Naomi Campbell And Paula Abdul Pay Tribute To…The Lubavitcher Rebbe
25 years ago this week, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the leader of the Chabad Hassidic movement who some Jews believe to be the messiah, died.
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, a biographer of Schneerson, who was known to his followers as The Rebbe, says, “He really established what is, as far as I know, the first attempt to reach every Jewish community and every Jew in the world.”
In fact, the Rebbe’s message was so far-reaching as to affect non-Jewish supermodel Naomi Campbell, who took to social media over the weekend to mourn the anniversary of the leader’s passing.
“The Rebbe taught that we are all inherently good and we each have the potential to change the world for the better, one good deed at a time,” Campbell wrote on Instagram, summing up Hassidic teachings so well she would fit in well in one of Chabad’s roving mitzvah tanks. “With so much discord and division across our society, the Rebbe’s words are more relevant than ever, Campbell added, urging her followers to “learn from his example to always see the good in others, even those with whom we may disagree.”
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Today, is the 25th anniversary of the passing of #TheRebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson. An inspirational leader, scholar, and teacher, the Rebbe taught that we are all inherently good and we each have the potential to change the world for the better, one good deed at a time. I have personally learned so much from his wisdom and teachings, and while I never met him, I’ve visited his resting place in Queens to gain blessing and inspiration. With so much discord and division across our society, the Rebbe’s words are more relevant than ever, and we so desperately need to take them to heart and learn from his example to always see the good in others, even those with whom we may disagree. Today I rededicate myself to the Rebbe’s life-long mission of creating more light and goodness, and making a better future for ourselves and all of humanity. ♥️
Campbell, who noted that she has visited the Rebbe’s grave in Queens (a popular destination, even for the likes of Javanka), promised, “Today I rededicate myself to the Rebbe’s life-long mission of creating more light and goodness.” Further down Campbell’s Instagram page, she poses in front of a giant gold crucifix in a church in Rome, exemplifying the à la carte approach to spirituality often practiced by celebrities, see: Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Ashton Kutcher.
Who’d have thunk a former Jehovah’s Witness who has been the face of 25 perfumes (25!) would be a Schneerson acolyte? Actually, anyone who has followed the Rebbe’s teachings and legacy might have thunk it — he really was that good.
Jewish performer Paula Abdul also publicly memorialized the Rebbe, encouraging followers to join her in a Chabad Shabbat candle-lighting campaign and writing, “His teachings to better our world through unconditional love are more urgent now than ever!”
Campbell and Abdul join a prestigious line of Jews and non-Jews alike — including world leaders, academics, and regular people — who were touched by the Rebbe’s wisdom. Of course, it doesn’t matter who’s giving the advice, if the advice is to repair the world through acts of loving kindness. But if the public learns Lubavitcher-style teaching from the mouths of supermodels and Laker girls?
That’s a miracle worthy of the Rebbe.
Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny