At the 2019 Chabad on Campus Kinus conference, Raizy especially enjoyed the warmth, wit, wisdom and humor of Mrs. Bassie Garelick. She’s one of the earliest Shluchot of the Rebbe, an American-born girl who has spent the past 60 or so years doing the Rebbe’s Shlichut in Milano, Italy. Over the years, especially in the earlier years, the Rebbe helped her with guidance, encouragement, and support.
One nugget that Mrs. Garelick shared especially resonated for us as we approach the Rebbe’s 25th yartzeit:
After the Rebbe’s passing in 1994, she commissioned the Chassidic (Norman Rockwell-esque) artist, Zalman Kleinman (who happens to be our son-in-law’s grandfather) to paint “770” (the iconic Rebbe’s synagogue and the world headquarters for Chabad-Lubavitch movement) for her. He asked if she preferred a winter or summer setting, whether she wanted him to paint the Rebbe into it or not. She replied, “All I want is for you to paint the lights on in the Rebbe’s Room” (his office, left side of entrance on the first floor).
Personally, this recalls the many times walking outside that building in our youth, stopping outside Rebbe’s Room, seeing light on at all times of night, we couldn’t (wouldn’t) see in, we knew no specifics, but we knew that just behind those windows the Rebbe was answering letters, meeting with people, studying Torah in his visionary way, working tirelessly for the Jewish people all over the world. And we feel that in a spiritual sense, that we can’t see, the Rebbe continues to do so from heaven. And those lights remain on in our hearts, and in hearts all around the world.