web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



20 Years After Rebbe’s Death, Jewish Movements Increasingly Emulate Chabad

The Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Lubavitcher Rebbe

Many questions surrounded the future of the Chabad-Lubavitch branch of chassidism after the death of its seventh rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, on June 12, 1994. The Rebbe had no children, and no successor was named. But 20 years later, Chabad is not only alive and well, its increasingly receiving the so-called highest form of flattery: imitation.

Against the backdrop of last fall’s much-discussed Pew Research Center survey of American Jews, many Jewish leaders across the denominational spectrum are turning to Chabad for ideas to strengthen their own movements. Those who spoke to JNSto reflect on the Rebbe’s 20th yahrzeit may not agree with Chabad’s religious outlook or practices,and a number of them cited internal challenges within the movement,but all said that when it comes to outreach, engagement, and Jewish leadership, Chabad is to be emulated.

Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut professor of education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, recently coined the term “relational Judaism” – using the power of relationships to transform the Jewish community. But such an idea is not new, said Rabbi Steven C. Wernick, executive vice president and CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

“The Rebbe understood much earlier than most the importance of building relationships,” Wernick said.

The Rebbe also understood the importance of sending his shluchim, emissaries, to where the people were – even the most remote of locations – and of teaching those people Torah. Today, according to most reports, there are more than 4,000 Chabad emissaries around the world.

“We all have what to learn from their… going out into the trenches to bring people in,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel. “If you want to accomplish stuff, you’ve got to leave the building…. That is something [about Chabad] that has to be respected and emulated.”

This concept of outreach is now also being exercised by the Conservative movement, said Wernick, who explained that there is a push to engage, train, and deploy rabbis, cantors, and master educators to population centers where there are young Jewish adults as a first step in re-defining a sense of kehillah (community) for the movement. While outreach may not seem like a unique concept today, “at the time in which Chabad did it, this was a great chiddush [new idea],” Wernick said.

Creating communities without walls has been a secret to Chabad’s success. The Chabad emissary “does not view himself as a rabbi of a congregation, as serving members of a synagogue,” but rather as a community rabbi, said Rabbi Steven Weil, former executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. “As the rabbi of a city he can have much greater impact than just being the rabbi for those who pay dues.”

Rabbi Weil noted that an additional upside presented by Chabad emissaries is that when a Chabad couple is sent to a community, the couple is “there for life.”

“When you look at a lot of communities – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox – the rabbis come for a period of time and their goal is to get a good job and then get a bigger pulpit in a bigger city,” he said, explaining if over a 30 or 40-year period there are six or seven community rabbis, one never really becomes a part of the people’s extended lives.

Chabad emissaries “become a part of the family, there at every stage.”

As Rabbi Weil put it, in the Modern Orthodox community the best and brightest individuals become hedge fund managers; in the haredi community the best and brightest become heads of major yeshivas; in the Chabad movement, the best and brightest become emissaries.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “20 Years After Rebbe’s Death, Jewish Movements Increasingly Emulate Chabad”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Maayan Jaffe
Tawfik Hamid, a former member of the Jamal Islamiyah terrorist organization, broke from its grip to move to the U.S. and begin a fight against radical Islam.

“My tears choose the side of peace,” she wrote. “We are tired to hear about more killings. We are tired to run every time we the sirens…. Don’t judge, pray. Pray for this to be over.”

Being a parent during war, Day said, means putting your own needs and wants aside. It also means being prepared.

Creating communities without walls has been a secret to Chabad’s success.

Some 22,000 Israeli soldiers have died since the establishment of the Jewish state, including 40 soldiers between March 2013 and March 2014, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/20-years-after-rebbes-death-jewish-movements-increasingly-emulate-chabad/2014/06/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: