Is what you think about Chabad MYTH or FACT?
You may be surprised. Take a few minutes to browse through these FAQ’s and you’ll have a better understanding of what Chabad is all about.
Q: What is Chabad?
A: Chabad is a worldwide movement that spreads Jewish awareness to all Jews whether male or female, old or young. Its roots are in White Russia in a small town by the name of Lubavitch. The word Chabad is an acronym for Chachmah, Binah, Daat, which means wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The idea is to turn intellect to action.
Simply put, Chabad’s message is “don’t just think it, do it”. This is exactly what Chabad does. Chabad Houses can be found in every part of the world, such as, Tasmania, Russia, Hawaii, and Bangkok and in each one of those places Chabad is doing everything it can to help Jews lead a more meaningful Jewish life. Today, there are over 2600 Chabad centers in 60 countries throughout the world.
Q: To participate in programs offered by Chabad, do I have to be orthodox, a beginner, or just looking for some rich life experience?
A: Chabad is inclusive and non-judgmental, and our programs are open to all students and young people. In fact, the people who participate in Chabad programs are of such diverse backgrounds and hold of a variety of different beliefs, it is impossible to categorize them. The teachings of Chabad are imbued with Chassidic spirit and joy, and the basic principal that all of G-d’s creations are equally vital-and therefore, equally respected.
Q: Is it the goal of Chabad to make me Orthodox?
A: Chabad is not out to make anyone Orthodox. Chabad is an educational organization dedicated to Jewish knowledge, enthusiasm, and pride. Chabad invites you to explore the complex areas of Jewish faith, tradition, and practice in an open-minded and non-judgmental atmosphere. We feel that with knowledge, one will have the power to make truly informed decisions about Judaism and the role it should play in one’s life. Each individual is invited to participate, study, and learn. Each individual makes his or her own respective religious lifestyle decisions.
Q: Then what is the goal of Chabad?
A: Central to Chabad’s philosophy is that the world was created with a great purpose in mind. That purpose is peace for everyone, everywhere. In classic Jewish literature, this time of peace is referred to as redemption. Redemption is a time when people will no longer suffer, and there will be no more war. The great Jewish sages teach that humankind can achieve this era of peace through a pervasive and conscious effort to be more kind to one another – from the thoughts we think, to the words we speak, down to the details of our daily actions.
Q: Does Chabad consider Reform, Conservative, or non-practicing Jews as “real” Jews?
A: Chabad avoids labeling other Jews, since it tends to divide and create barriers. Jewish Law has traditionally considered anyone born of a Jewish mother or converted in accordance with Jewish Law to be a Jew, regardless of his or her degree of observance.
Q: Does Chabad support Israel?
A: Chabad is deeply involved in defending Israel and its right to exist, throughout all its boundaries. Many Chabad Chassidim serve in the Israeli Defense Forces and others contribute practical and spiritual support to the troops. Chabad has over 150 centers in Israel, as well as dozens of educational facilities around the country. Chabad trained Rabbis often complete their training is Israeli yeshivot.
Q: Is the Chabad House financed by its headquarters in New York?
A: It is Chabad policy that each center is supported by the community it serves. All funding for local Chabad programs is solicited locally. No money is sent to international Chabad headquarters in New York. All funds donated remain right here in our community.
Q: Do women occupy a secondary position in Chabad philosophy and communal life?
A: A position different from the position of men, yes. Secondary to the status of men, No! The high standing position of Jewish women in Chabad is central to the survival of Judaism; historically women have served as leaders, prophetesses, educators, and yes, mothers. Jewish women are the cornerstone of the Jewish family-whether they have another career outside the home or not. In turn, the Jewish family is the cornerstone of Jewish life and survival.
Through pathways unique to women, Judaism offers women equal potential to attain a profound and meaningful spirituality, one that fulfills her deepest needs and aspirations opening fresh perspectives on self-understanding, growth and Torah knowledge. Ignorance, misconceptions, and outright myths about Jewish women have prevailed until very recently, turning many people away from an appreciation of Torah and a traditional Jewish lifestyle. Chabad is working to correct those misconceptions.
Q: All this is great, but how do I join?
A: We’re open to every Jewish student & young person that moves! Email us at Rabbi@ChabadLive.com or subscribe to our mailing list on the home page and find out about all the resources we have available for you.
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