Friday, May 25, 2001
In Memory of
Rabbi Yitschak Meir Kagan
Mr. President, Today I would like to commemorate the achievements of a beloved religious leader, dedicated father and husband and friend from my home state of Michigan, Rabbi Yitschak Meir Kagan. On June 3 of this year, people from around the world will be gathering in Southfield, MI, to honor the life and memory of Rabbi Kagan.
Through hard work and an unwavering commitment to the ideals of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Kagan's work has made an indelible mark upon countless individuals. His deep faith, keen intellect, and concern for others has led him to give generously of himself.
Born in England, Rabbi Kagan's extensive education assumed an international flavor. After early instruction in Great Britain, he studied at the Lubavitch Yeshiva in Israel, the Central Lubavitch Academy in New York and the Rabbinical College in Montreal where he received his ordination.
Central to Rabbi Kagan's life was the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. In 1966, Rabbi Kagan joined the Michigan Chabad-Lubavitch. For thirty-five years he worked tirelessly to expand the Lubavitch Foundation's presence in Michigan. Chabad-Lubavitch is a Hasidic sect that originated in Lubavitch, Russia. Lubavitch means "brotherly love," and Chabad is an acronym for a philosophy that pursues wisdom, understanding and knowledge of God. Rabbi Kagan's life embodied the ideal of brotherly love as he sought "to increase the knowledge of Judaism within every Jew" by educating people about the Torah, providing worship services and performing charitable acts.
As Associate Director of the Lubavitch Foundation, Rabbi Kagan expanded the Foundation by establishing Chabad houses in Ann Arbor, Flint and Grand Rapids, developing "the Campus of Living Judaism;" counseling students and tending to the spiritual development of countless individuals.
Rabbi Kagan's work reached far beyond Michigan. The printed word enabled his thoughts and insights to span the globe. He published essays adapted from the works of Lubavitcher Rebbe that were read by a multitude each month. In addition, he edited and translated the Rebbe's classic text, Hayom Yom, edited philosophical texts and translated commentaries on the Torah.
Rabbi Kagan has been a community and spiritual leader for over three decades. I have been able to witness, firsthand, his enthusiastic commitment to helping others in need. Rabbi Kagan touched the lives of all who met him. He worked with and helped immigrants, prisoners, drug users, families in need and others with characteristic zeal, kindness and love. I know my Senate colleagues join me in commemorating the life of Rabbi Yitschak Meir Kagan, and in offering their condolences to Rochel Kagan, his wife, and his extended family.
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