Podcast: Dovid Margolin on the Rebbe’s Campaign for a Moment of Silence

How something as simple as a brief moment of reflection for schoolchildren could influence hearts and minds for the better.

Visitors pray near the gravesite of Menachem Mendel Schneerson in Queens, New York. Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Visitors pray near the gravesite of Menachem Mendel Schneerson in Queens, New York. Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Observation
May 2 2019
About the authors

A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.

Dovid Margolin is an associate editor at Chabad.org.


This Week’s Guest: Dovid Margolin

 

On April 27, 2019, the last day of Passover, a vicious anti-Semite entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue and started shooting. Before being stopped, he murdered one worshipper and injured several others, including the congregation’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein.

Speaking to the press after the attack, Rabbi Goldstein said something remarkable. In the wake of the chaos and violence swirling around him, this ḥasidic rabbi suggested that a national response to the shooting should include establishing a daily moment of silence in American public schools in which “children can start the day pausing and thinking, ‘Why am I created? Why am I here? And what am I going to do?’”

In making his unconventional suggestion, Rabbi Goldstein was echoing Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch. In the 1980s—in the shadow of high crime rates and the attempted assassination of President Reagan—the Lubavitcher rebbe launched a campaign to have American schools, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, begin their days with just such a moment of silence.

In this podcast, Jonathan Silver is joined by Rabbi Dovid Margolin, associate editor at Chabad.org, to discuss the rebbe’s campaign. Rabbi Margolin reminds us of the broader context of the times, explores the rebbe’s conviction that Jewish ideas can help improve American society, and explains why the rebbe believed that something as simple as a brief moment of reflection for schoolchildren could influence hearts and minds for the better.

Listen via iTunes Podcasts | Google PlayStitcher | Spotify

 

Background

 

Every Thursday, the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic will bring to to your car/earbuds/home stereo/Alexa the latest in our efforts to advance Jewish thought. For more on the new podcast, check out our inaugural post here.

A final note: If you would like to share your thoughts on the podcast, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send us an email at editors@mosaicmagazine.com. We’re grateful for your support, and we look forward to a new year of great conversations on Jewish essays and ideas.

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More about: Chabad, History & Ideas, Menachem Mendel Schneerson