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April 10, 1992 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-04-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS)

The Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah

Cordially invites you to its

75th Anniversary
Celebration

At 90, The Rebbe's
Influence Is Growing

An impressive mix of Jewish and
national leaders paid tribute to the
Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Featuring author

JUDITH VIORST

speaking on

"What is a Grownup?"

7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 28, 1992

Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses
5075 W. Maple Rd. • West Bloomfield

A Dessert Reception will follow.

Mrs. Viorst's books will be available for sale and autographing.

Contributor $5
Sponsor $50
— Community Invited —
Reservations a MUST, call Hadassah at 683-5030 or 357-2920

Patron $100

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T

he man of the hour
wasn't there, of
course. (He hasn't left
New York since arriving
from Europe more than 50
years ago.) But his presence
was palpable to a large and
diverse crowd of his
Chasidim (disciples) and ad-
mirers from throughout the
United States at a dinner
celebration in Washington
Tuesday evening, marking
the 90th birthday of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Menachem Schneerson.
The atmosphere was an
almost surreal mixture of a
religious service and a na-
tional political convention as
a rabbi led the 800 assembl-
ed in reciting Psalm 90, first
in Hebrew and then in Eng-
lish, for the health of the
Rebbe, then announced the
names of more than a dozen
U.S. senators in the room.
Amidst a sea of black hats
of Lubavitch representatives
from all 50 states, there was
Sen. Joseph Lieberman,
D-Ct., leading the hamotzi,
prayer on bread, in Hebrew,
Sen. Daniel Moynihan,
D-N.Y., sporting a blue silk
yarmulke, and Sen. Orrin
Hatch, R-Utah, a Mormon,
shmoozing with two long-
bearded rabbis.
Why was the celebration
being held a week before the
Rebbe's actual birthday?
Was it because April 14 is
only three days before
Passover? "No, it's because
Congress is not in session
next Tuesday," a Lubavitch
emissary explained with a
smile, symbolizing the
movement's ability to blend
religious dedication and po-
litical pragmatism.
Elie Wiesel, the Nobel
Peace laureate and featured
speaker, told the audience
that if he could harness the
passions "within this room
for the Rebbe," he would be
transported to seventh
heaven. He praised the
Rebbe as a great leader
whose impact has been pro-
found, not only on those who
have met him and his
followers around the world,
but even on those who have
never heard of him.
Mr. Wiesel closed his
remarks by leading the

assembled in a toast to the
Rebbe's health. "Imagine we
are at 770 (the Eastern
Parkway address in
Brooklyn of Lubavitch world
headquarters) and we say,
with more vigor, `Iichaim,
Rebbe.' "
The scope and depth of the
movement were underscored
by the number of U.S. sena-
tors and Jewish leaders in
attendance at the Grand
Hyatt Hotel, paying tribute
to the Rebbe, who in recent
years has been portrayed by
his followers as the most
likely candidate to be the
Messiah.
There was little direct talk
of Messiah at the gala, but
the Rebbe was portrayed, by
speakers as diverse as Mr.
Wiesel and Sen. Al
D'Amato, R-N.Y., as a man
of almost superhuman
powers.
Mr. Wiesel, who noted that
he is a Chasid of the
Vishnitzer Rebbe, described
Rabbi Schneerson as a man
of greatness who cares about
each Jew. "Thanks to the
Rebbe," he said, "we feel we
belong to an ancient people.
Thanks to the Rebbe, we
become a better Jew and a
better human being."
The writer and Holocaust
survivor said that he first
met privately with the
Rebbe 30 years ago — "a
privileged moment" — and
that he can still recall every
question and answer that
transpired during the long
evening.
"Time in his presence runs
at a different pace," he said.
"You feel self-examined.
Nothing is superficial or ar-
tificial. You come closer to
your inner center of grav-
ity."
Sen. D'Amato, in his brief
remarks, noted that "one of
the few things that Repub-
lican and Democrats in the
Senate can agree on is ad-
miration for the works of our
Grand Rabbi." He noted that
if Americans could emulate
the Rebbe's message of edu-
cation, tolerance and per-
forming good deeds, the
country would be better off.
And he wished the Rebbe
"many years of health —
may he be with us always."
A joint resolution of Con-
g•ess, praising the Rebbe on
the occasion of his birthday,
was on display on the

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