The late Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, has been awarded the Congressional Gold medal, joining the ranks of fewer than 100 other Americans.
Both the House and Senate last week unanimously agreed to bestow the honor.
The award “reflects further the long-held appreciation of this august institution of the message of the rebbe and his contribution to the educational, moral and social fabric of our society,” Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, national director of American Friends of Lubavitch, said in a statement.
Some 230 members of Congress co-sponsored the bill that made the award.
Forty years of “contributions to the cause of peace and understanding,” Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement, “have defined the grand rebbe.”
The bill’s sponsors came from all areas of the House, said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of Friends of Lubavitch in Washington. The entire New York delegation, members of the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus and leadership from both the Republican and Democratic parties signed on, he said.
“The fact that such a broad range of members came together to sponsor this resolution is a clear indication that the rebbe has made a lasting, positive impact, not only on all segments of the Jewish community, but even far beyond the Jewish community,” Washington’s Shemtov said.
The gold medal and 10,000 bronze replicas should be finished by spring. Sales of the replicas will fund the cost of the gold medal.
Schneerson was the world leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement for more than 40 years. He died at the age of 92 last June.
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.