It was one of the most elevating scenes of those years. Every Sunday thousands of people from all sorts of backgrounds, origins and beliefs crowded at the front of 770 Eastern Parkway, Chabad World Headquarters, stood in line to receive a dollar. The Rebbe would stand there in front of his holy room for many hours, giving out dollar bills accompanied with blessings for success.
Those Sundays were videoed and photographed by R' Chaim Baruch Halberstam
from the WLCC, WLCC, which documented the Rebbe's life at 770. As COLlive.com reported
in May 2010, the photos were acquired by Jewish Educational Media (JEM).
In the last few years, JEM has been working on a project called "My Encounter with the Rebbe." Many thousands of video clips and photos of people who came for the Sunday dollar distributions are being collected and arranged so people can identify themselves or their acquaintances and purchase those precious clips with the Rebbe.
The reactions of those who have found themselves in these pictures are exceptionally enthusiastic. Y.B. from Israel said, "The image of my father that I found through the site, was the best gift I could've given to him."
In an effort that lasted for several years under the supervision of Mendel Gourarie and Shaya Gopin, 86,000 photographs have been scanned and converted to professionally prepared digital pictures, in addition to the 150,000+ stills from video which are posted on the site.
The first phase of the project was posted on the new website just before Gimmel Tamuz this year and was donated by Florida businessman Nossi Dubrawsky
for the purpose of helping people identify their picture.
The website is updated weekly with new pictures.
One can locate photos with Rudi Giuliani with the search system, as well as those of other New York staples Mario Cuomo, Ed Koch and Dov Hikind. Or Lubavitch names as Reb Mendel Futerfas OBM, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and even a young Gabi Holtzberg, who was to become the slain Shliach in Mumbai.
You can also find known donors to Lubavitch David Chase, George Rohr and Ronald Perelman.
"People from the top echelons of many Jewish groups contact us regularly (for these photos)," Gourarie said.
"These pictures say a lot for people who until today were unaware of these video clips or their pictures with the Rebbe - sons of Poilishe Rebbes, heads of Jewish organizations and lay people. I'm certain that the tens of thousands of people that met the Rebbe, their children and grandchildren, will be happy with the results."