yekaterinoslav University to study mathematics. During this same time period, he continued to receive educational and religious instruction from his father, studying such subjects as Talmud, Kabbalah, rabbinical literature and commentaries, and mysticism. He was ordained as a rabbi by Rabbi Yosen Rosen, who was known as the Rogatchover Gaon. He then lived in Berlin, Germany with his wife, where both had been living for the last several years, and studying philosophy and mathematics in the University of Berlin. The couple fled to Paris, France in 1933 after the Nazi takeover. Schneerson was reputed to have enrolled in the Sorbonne, though the records show only that he was enrolled in a technical college in the Montparnasse district, where he received a degree and license in electrical engineering. After the Nazis invaded France in 1941, he and his wife escaped to the United States on the "Sera Pinto", which turned out to be the final boat which was allowed to make a transatlantic voyage before the U-boat blockade went into effect and prohibited any further overseas travel. In America, they settled in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York City, New York and lived with Schneerson's father-in-law, who had arrived in the United States in March of 1940. In 1942, his father-in-law appointed him the director of the Lubavitch movement's central organizations, among them a new group aimed at outreach and improving education. He also worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard during his early years in New York. After the death of his father-in-law in 1950, he was chosen by an overwhelming majority of Lubavitchers to become their new Rebbe, although at first he was very hesitant about leading the entire movement and trying to take the place of his father-in-law, whom he had revered. Following his ascent to this new leadership role, he began aggressively promoting the outreach movement. He believed that his followers should not only focus their attentions on getting other Lubavitchers to be more observant, but also on Jews of all denominations, even very secular ones. As part of this outreach campaign, he made it a priority to train thousands of young Chabad rabbis, as well as their wives, to go all over the world, not just across the United States, to create Jewish communities even in areas where there previously hadn't been any, and to try to bring the people in pre-existing Jewish communities in these far-away places closer to their heritage. In his work for outreach, he also introduced what he called "mitzvah campaigns," something which at first shocked some of the members of the Lubavitch establishment because of how public he was making the observance of these mitzvot, or religious commandments. Previously their observance had been considered a private thing, not something done so publicly and openly. Among the mitzvot he stressed in these campaigns were keeping kosher, lighting Sabbath candles, laying tefillin (phylacteries), and observing the laws of taharat hamishpacha (family purity). Education was also a high priority for Schneerson, particularly women's and girl's education. Under his leadership, Lubavitcher girls and women received a greater, more progressive, and more comprehensive level of education than they had in generations past. His work for education eventually earned an annual proclamation by the government of the United States and a few other governments that his birthday was to be designated as Education and Sharing Day. After his wife passed away in 1988, he moved his headquarters to 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, a residence which quickly earned the title "770." Schneerson held court here around the clock, constantly seeing and speaking with people who wanted his blessings, advice, or guidance. Thousands of people met with him over the years, many times having to wait a long time in line for their turn. In 1977, he had a heart attack, but because he didn't want to go to the hospital, a mini-hospital was built in 770. Even though he couldn't make any public appearances for the next few weeks, he continued to give speeches via an intercom. In 1983, the Congress declared his birthday as Education Day USA and awarded to him the National Scroll of honor. He passed away at the age of ninety-two, following a stroke he had suffered two years earlier. On November 2, 1994, both the Congress and House of Representatives posthumously awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal.

Bio by: Carrie-Anne


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Jul 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5919
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Menachem Mendel “The Rebbe” Schneerson (14 Apr 1902–12 Jun 1994), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5919, citing Montefiore Cemetery, Springfield Gardens, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .