An IDF soldier dons Tefillin at the Western Wall, 1967.
There's much that American Jews today take for granted, making the Jewish experience a comfortable and familiar one. It wasn't always this way. In this feature, Lubavitch.com brings readers a look at some of the early press releases issued by Lubavitch News Service on behalf of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Many of the press releases announce the launching of a new educational initiative or a mitzvah campaign that offer a glimpse into a different milieu, and help us appreciate just how far the Jewish American experience has progressed.
New York (LNS)--November 11, 1967
Nearly Half Million Jews Observe Tefillin at Western Wall
More than 400,000 visitors to the Western Wall since the Six Day War in June have observed putting on Tefillin, it was reported here by Rabbi Israel Lebov, director of the Israeli branch of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. Rabbi Lebov said that just before the outbreak of the war the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, instructed them, and all of the organization's branches throughout the world, to initiate an active Tefillin campaign, to see that Jews observe the Mitzvah of Tefillin.
"As soon as the Wailing Wall was liberated," Rabbi Lebov stated, "a cable arrived from the Rebbe with instructions to intensify the 'Action Tefillin' throughout Israel and to immediately establish a Tefillin booth near the Wall where even those who did not regularly observe Tefillin be given the opportunity to do so."
"The positive response to this spiritual campaign has been unbelievingly overwhelming," Rabbi Lebov said.
Rabbi Lebov was reporting at the twelfth annual convention of the Lubavitch Youth Organization at Lubavitch world headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. More than 1,000 members participated in the event, including 300 delegated from various overseas branches who had come to spend the holidays with the Rebbe.
Among the countries represented and from which reports were heard were Australia, Brazil, Denmark, England, France, Italy, Morocco and Tunis.
On the eve of the convention the participants heard the Rebbe urging all to fulfill their personal obligation to spread the ideals and practice of Yiddishkeit and to bring their brethren closer to the Torah way of life.
The intensive universal Tefillin campaign initiated by the Rebbe has since won the support of all leading Rabbis in Israel.