There's much that American Jews today take for granted, making the Jewish experience a comfortable and familiar one. It wasn't always this way.
In this feature, Lubavitch.com brings readers a look at some of the early press releases issued by Lubavitch News Service on behalf of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Many of the press releases announce the launching of a new educational initiative or a mitzvah campaign that offer a glimpse into a different milieu, and help us appreciate just how far the Jewish American experience has progressed.
New York (LNS) May 4, 1977
“The summer vacation period should be utilized for fortifying and expanding the Jewish education of children,” said the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
In his public appearances before, during and after the Shavuot holiday, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, repeatedly called upon Jews to foster Ahavat Yisroel (love of fellow Jew) and to get involved in advancing the Jewish education of young Jews.
“During the summer months when children are not restricted to school discipline and are less inhibited by their secular studies, it is an excellent time to give them every opportunity to attend an overnight camp, or at least a day camp, which is administered by a staff who treasure the Torah-true way of life, and that together with their regular recreational activities time be set aside each day for Jewish educational study and instruction. This summer experience could imbue the young boy or girl with the necessary warmth and vitality of Yiddishkeit which would remain with them for the rest of the summer and the year to come,” the Rebbe said.
In his address to some 2,000 women gathered at Lubavitch World Headquarters for their annual convention the Rebbe spoke of the primary role of the Jewish woman in Jewish life, and of the Biblical command to Moshe Rabbeinu prior to receiving the Torah, that he first speak to the women about the Torah and afterward to the men. The Rebbe quoted the Midrash which relates that only after the Jewish people pledged that their children would be the guarantors that the Torah would be cherished and observed did G-d consent to give the Torah to the Jewish people.
The Rebbe said that it was by far and away the woman’s obligation and privilege to raise and influence her children in the light and warmth of Torah.
The Rebbe said that parents always want to provide greater opportunity for their children than they themselves may have had as youngsters.
“We find the prevailing mood,” the Rebbe said, “that parents who have not been blessed with a proper Jewish upbringing themselves desire to provide their children with every opportunity to learn about the Torah-true way of life. In many instances, though, parents do not know to whom to turn and how to go about arranging these opportunities. Every parent should be sought out and provided with the wherewithal necessary for the best Jewish education of their children,” the Rebbe said.