By New York Daily News
Thousands of Jews from around the globe packed a Queens cemetery Wednesday night and Thursday to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of iconic Rabbi Menachem Schneerson.
Schneerson, the head rabbi or rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement based in Crown Heights, died in 1994 at age 92 and is buried at Montefiore Cemetery in St. Albans.
Levy Daniel left his home in Paris with his 13-year-old son for a two-day trip to the gravesite and spent the night there in his rental car.
“I said to my family, I don’t need a place to stay,” Daniel, 43, said. “I just need to be near the grave.”
Organizers expect tens of thousands of visitors to stop by the cemetery by tomorrow night, and police had extra security in place.
Some who couldn’t be there in person e-mailed, faxed or mailed prayers to be placed on top of Schneerson’s grave.
About 30,000 Israelis signed a prayer sheet for Tel Aviv-based Rabbi Yoseph Gerlitzky to drop off.
“It is a very special day to be close to the rebbe, something we wait and yearn for,” Gerlitzky said.
Nina Amir wrote in the San Jose Jewish Examiner:
“The Rebbe would frequently insist that even the loftiest of ideas must be translated into actual deed. We must do as well as learn…
“So, Chabad has encouraged Jews around the world on this day to consciously learn something additional on this day and, I would add, put it to good use.
“Also, they recommend reciting an additional prayer; they even offer the chance to give them your prayers and they will deliver them to the Rebbe’s gravesite or the Western Wall of the Temple (the Kotel) in Jerusalem.
“Or, you can give some extra charity. We can apply some of the Rebbe’s care and selflessness to our own interactions with family and friends, as well as to total strangers, too. According to Chabad, “There can be no more fitting tribute to the Rebbe than millions of good deeds, mitzvot, performed on his day.”