Reb Mottel Fisher
was one of the handful of American boys that joined Rabbi Yisroel Jacobson
for his Shabbos afternoon Tanya Shiur in Brownsville during the 1930s. In August of 1939, only weeks before World War II broke out, Reb Mottel with a few of his friends – including Rabbis Avrohom Hecht
and Mottel Altein
, set out in the historic trip to join the Central Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Otwock, Poland, to be with the Frierdiker Rebbe. On the way to Poland, the group traveled through Paris, meeting with the Rebbe, who came to see them in the train station.
After returning to the US, and following the Frierdiker Rebbe’s escape from Europe – Mottel was part of the first class in the newly-established Lubavitcher Yeshiva at 770, studying there until 1944.
Last week, sponsored in part by a special grant by Dovid and Malkie Smetana to interview thirty elderly people of critical importance in the coming months, Reb Mottel came back to Crown Heights to relive and share his experiences, reminiscing about his “good old days” in 770 for the My Encounter with the Rebbe project.
The interview took place at the home of Rabbi and Mrs. Hershel Chitrik. After the interview, he met up with his old friend Rabbi Avrohom Hecht at their old Yeshiva stomping grounds – 770, speaking about their memories of the Frierdiker Rebbe and the Rebbe in various parts of 770.