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March 29: The Third Lubavitcher Rebbe

March 29, 2014
Tzemachtzedek2Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, born in 1789, died on this date in 1866 after a life of intensive scholarship and community organizing among the oppressed Jews of Russia. In the 1840s he bought two large tracts of land near Minsk and established a Jewish settlement dedicated to agriculture and economic improvement. Schneerson was also deeply involved in lightening the impact of Tsar Nicholas I’s “Cantonist” edict of 1827, which mandated the conscription of boys 12 and older for twenty-five years of military service and required Jewish communities to supply a quota of one boy out of a hundred. Schneerson helped to support the illegal work of the Tekhiat Hameytim Society (“Revivers of the Dead”), which faked the deaths of adolescent boys and shipped them to safety; he also provided outreach services to Jewish soldiers, to make their lives easier and to prevent them from converting to Russian Orthodoxy. He was also a key conciliator between the world of khasidism and the mitnagim (the rabbis who opposed the mysticism and cultish qualities of khasidism), and between the Jewish community and the autocratic Russian government. Schneerson was known as the Tzemach Tzedek (“The Righteous Offspring”) after the title of a compendium of Jewish law that he wrote. “Trakht gut vet zein gut — Think good and it will be good.” —Rabbai Menachem Mendel Schneerson JEWDAYO ROCKS! Perry Farrel (Bernstein), co-founder and front man of Jane’s Addiction, was born in Queens, New York on this date in 1969. To see him as a rocker — as well as singing “Oseh Shalom” at a Chabad Telethon — look below.