The Rebbe by Samuel Heilman

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From the 1950s until his death in 1994, Menachem Mendel Schneerson--revered by his followers worldwide simply as the Rebbe--built the Lubavitcher movement from a relatively small sect within Hasidic Judaism into the powerful force in Jewish life that it is today. Swept away by his expectation that the Messiah was coming, he came to believe that he could deny death and change history.

Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman paint an unforgettable portrait of Schneerson, showing how he reinvented himself from an aspiring French-trained electrical engineer into a charismatic leader who believed that he and his Lubavitcher Hasidic emissaries could transform the world. They reveal how his messianic convictions ripened and how he attempted to bring the ancient idea of a day of redemption onto the modern world's agenda. Heilman and Friedman also trace what happened after the Rebbe's death, by which time many of his followers had come to think of him as the Messiah himself.

The Rebbe tracks Schneerson's remarkable life from his birth in Russia, to his student days in Berlin and Paris, to his rise to global renown in New York, where he developed and preached his powerful spiritual message from the group's gothic mansion in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. This compelling book demonstrates how Schneerson's embrace of traditionalism and American-style modernity made him uniquely suited to his messianic mission.

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About Samuel Heilman

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Samuel Heilman is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College and holds the Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Menachem Friedman is professor emeritus of sociology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
Published May 10, 2010 by Princeton University Press. 382 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Rebbe

The Jewish Chronicle

A new biography of the Lubavitcher Rebbe by two experts on the strictly Orthodox community is coming out at the end of the month.

May 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Rebbe

Jewish Journal

A cousin of the previous Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson married the Rebbe’s younger daughter Chaya Moussia and chose to keep his distance – physical as well as spiritual—from the world of Chabad, living in Germany before the rise of Hitler and in Paris during the 1930 where he studied engineer...

Jul 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The Rebbe

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