Thousands Gather at Queens Cemetery to Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s Passing
On Tuesday, July 1, thousands of devout Hasidic Jews from around the world gathered at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in the Cambria Heights neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., to commemorate the loss of one of the bodies buried there.
According to the New York Times, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who was the seventh grand rebbe of the Lubavitcher group of Hasidic Jews, and continues to be considered one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century.
The anniversary drew some 50,000 of the Hasidic faith, who came from as far away as Finland and Ukraine. Even 200 people traveled from Brazil — “This is our World Cup,” Arale Waligora, 60, of São Paulo, told the New York Times.
Because of the massive number of people who congregated at the cemetery, security measures to help control the crowd, including pedestrian barricades, which are often used to help keep pedestrians safe from traffic at large outdoor events.
The rebbe’s grave, which is open to visitors year-round, attracts secular Jews and non-Jews in addition to drawing the deeply devout. The New York Times describes Rabbi Schneerson as a highly inspirational figure due to his encouragement to the Jewish community and for keeping a devastated Hasidic community alive after the events of the Holocaust.
As the Jewish community continues to remember one of its most revered leaders, Rabbi Schneerson’s grave is sure to remain a holy site for believers and non-believers alike far into the future.