Most Popular Rabbi On YouTube To Speak In Wilmette

WILMETTE, IL — With 442,000 subscribers and more than 2,100 videos on his channel, Rabbi Manis Friedman has earned the title of “YouTube’s Most Popular Rabbi.”

Next month, the popular Hasidic rabbi is headed to Wilmette for two days of lectures.

“Rabbi Friedman’s Youtube videos have long been a source of wisdom in my life — they really get you thinking,” said Jordan Brook, a local fan. “His ability to make complex ideas accessible is remarkable. I can’t wait to meet him and experience his insights in person.”

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Friedman is an author, lecturer and the co-founder of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies, now called Bais Chana Women International, a nonprofit educational organization for Jewish women and girls.

The 77-year-old rabbi is the author of books including “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore” and “The Joy of Intimacy,” which is available free in audiobook format on his website.

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Friedman’s site also offers the opportunity to take part in weekly calls with him and receive other benefits for a subscription of $47 per month, following a trial offer.

“We’ve lost the art of intimacy and we need to get it back,” Friedman said in a statement announcing his upcoming lectures in Wilmette.

Back in 1992, the New York Times described him as “the slick, almost hip young dean” of the women’s institute, which launched in Minnesota in 1971.

Friedman is scheduled to appear in Wilmette on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 to speak at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life & Learning, 2904 Old Glenview Road in Wilmette.

The Friday Shabbat dinner program will feature an address titled “Is There Any Hope to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” According to a flyer promoting the event, it will “[u]ncover the three pivotal principles that could be the keys to a lasting resolution.”

An 11 a.m. sermon the following day promises to explore the question of “why are we hear” and explain the “four meanings of life.”

And Friedman’s keynote speech on Saturday afternoon is titled “Jewish Identity In a Post-October 7th World.” According to its description, it will feature a “frank exploration of the profound shifts and newfound perspectives that define our collective identity in this evolving era.”

More than 25,000 people have been killed since Oct. 7 in the aforementioned sconflict, including more than 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, 1,200 people in Israel and at least 83 journalists and media workers, according to the Committee to Project Journalists.

Organizers said his lectures will provide attendees with a “unique opportunity” to find meaning in their journeys and explore the essence of life.

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“He has a remarkable ability to bridge timeless teachings with the contemporary challenges we face,” said Rabbi Dovid Flinkenstein of Wilmette Chabad. “This weekend promises to be a source of inspiration and connection for our community.”

Friedman previously served as the simultaneous translator for live speeches by Menachem Schneerson, the late leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who was considered by some of his followers to be the Messiah.

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