The My Encounter with the Rebbe project was launched by JEM in 1998, aiming to document the unknown and untold story of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory’s life.
Many tens of thousands of individuals visited with the Rebbe privately, seeking counsel and direction. Many times that number communicated with him in writing. It is largely through these relationships that the Rebbe had his impact on world Jewry. While his published works fill countless volumes, the how and what of his impact on lives and communities – and in fact, an entire generation – remain as yet, untold.
It is this body of firsthand, undocumented, accounts that the My Encounter oral history project seeks to preserve.
The project has already collected over two hundred and fifty videotaped testimonies in which ordinary individuals and public personalities detail the relationship and correspondence they maintained with the Rebbe. Ranging between one and seven hours in length, each interview tells a different personal story – together, comprising a testament to the Rebbe’s far-reaching influence and impassioned leadership, and a tool to teach generations that follow. Although most of the interviews are conducted in English, Yiddish and Hebrew, some of them are done in Spanish, French and Russian as well.
Short excerpts from these interviews have been released weekly in our popular video magazine, Living Torah. The interviews constitute the bulk of the material for the documentary series on the Rebbe’s early life, The Early Years Series, as well as other DVDs, such as The Rebbetzin, Sensitivity and the recent DVD release, Faithful and Fortified, Volume 1.
These efforts have yielded impassioned feedback. Without even mounting a search, every day, new leads for fascinating interviews pour into the My Encounter office. We now have the unprecedented opportunity to record detailed, firsthand accounts of the life and influence of this transcendent leader. It is our job to make sure that more vital interviews do not slip through our fingers.
By taking the initiative now, future generations will look to this pivotal moment as one when a group of people rose to the challenge of recording the first-hand accounts of interactions between this – and the previous – generation with the Rebbe, and to preserve them for posterity.
The point of this blog is to create awareness and keep you informed on the happenings of the My Encounter with the Rebbe project. We are constantly discovering new information and finding people from all different walks of life who have had fascinating encounters with the Rebbe.
Ultimately, we can’t do it without you. We need your help! Every interview that we do is funded by viewers like you. As time moves on, people are getting older and we are losing their priceless testimony. Please help us preserve this testimony before it’s too late. For funding opportunities, click here.
In addition, there were thousands of people who’ve encoutered the Rebbe throughout the years and no matter how much research we do, we can’t possibly know all of these people. We need your input. Please email any leads on people we can potentially interview at: firstname.lastname@example.org