Rabbi Leibel Groner, secretary of the Rebbe, headlined a celebration marking the 70th yartzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the Rebbe.
Held in Almaty (formerly known as Alma-Ata) in Kazakhstan, where Reb Levik is buried, the event brought together visitors and community members.
Reb Levik, as he was known, was considered one of the greatest Talmudic and Kabbalistic scholars of his generation. He served as the chief rabbi of the city of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, during the bloody Bolshevik revolution and the subsequent Communist oppression.
Despite terrible persecution directed at religious leaders in those days, he remained fearlessly defiant in strengthening Jewish learning and practice in his city and throughout the Soviet Union.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was eventually arrested, tortured, and subsequently banished to exile in a remote village in Kazakhstan. His spirit, however, was not extinguished, even while his body was broken and eventually gave way to his early passing.
In his remarks, Rabbi Groner shared memories and insights from the Rebbe. He told how the Rebbe encouraged people to increase their good activities beyond their imagination and that Hashem provides the resources.
Kazakhstan Chief Rabbi Yeshaya Cohen told participants that “We will not forget Reb Levik. We here in Kazakhstan will follow his ways and legacy with observing Mitzvos in his memory.”
At the event, Albert Shimoni, head of the Almaty Jewish community, said he was moved by the occasion and publicly committed to increase his observance.