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May 19, 2017  RSS feed

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Biographer of Rebbe to visit Pinellas Chabad

Rabbi Elkanah Shmotkin Rabbi Elkanah Shmotkin As world Jewry prepares to mark the 23rd anniversary of the death of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, two local Chabads are preparing a special event in Palm Harbor to honor his memory.

Rabbi Elkanah Shmotkin, coauthor of Early Years, a new book on the Rebbe, will speak at Chabad of Pinellas County, 3696 Fisher Road, Palm Harbor, on Sunday, June 18 at 7 p.m. The event is being sponsored by both Chabad of Pinellas County and Chabad of Clearwater and is open to the public.

Making his first ever visit to the Tampa Bay area, Rabbi Shmotkin will share highlights and behind the scenes information about the book. Early Years is a 550-page tome, detailing the untold story of the Rebbe’s formative years in the Soviet Union and Germany.

The book is the product of a years-long worldwide research project, telling the story of the man who, as much as anyone else, set the course of Jewish history in the 20th century and beyond. The book answers such questions as, “What was his childhood like? Who were his mentors and teachers? At what point did his ideas that would transform the landscape of post-Holocaust Jewry begin to take shape in his mind?”

The Rebbe in Berlin, circa early 1930s 
Photo © Kehot Publication Society The Rebbe in Berlin, circa early 1930s Photo © Kehot Publication Society The book uses newly uncovered government documents, private journals, letters and diaries to provide an account of the formative years of one of modern Judaism’s most recognized personalities.

Rabbi Shmotkin is the executive director of Jewish Educational Media (JEM), a multi-faceted organization dedicated to archival preservation and video presentation of the life and times of the Rebbe. JEM aims to provide material that can be accessed so people can continue to study and be inspired by the Rebbe. One of Rab- bi Shmotkin’s earlier projects, was an oral history, “My Encounter with the Rebbe,” which aimed at recording the first-hand accounts of individuals who had personal interactions with the Rebbe.

Admission to the event is $10 per person, $15 per couple and $180 for sponsors (which includes a free copy of the book.) RSVP online at: or call (727) 789-0408.

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