In this enlightening biography, Joseph Telushkin offers a captivating portrait of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a towering figure who saw beyond conventional boundaries to turn his movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, into one of the most dynamic and widespread organizations ever seen in the Jewish world. At once an incisive work of history and a compendium of Rabbi Schneerson's teachings, Rebbe is the definitive guide to understanding one of the most vital, intriguing figures of the last centuries.
From his modest headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Rebbe advised some of the world's greatest leaders and shaped matters of state and society. Statesmen and artists as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Elie Wiesel, and Bob Dylan span the spectrum of those who sought his counsel. Rebbe explores Schneerson's overarching philosophies against the backdrop of treacherous history, revealing his clandestine operations to rescue and sustain Jews in the Soviet Union, and his critical role in the expansion of the food stamp program throughout the United States. More broadly, it examines how he became in effect an ambassador for Jews globally, and how he came to be viewed by many as not only a spiritual archetype but a savior. Telushkin also delves deep into the more controversial aspects of the Rebbe's leadership, analyzing his views on modern science and territorial compromise in Israel, and how in the last years of his life, many of his followers believed that he would soon be revealed as the Messiah, a source of contention until this day.
By the end of 1942, 1.4 million Jews had been killed by the Einsatzgruppen that followed the German army eastward; by the end of the war, nearly two million had been murdered in Russia and Eastern Europe. Of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, about one-third fell in the territories of the USSR. The single most important text documenting that slaughter is The Black Book, compiled by two renowned Russian authors Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman. Until now, The Black Book was only available in English in truncated editions. Because of its profound significance, this new and definitive English translation of The Complete Black Book of Russian Jewry is a major literary and intellectual event.
From the time of the outbreak of the war, Ehrenburg and Grossman collected the eyewitness testimonies that went into The Black Book. As early as 1943 they were planning its publication; the first edition appeared in 1944. During the years immediately after the war, Grossman assisted Ehrenburg in compiling additional materials for a second edition, which appeared in 1946 (in English as well as Russian).
Since the fall of the Soviet regime, Irina Ehrenburg, the daughter of Ilya Ehrenburg, has recovered the lost portions of the manuscript sent to Yad Vashem. The texts recovered by Ms. Ehrenburg include numerous documents that had been censored from the original manuscript, as well as items that had been hidden by the Grossman family. In addition, she verified and, where appropriate, corrected the accuracy of documents that had already appeared in earlier editions of The Black Book.