Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Rebbe is alive and well.

I have always been a big fan of Chabad. Ever since my youngest days when I grew up in South Africa and the apartheid regime was disintegrating, many, many Jews left the country in fear of what would happen during the transition of power. But the Rebbe said to the Chabad Chassidim, “Don’t leave. Stay in South Africa. Continue to build and you will succeed.”


Looking back at the Rebbe’s guidance one can only conclude that his vision and promise came to pass. If not for Chabad Lubavitch, and Chabad houses in Johannesburg in South Africa and all through the continent, I do not know where that community would be today.

This past Shabbat, I experienced, once again, the Rebbe’s legacy and vision. I spent most of the 25 hours of Shabbat glued to my phone. Yes, on Shabbat. Helping my own extended family, friends, and community members both in Kyiv and Kharkiv as they tried to escape to the Polish and Hungarian borders, and coordinating with contacts in Poland to secure private bus transportation taking dozens of Jews to the border. Then there was a large group of Israelis who had left Kyiv and were on the road for three days without any food. When they arrived on Shabbat morning at the center of Lviv, it was Chabad who rushed to their aid to supply them with food and water.

Almost every text involved Chabad. In one case, a bus driver refused to continue to the border of Poland from Lviv where they had stopped at the station due to the severe bombing. Chabad rushed to these helpless refugees’ side and brought them food, clothing and blankets, and then arranged for transportation to the border. It is difficult to imagine where the Jewish community of Ukraine would be at this very moment without these human angels.

Keep in mind that most of the outreach and emergency requests for assistance were made to people who are strangers. They did not know who they were helping or why we were reaching out to them, but they did it anyway. In the coming days, I will share more details about the heroism of different rabbis and heads of communities, but what is going on at this very moment with the bravery and heartfelt contributions of the Chabad leaders in Ukraine is a story for the history books.

So yes, my friends, the Rebbe lives on in every action and every act of kindness of His Chassidim. I salute their work, not only in Ukraine but around the world. And so should you.


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Benny Rogosnitzky is a world-renowned cantor, lecturer, teacher, mentor, and event producer. Affectionately known as “Cantor Benny,” he serves as cantor at the historic Park East Synagogue, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.