By Manachem Cohen for COLlive.com
The First Meeting
In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe‘s 100th birthday, a series of events took place in Washington, DC, to commemorate the important date. Hundreds of Rabbis, Shluchim and lay leaders came from 40 countries, and were greeted by Senators, Congressmen and Diplomats. The Pentagon, Library of Congress, Capitol Hill, the Kennedy Center and other venues hosted the prestigious events. President Bush hosted a special delegation in the Oval Office and signed the Education Day Proclamation in the Rebbe’s honor.
Laura Hosts Russian Shluchim
First Lady Explains Halachic Term
Chabad Shluchim in Tucson, AZ, Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Shemtov were invited to the annual Chanukah party at the White House. Handshakes are a routine part of the protocol accompanying such momentous occasions, but the Shemtovs explained to a Marine that they would only shake hands with persons of the same gender. Much to the rabbi’s pleasure, the soldier informed them that after he conveyed the Shemtovs’ wishes, the first lady herself took the time to explain to him the orthodox tradition.
Lubavitch Boy Lights Menorah
Menachem Nachum Felzenburg, a great-grandson of Lubavitcher Chassid R’ Berel Levin of London, lights the third Chanukah candle in the White House. In attendance: his mother Nechama Dina, brothers and sisters, President Bush and Laura, senior Chabad Rabbi Avraham Shemtov and Lubavitch D.C. representative Rabbi Levi Shemtov. Absent: Felzenburg’s father, who was serving as a U.S. Army Chaplain in Iraq.
Bush Calls Out: G-d Bless you
That same Chanukah, Bush greeted American Jewish leaders, at an event which included 10 Chabad shluchim among its guests. Upon seeing Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, the President’s face lit up and he stretched his arms to hug the rabbi. Later that night, before returning to his residence, Bush waved farewell to Rabbi Shemtov and called out “G-d bless you.”
President says “Chabad Saved Lives”
In a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, in the wake of hurricane Katrina, the President said: “At Tulane University, the director of the Chabad, Rabbi Rivkin, brought teams of students to New Orleans and Southern Mississippi and other communities hit by the storm. He called in folks to help. He didn’t say, head away from the storm; he said, let’s take it right to the middle of the storm area to help people. They helped rescue stranded people… In the days after Katrina hit, Chabad saved lives.” (Watch the speech here)
New Orleans Shliach Meets Bush
On this Chanukah, the President met with a group of Jewish educators – amongst them Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, Shliach and head of the Torah Academy in New Orleans, LA.
Rebbe’s Prayer Read on Prayer Day
Rabbi Shalom Ciment, Chabad Shliach in Boynton Beach, FL, represented the Jewish faith on the National Prayer Day in the White House. In his remarks, Ciment read the special prayer for America composed by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Bush Warmly Greets Shluchim
A Kiddush Hashem at the yearly Chanukah party at the White House: when President Bush greeted the Chabad shluchim with a special warmth, embracing Rabbi Avraham Shemtov. The Chabad delegation then davened maariv in front of all the important guests in the Red Room.
President Bush met with a Chabad delegation of 10 Rabbonim and Shluchim from throughout the world in the Oval Office for the birthday of the Rebbe, on the 11th of Nissan. The meeting was organized by American Friends of Lubavitch. The President signed the Proclamation of Education Day, and spoke about the important work of Chabad. Since 1978, every US president has signed the Proclamation.