1000 encounters

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My Encounter with the Rebbe was launched by JEM in 1998, aiming to document the unknown and untold story of the Rebbe’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 three 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.

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, as well as other DVDs, such as The Rebbetzin, Sensitivity and the recent DVD release, Faithful and Fortified.

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.

In honor of  Gimmel Tammuz, the 16th anniversary since the Rebbe’s passing; a generous sponsor has pledged to match every dollar donated towards the project!

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