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Posts Tagged ‘Chabad Lubavitch’

Chabad of Westport Hoping for Town Approval at Long Last

Friday, June 15th, 2012

According to the Westport Daily Voice, the structure that used to house the Three Bears Restaurant in Westport, CT, will shortly officially become the new home of Chabad Lubavitch of Westport, which has been operating without approval out of the space since January.

On Thursday night, an attorney for Chabad appeared before the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, seeking a change of use from restaurant to religious institution, as well as approval of interior renovations.

“We are planning modest renovations,” Weisman said. “We’re not doing anything to the outside of the building. We may paint it, we may do some cosmetic work, but it will look exactly as it does today.”

The building will be divided into a sanctuary, three classrooms, and office space.

Five months ago, Chabad was cited by the Planning and Zoning Department for occupying the building without a special permit.

The citation was issued after a complaint from a neighbor.

Chabad Sends Camouflaged Torahs, Cheesecakes, to Soldiers Overseas

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The Aleph Institute, a Chabad-Lubavitch organization catering to the needs of Jewish soldiers and their families, is helping servicemen celebrate the upcoming holiday of Shavuot with 1,000 special military edition Torah books, according to a report on Chabad.org.  The pocket-sized, soft cover, camouflaged  Gutnick Edition Lifestyle Books Torahs include Hebrew text with a contemporary translation and commentary by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The movement shipped 1,000 editions around the world, along with individually-wrapped single-serving cheesecakes, in keeping with the Shavuot tradition to eat dairy foods, as well as holiday candle-lighting kits.

The organization also announced that it will offer correspondence classes on Jewish topics such as prayer, holidays, and kosher laws.

Chai’s Rabbi Metzger Pays $40 Million for Midtown Building Shared with Lubavitch

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

The NY Post reported that Rabbi Joshua Metzger has signed a contract to pay $40 million for the 12-story, 60,000-square-foot building at 509 Fifth Ave., in the middle of the block between East 42nd and 43rd streets, which is occupied by Metzger’s nonprofit Chai Foundation and Chabad Lubavitch of Midtown.

According to the Post, the signing will put a stop to several law suits which have been filed with the NY Supreme Court over the purchase of 509 Fifth.

Chanukah In Utah

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and his wife Jeanette hosted Rabbi Benny Zippel and 150 guests from Chabad Lubavitch of Utah for a menorah lighting ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City during the recent Chanukah holiday.

Rabbi Weinberg Praised As Kiruv ‘Visionary’

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

NEW YORK – Rabbi Noach Weinberg, the founder and dean of the sprawling global outreach operation Aish HaTorah, was being called a “unique visionary” following his death in Jerusalem.

Weinberg, a brilliant educator and charismatic lecturer, was suffering from cancer when he died Feb. 5 at his home. He was 78.

A pioneering figure in the ba’al teshuvah movement, the process of bringing secular Jews to Orthodox Judaism, he was the guiding force behind Aish HaTorah’s emergence as a leader of efforts to turn back the tide of assimilation.

With just five students, Weinberg founded Aish in 1974 in Jerusalem. It now occupies prime real estate opposite the Western Wall and encompasses dozens of branches around the world. About 100,000 people reportedly attend Aish programs annually in 77 cities in 17 countries.

The organization also operates a rabbinical training program in Jerusalem, a hesder yeshiva for Israeli soldiers and draws untold numbers of Jewish students and travelers to its introductory courses in Jerusalem and around the world. Aish.com, the organization’s home on the Internet, is among the most popular Jewish educational websites and features endorsements from a range of celebrities, including Steven Spielberg, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher.

“Rav Noach was a unique visionary who believed that every Jew was innately interested in their Jewishness, but because of the lack of education was ignorant of the wealth of their heritage,” said Rabbi Yitz Greenman, the executive director of Aish HaTorah New York/Discovery. “He saw it as his mission to make Judaism relevant to an apathetic generation. He was incredibly successful over the last 50 years at reigniting the spark of Jewishness in hundreds of thousands of Jewish souls.”

Like the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, whose vast global network comprises what is probably the best known and most successful outreach effort in the Jewish world, Weinberg believed the greatest challenge facing Jewry today was the loss of Jews to ignorance, apathy and assimilation. He spoke of a spiritual holocaust that was depriving the world of more Jewish souls than the actual Holocaust. His disciples at Aish headquarters in Jerusalem would frequently invoke war metaphors to describe the struggle they were engaged in to save the Jewish people.

To drive the point home, Weinberg led a delegation of Aish rabbis to Poland in 2006, a journey that became the subject of a film, “From the Ashes.”

“Why did we come here? Why did I come and ask all the fellas, all the rabbis, to come?” Weinberg asks in the film. “To wake us up. The time is drawing closer. We are losing more neshamas [souls] every day than we’re gaining. We’re in trouble. We got to wake up.”

Weinberg is lauded for taking a non-judgmental approach to outreach. He welcomed atheists and non-believers to his yeshiva, saying he would make them better atheists. He even reportedly allowed a practicing Muslim to study at Aish, even though the student prayed five times a day to Mecca.

“A lot of Orthodoxy’s outreach was always tinged with judgmentalism – not always, but often,” said Samuel Heilman, a sociologist of American Jewry and a critic of what some observers describe as Orthodoxy’s rightward drift. “Both Chabad and Rabbi Weinberg found you could reach out to people without having to force them to deny who they were, and not be quite as judgmental. And that was a key element. Now we take that for granted.”

Unlike Chabad, Aish principally relies not on the warmth and charisma of its emissaries but on presenting a rational, cogent argument for God’s existence and the unique mission of the Jewish people. For a time, Aish was virtually synonymous with the popular Discovery seminars, a series of lectures on topics such as Bible codes, Genesis and the Big Bang, and Jewish history, that collectively attempt to present a logical and scientific case for the divine origins of the Torah.

Aish also differs from Chabad in another crucial respect: Chabad’s emissaries often are the children of emissaries themselves and the movement’s most dedicated cadre, steeped in its values from an early age and charged by the movement’s late leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, to retrieve Jewish souls from the far corners of the world.

Weinberg, after trying and failing several times to start outreach efforts in the 1960s and 1970s, realized he needed to populate his organization with individuals who once were secular. Only they, he believed, understood the urgency of the task.

“He had a way about him,” said Adam Jacobs, a rabbi at the Aish Center in Manhattan who first encountered Aish as a secular Jew studying at Brandeis University and eventually found his way to Jerusalem. “He was so focused on other people and it was so genuine the way he would interact with other people. He paid attention to people in a way I don’t recall seeing ever before.”

Rabbi Shalom Schwartz, one of the original group of students who joined Aish in 1974, said Weinberg always emphasized the need for students to apply their studies to real-world problems. He recalled Weinberg once blasted a Time magazine article that accused Israel of unleashing biblical justice on the Palestinians and, in later years, he insisted on confronting the threat of radical Islam.

“He was very, very concerned about the current rise of anti-Semitism and the situation in Iran,” Schwartz said. “He made a point of pressing whoever would listen to him that these are not normal times. This is a time when every concerned human being has to take up the cause of confronting militant Islam, and especially the threat from Iran, and that this is a responsible position of every caring – not only Jew, but every human being. This is from day one in his teaching.”

Greenman recalled once visiting Weinberg at his home on a Friday night. On entering, Weinberg’s young son was climbing up a pipe. Expecting the rabbi to scold his son for misbehaving, Greenman was shocked to discover him offer to lift his son on his shoulders so he could better reach the ceiling.

“That’s who Rabbi Weinberg was,” Greenman said. “He was a man who said to everyone, stand on my shoulders and I’ll help you go further. He helped every Jew try to reach the ceiling.” (JTA)

Senseless Love

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

One month ago, humanity woke up to a very dark world.

Has there ever been such a clear-cut line drawn between good and evil, between darkness and light?

As we have all learned by now, Gaby and Rivki Holtzberg were two young Chabad emissaries, only in their twenties, who chose to leave the comforts of home and family to live in far away Mumbai, India, with the sole goal of bringing the light of Torah, of spreading greater joy and meaning to their fellow Jews.

The terrorists were also young  − in their mid-twenties, and they also chose Mumbai as their destination. They too were dedicated to their goal, and spent years in training for it  − but their goal was to darken lives, to bring pain and destruction, and wreak horror and havoc.

And this past week, though our world became a darker place, the clarity between these polar opposites, between good and evil, became as clear as day.

Unfortunately we live in a world where horrors happen. Too often, people die young, children are left orphans. Crimes and wrongs are needlessly perpetrated.

We usually read about these things. We sigh. We say how horrible they are and then moments later we continue on with our lives.

But with this atrocity in Mumbai, somehow we are all not just moving along. It is affecting us. We’re outraged. We’re incensed, consumed with sadness, with pain. We sense that this is somehow more tragic. Because of its senselessness. Because of the clearly drawn lines between the forces of good and the evil.

The end of the book of Daniel is a prophesy about our time, describing events as follows: At the end of days, things will become abundantly clear. Evil people will be exceedingly evil and good people, devoted to helping others, will shine like the bright stars in the sky.

So how do we react to this? What now?

We need to direct our outrage, our pain.

We need to follow the example of Rivki and Gabi, whose lives were dedicated to unconditional love and unity − of reaching out to every one of their fellow Jews as brothers and sisters, without judgment, without condescension, without focusing on differences − but only with love and unity.

On a very practical level, what does it mean to each of us?

We all have someone, against whom we harbor something −  a grudge, or a hurt that we still hold within our hearts.

“Maybe he shouldn’t have reacted the way he did”; “maybe she really did blow this out of proportion.” “Maybe he does have an uncontrollable temper,” and “maybe she really is too stingy.” And “maybe they really have an entirely different world view than my own.” Does it really matter? Isn’t now the time to get past that, get beyond our petty limitations to find the connecting threads of unity?

So, reach out. Pick up your phone and call that person that you haven’t spoken to for months. Get together with that relative. Gather around the Shabbat table. Gather around the beautiful Chanukah lights.

Let us make this year a year full of connections, heart-warming gatherings, of unconditional, absolute unity.

Let’s fight the senseless hatred in our world, with our own senseless love.

Because we want little two-year-old Moishele to grow up in a better world than the one he now knows − a world where there is no room for senseless evil, because it is filled with too much love.

[In honor of the shloshim for Rabbi Gavriel Noach (Gaby) and Rivka (Rivki) Holtzberg, directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, and all the other innocent souls who perished at the hands of terrorists in the Mumbai Terror Attacks.]

Watch a four-minute powerful video of “Senseless Love” on Chana’s In Touch video blog at chabad.org/779256 or chabad.org/InTouch.

Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at cweisberg@chabad.org.

Senseless Love

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

One month ago, humanity woke up to a very dark world.


Has there ever been such a clear-cut line drawn between good and evil, between darkness and light?


As we have all learned by now, Gaby and Rivki Holtzberg were two young Chabad emissaries, only in their twenties, who chose to leave the comforts of home and family to live in far away Mumbai, India, with the sole goal of bringing the light of Torah, of spreading greater joy and meaning to their fellow Jews.


The terrorists were also young  − in their mid-twenties, and they also chose Mumbai as their destination. They too were dedicated to their goal, and spent years in training for it  − but their goal was to darken lives, to bring pain and destruction, and wreak horror and havoc.


And this past week, though our world became a darker place, the clarity between these polar opposites, between good and evil, became as clear as day.


Unfortunately we live in a world where horrors happen. Too often, people die young, children are left orphans. Crimes and wrongs are needlessly perpetrated.


We usually read about these things. We sigh. We say how horrible they are and then moments later we continue on with our lives.


But with this atrocity in Mumbai, somehow we are all not just moving along. It is affecting us. We’re outraged. We’re incensed, consumed with sadness, with pain. We sense that this is somehow more tragic. Because of its senselessness. Because of the clearly drawn lines between the forces of good and the evil.


The end of the book of Daniel is a prophesy about our time, describing events as follows:
At the end of days, things will become abundantly clear. Evil people will be exceedingly evil and good people, devoted to helping others, will shine like the bright stars in the sky.


So how do we react to this? What now?


We need to direct our outrage, our pain.


We need to follow the example of Rivki and Gabi, whose lives were dedicated to unconditional love and unity − of reaching out to every one of their fellow Jews as brothers and sisters, without judgment, without condescension, without focusing on differences − but only with love and unity.


On a very practical level, what does it mean to each of us?


We all have someone, against whom we harbor something −  a grudge, or a hurt that we still hold within our hearts.


“Maybe he shouldn’t have reacted the way he did”; “maybe she really did blow this out of proportion.” “Maybe he does have an uncontrollable temper,” and “maybe she really is too stingy.” And “maybe they really have an entirely different world view than my own.”
Does it really matter? Isn’t now the time to get past that, get beyond our petty limitations to find the connecting threads of unity?


So, reach out. Pick up your phone and call that person that you haven’t spoken to for months. Get together with that relative. Gather around the Shabbat table. Gather around the beautiful Chanukah lights.


Let us make this year a year full of connections, heart-warming gatherings, of unconditional, absolute unity.


Let’s fight the senseless hatred in our world, with our own senseless love.


Because we want little two-year-old Moishele to grow up in a better world than the one he now knows − a world where there is no room for senseless evil, because it is filled with too much love.


[In honor of the shloshim for Rabbi Gavriel Noach (Gaby) and Rivka (Rivki) Holtzberg, directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, and all the other innocent souls who perished at the hands of terrorists in the Mumbai Terror Attacks.]


Watch a four-minute powerful video of “Senseless Love” on Chana’s In Touch video blog at chabad.org/779256 or chabad.org/InTouch.


Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at cweisberg@chabad.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/senseless-love/2008/12/24/

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