By COLlive reporter
Photos: Baruch Ezagui
Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau and U.S. Senator Cory Booker haven’t had the chance to meet the Lubavitcher Rebbe in person, but that didn’t stop them from speaking highly of him.
In their meeting this week, the two discovered that they both credit their rise to national public positions to the blessings of the spiritual leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement whose 20th yartzeit is coming up.
The newly elected Rabbi Lau mentioned how the Rebbe envisioned in 1992 that his father, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau would become Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position he held with distinction from 1993 to 2003.
Rabbi David Lau said that in that meeting, the Rebbe blessed his father by quoting from Devarim 17:20, “In order that he may prolong [his] days in his kingdom, he and his sons, among Israel.”
Senator Booker immediately commented, “So the Rebbe made another prophecy!”
“Yes,” Rabbi Lau replied, “Another prophecy.”
Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union, who attended the meeting at Booker’s office in Newark, New Jersey, remarked that Booker visited the Rebbe’s Ohel gravesite in Queens, NY, before his election in October 2013.
“I feel a great connection,” said Booker, and took out a commemorative coin with the Rebbe’s image that was minted by American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, DC. “I try to keep this in my pocket all the time.”
“I never met him but I feel a special connection,” Booker said of the Rebbe. “What a wonderful legacy! There’s a phrase I held onto when my father passed away last year, ‘Death can end a life, but cannot end love.’ The Rebbe’s love lives on.”
The Chief Rabbi updated the Senator about his meetings with rabbinical colleagues in New York City and speaking with leaders of the Jewish Federation of North America and students at Yeshiva University.
Booker said that the concept of tikun olam is “one of the reasons I love Judaism so much. It’s not a proselytizing faith. It’s a faith that seeks to create a just and kind world.”