Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Thursday and Friday are 12-13 Tammuz this year, the anniversary of the liberation of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn from Soviet prison in 1927. The survival of traditional Jewish observance, at least as an underground movement, is largely due to the work of the Rebbe and his successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak possessed considerable literary gifts, and the diary he wrote recording his brutal treatment at the hands of the GPU (the precursor organization to the KGB) makes gripping reading. For many, the Rebbe's miraculous release is the turning point in the ultimately successful struggle to keep Yiddishkeit alive in the Soviet "Empire of Evil."