On the 25th anniversary of his death according to the Hebrew calendar, the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was praised by a slew of celebrities for his wisdom and compassion.
The rebbe died on June 12, 1994, at the age of 92. Schneerson was hailed by many for initiating an international Jewish revival, and among his most famous allies were Elie Wiesel, Bob Dylan and Herman Wouk.
“An inspirational leader, scholar, and teacher, the Rebbe taught that we are all inherently good and we each have the potential to change the world for the better, one good deed at a time,” British supermodel Naomi Campbell wrote on social media. “I have personally learned so much from his wisdom and teachings, and while I never met him, I’ve visited his resting place in Queens to gain blessing and inspiration. With so much discord and division across our society, the Rebbe’s words are more relevant than ever, and we so desperately need to take them to heart and learn from his example to always see the good in others, even those with whom we may disagree.”
Campbell, 49, added that she would “rededicate” herself to the rebbe’s mission of “creating more light and goodness.”
In 2010, Campbell announced that she had embraced Kabbalah, the Jewish mysticism movement, and that it had helped her turn her life around and to control her notorious temper.
Singer and dancer Paula Abdul, 57, who is Jewish, also honored the rebbe in a tweet to mark his 25th yahrzeit, promoting his Shabbat candle campaign, which calls on all Jewish women and girls to light Shabbat candles less than an hour before the start of the Jewish sabbath.
“His teachings to better our world through unconditional love are more urgent now than ever! Join me in his Shabbat Candle campaign, spreading light before sundown this evening,” she tweeted.
An estimated 50,000 people visited the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ahead of the 25th anniversary of his passing. The pilgrimage to the burial site in Queens, N.Y., known as the Ohel, took place last week ahead of the anniversary on Saturday, the 3rd of Tamuz on the Hebrew calendar.
Schneerson headed Chabad-Lubavitch from 1950 until his passing, a dynastic movement he had helped revive following its post-Holocaust reestablishment in New York. He was never succeeded in his position.
Throughout the year, approximately 400,000 people visit his gravesite in the Cambria Heights neighborhood of Queens — many of them not Chasidim or even Jewish — to pay their respects and to reflect on his teachings.
Marcy Oster writes for the JTA international news agency and wire service.