June 20, 2014 at 3:29 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - More than 500 Jews from across the Garden State are expected to turn out on Monday, June 23, to commemorate the life of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, who passed away 20 years ago this month.
The community-wide event will be held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange beginning at 7:30 p.m., and is being sponsored by the Rabbinical College of America and the Chabad shluchim (emissaries) of New Jersey. Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, who has led the modern Orthodox institution for more than 10 years, will deliver the evening’s keynote address.
“The Rebbe’s 20th yahrzeit is a time that we can, and should, draw a lot of inspiration as we continue to carry out his teachings and visions for a better world, “ says Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College of America. “Gathering together in unity is the best tribute to the Rebbe’s legacy.”
The seventh leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, the Rebbe was born in 1902 in Nikolaev, Russia. He took over as the group’s spiritual leader in 1950 after the passing of his father-in-law, the sixth Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson.
The Rebbe suffered a severe stroke in 1992 and he passed away two years later, in 1994, on the Hebrew date of Gimmel Tammuz, which this year falls out onTuesday, July 1.
Throughout his life, the Rebbe focused on reaching out to Jews throughout the world, regardless of their background or religious practice. He stressed that every Jew had a spark in his soul that was waiting to be rekindled.
“The Rebbe’s life was entirely dedicated to the Jewish people, as well as to creating a better and kinder general society,” says Rabbi Herson, noting that attending the June 23 program is a great way to honor the Rebbe’s legacy.