Benjamin Glazer, a prominent Manhattan businessman, philanthropist and communal activist shared a close relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson. It appears this began in 1929 when the Rebbe first visited America and solidified once the Rebbe settled in the United States a decade later. Glazer was a key supporter in creating the initial institutional structures of Chabad in America, including the United Lubavitch Yeshiva, Kehot Publication Society and Chabad's European refugee relief programs.
Above and beyond the practicalities of lending both financial and organizational support in establishing "bricks and mortar," Glazer was clearly devoted to Chassidic teachings as indicated amidst the correspondence here, where he pledged the large sum of that time - $8,000 - to publish the writings of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek.
The letters here indicate the depth of feeling between the Rebbe Rayat"z and Glazer. For example during a challenging health crisis the Rebbe writes: "Last Tuesday I wasn't feeling well…Your writing dear friend Mr. Glazer, was the greatest medicine." Elsewhere: "In your writing I feel your elevated spiritual pleasure and strong spiritual desire to assist me in my souls mission. This gives me the greatest pleasure and makes it all the easier to carry my great burden."
From these letters we learn that from 1945 and on, Glazer was chairman of the annual dinners in support of United Lubavitch Yeshiva, drawing in those of means to support its very first school building located on the corner of Bedford and Dean in Brooklyn. *
In 1946, upon the request of the Rebbe Rayat"z, Glazer traveled to Montreal to speak at the annual dinner of the Canadian branch of Lubavitch Yeshiva. On his return, the Rebbe Rayat"z thanks Glazer for the tremendous impact his speech had on Montreal Jewry. *
In the mid-1940's the Non-Partisan Committee for the Survival of Eastern European Jewry is formed under the auspices of the Rebbe, who in turn, appoints Glazer as committee chairman. *
Efforts are exerted to obtain American visas for Chabad yeshiva students stranded in Shanghai.
In addition to much discussion of communal business matters, many personal affairs are noted here, including blessings upon reaching personal and family milestones, as well as good wishes extended by the Rebbe across the annual cycle of holidays and related special occasions.
Amidst the great number of letters presented here - from the last days of the Friediker Rebbe and the very first days of the new Rebbe - there is much raw material that can be learnt concerning the establishment of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in America right in its infancy.
With grateful thanks to Rabbi Akiva Nussbaum (Brooklyn, NY) for his research assistance in cataloguing this lot. Many of these letters remain unpublished.
Further details available upon request, including a listing of each letter by date and abbreviated content, as well as notation whether published in Igrois.