Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Rebbe of the Lubavicher movement, is resting comfortably in his home in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, recovering satisfactorily from an apparent heart attack on the eve of Shemini Atzeret last Monday night, informed sources reported today. The 76-year-old leader of the world Lubavitch movement was participating in the services in the Lubavitch synagogue when he turned pale, complained of feeling fired and sat down.
The usual Simchat Torah celebrations, attended by thousands of Lubavitch members and visiting Jews, was cancelled yesterday but at midnight, Schneerson delivered a public address on radio for 20 minutes, after his doctors told him he could speak for 10 minutes to his radio audience.
Schneerson refused to go to a hospital and two specialists came to his room and set up equipment, making the room into the equivalent of an intensive care unit. The sources said there was no indication the equipment was likely to be needed but the physicians wanted it available. The doctors are in constant attendance. Sources pointed out that in his 27 years as head of the movement, Schneerson has never taken any vacation.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky issued a statement as a Lubavitch spokesman on behalf of eight physicians attending Schneerson to the effect that chest pains of which he complained had abated and that his condition was “stabilizing.” Krinsky said that for the two final days of Succot, Schneerson participated in services in a minyan in his office complex. His broadcast was heard not only by Lubavitch members in the synagogue but throughout the world on the Lubavitch private worldwide telephone hook-up, Krinsky said.
(News of the Rebbe’s illness was headlined in the Israeli press. Many local Habad Hasidim today prayed for his recovery at the Western Wall and other sacred sites. Premier Menachem Begin, himself convalescing in the hospital from fatigue and a mild heart ailment, sent a letter to the Lubavitch leader wishing him a speedy recovery.)
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.