Today is the eightieth anniversary of the safe arrival of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, on the shores of America after escaping from war-torn Europe.
The couple arrived in Staten Island on June 23, 1941 — Sivan 28, 5701. They had spent over a year on the run after fleeing Nazi-occupied Paris, and secured safe passage to the New World on the Portuguese SS Serpa Pinto. After arriving in New York, they joined the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, in the newly established seat of Chabad life in Brooklyn, New York. Rabbi Menachem Mendel was immediately appointed to several leadership roles in the community, which culminated in his appointment as the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1951.
The 28th of Sivan is celebrated as the beginning of the Rebbe’s groundbreaking work to revitalize worldwide Jewry. The Rebbe himself encouraged such celebration, and in 1991, in honor of the fiftieth anniversary, he distributed an anniversary monograph on the significance of the day.