Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, Habad and Chabad-Lubavitch (
Hebrew: חב"ד), is an
Orthodox JewishHasidic dynasty. Chabad is one of the world's best-known
Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups and Jewish religious organizations in the world. Unlike most
Haredi groups, which are self-segregating, Chabad operates mainly in the wider world and caters to secularized Jews.
In 1951, Rabbi
Menachem Mendel Schneerson formally accepted the leadership as the seventh Chabad Rebbe. He transformed the movement into one of the most widespread Jewish movements in the world today. Under his leadership, Chabad established a large network of institutions that seek to satisfy religious, social and humanitarian needs across the world. Chabad institutions provide
outreach to unaffiliated Jews and humanitarian aid, as well as religious, cultural and educational activities. Prior to his death in 1994, Schneerson was believed by some of his followers to be the
Messiah, with his own position on the matter debated among scholars.
Messianic ideology in Chabad sparked controversy in various Jewish communities and is still an unresolved matter. Following his death, no successor was appointed as a new central leader.
Marcin Wodziński estimated that the Chabad movement accounted for 13% of the global Hasidic population. The total number of Chabad households is estimated to be between 16,000 and 17,000. The number of those who sporadically or regularly attend Chabad events is far larger; in 2005 the
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported that up to one million Jews attend Chabad services at least once a year. In a 2020 study, the
Pew Research Center found that 16% of American Jews attend Chabad services regularly or semi-regularly.
While the movement spawned a number of
offshoot groups throughout its history, the Chabad-Lubavitch branch is the only one still active, making it the movement's main surviving line. Historian
Jonathan Sarna has characterized Chabad as having enjoyed the fastest rate of growth of any Jewish religious movement in the period 1946–2015.
In the early 1900s, Chabad-Lubavitch legally incorporated itself under
Agudas Chasidei Chabad ("Association of Chabad Hasidim").
Early community histories of Chabad produced by members or former members of the Chabad community include Toldot Amudei HaChabad (Konigsberg, 1876) by
Michael Levi Rodkinson and Beit Rebbe (Berdichev, 1902) by Hayim Meir Heilman.
The Chabad movement has been led by a succession of Hasidic
rebbes. The main line of the movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, has had seven rebbes in total:
Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812), founded the Chabad movement in the town of Liozna. He later moved the movement's center to the town of Liadi. Rabbi Shneur Zalman was the youngest disciple of Rabbi
Dovber of Mezritch, the principal disciple and successor of Rabbi
Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism. The Chabad movement began as a separate school of thought within the Hasidic movement, focusing of the spread of Hasidic mystical teachings using logical reasoning (creating a kind of Jewish "rational-mysticism"). Shneur Zalman's main work is the
Tanya (or Sefer Shel Beinonim, Book of the Average Man). The Tanya is the central book of Chabad thought and is studied daily by followers of the Chabad movement. Shneur Zalman's other works include a collection of writings on Hasidic thought, and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, a revised version of the code of
Jewish law, both of which are studied regularly by followers of Chabad. Shneur Zalman's successors went by last names such as "Schneuri" and "Schneersohn" (later "Schneerson"), signifying their descent from the movement's founder. He is commonly referred to as the Alter Rebbe (
Yiddish: אַלטער רבי) or Admur Hazoken (
Hebrew: אדמו״ר הזקן) ("Old Rebbe").
Dovber Schneuri (1773–1827), son of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, led the Chabad movement in the town of Lyubavichi (Lubavitch). His leadership was initially disputed by Rabbi
Aaron Halevi of Stroselye, however, Rabbi Dovber was generally recognized as his father's rightful successor, and the movement's leader. Rabbi Dovber published a number of his writings on Hasidic thought, greatly expanding his father's work. He also published some of his father's writings. Many of Rabbi Dovber's works have been subsequently republished by the Chabad movement. He is commonly referred to as the Mitteler Rebbe (
Yiddish: מיטעלער רבי), or Admur Ha'emtzoei (
Hebrew: אדמו״ר האמצעי) (Middle Rebbe).
Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (1789–1866), a grandson of Rabbi Shneur Zalman and son-in-law of Rabbi Dovber. Following his attempt to persuade the Chabad movement to accept his brother-in-law or uncle as rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel assumed the title of rebbe of Chabad, also leading the movement from the town of Lyubavichi (Lubavitch). He published a number of his works on both Hasidic thought and Jewish law. Rabbi Menachem Mendel also published some of the works of his grandfather, Rabbi Shneur Zalman. He is commonly referred to as the Tzemach Tzedek, after the title of his
Shmuel Schneersohn (1834–1882), was the seventh and youngest son of Rabbi Menachem Mendel. He assumed the title of rebbe in town of Lyubavichi (Lubavitch), while several of his brothers assumed the title of rebbe in other towns, forming
Chabad groups of their own which existed for several decades. Years after his death, his teachings were published by the Chabad movement. He is commonly referred to as the Maharash, an acronym for Moreinu HaRav Shmuel ("our teacher, Rabbi Shmuel").
Shalom Dovber Schneersohn (1860–1920), Shmuel's second son, succeeded his father as rebbe. Rabbi Shalom Dovber waited some time before officially accepting the title of rebbe, as not to offend his elder brother, Zalman Aaron. He established a
Tomchei Temimim. During
World War I, he moved to
Rostov-on-Don. Many of his writings were published after his death, and are studied regularly in Chabad yeshivas. He is commonly referred to as the Rashab, an acronym for "Rabbi Shalom Ber".
Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880–1950), the only son of Sholom Dovber, succeeded his father as rebbe of Chabad. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak was exiled from Russia, following an attempt by the
Bolshevik government to have him executed. He led the movement from
Poland, until the start of
World War II. After fleeing the
Nazis, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak lived in
New York until his death. He established much of Chabad's current organizational structure, founding several of its central organizations as well as other Chabad institutions, both local and international. He published a number of his writings, as well as the works of his predecessors. He is commonly referred to as the Rayatz, or the Frierdiker Rebbe ("Previous Rebbe").
Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994), son-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, and a great-grandson of the third Rebbe of Lubavitch, assumed the title of rebbe one year after his father-in-law's death. Rabbi Menachem Mendel greatly expanded Chabad's global network, establishing hundreds of new Chabad centers across the globe. He published many of his own works as well as the works of his predecessors. His teachings are studied regularly by followers of Chabad. He is commonly referred to as "the Lubavitcher Rebbe", or simply "the Rebbe". Even after his death, many continue to revere him as the leader of the Chabad movement.
Oppression and resurgence in Russia
The Chabad movement was subject to government oppression in Russia. The Russian government, first under the
Czar, later under the
Bolsheviks, imprisoned all but one of the Chabad rebbes. The Bolsheviks also imprisoned, exiled and executed a number of Chabad Hasidim. During the Second World War, many Chabad Hasidim evacuated to the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Tashkent where they established small centers of Hasidic life, while at the same time seeking ways to emigrate from Soviet Russia due to the government's suppression of religious life. The reach of Chabad in Central Asia also included earlier efforts that took place in the 1920s. Following the war, and well after the center of the Chabad movement moved to the United States, the movement remained active in Soviet Russia, aiding the local Jews known as
Refuseniks who sought to learn more about Judaism. And throughout the Soviet era, the Chabad movement maintained a secret network across the USSR. Since the
dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, state persecution of Chabad ceased. The
Chief Rabbi of Russia,
Berel Lazar, a Chabad emissary, maintains warm relations with Russian President
Vladimir Putin. Lazar also received the
Order of Friendship and
Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" medals from him.
Relations with other Hasidic groups
The relations between the seventh Chabad Rebbe and the leaders of other Orthodox groups were recorded by Chabad author Rabbi
Shalom Dov Wolpo in his three volume anthology titled Shemen Sasson MeChaveirecha.
In the 1980s, tensions arose between Chabad and
Satmar Chasidim as a result of several assaults on Chabad hasidim by Satmar hasidim.
Chabad's influence among world Jewry has been far reaching since
World War II. Chabad pioneered the post-World War II
Jewish outreach movement, which spread Judaism to many assimilated Jews worldwide, leading to a substantial number of baalei teshuva ("returnees" to Judaism). The very first Yeshiva/Rabbinical College for such baalei teshuva,Hadar Hatorah, was established by the Lubavitcher rebbe. It is reported that up to a million Jews attend Chabad services at least once a year.
Steven I. Weiss, Chabad's ideology has dramatically influenced non-Hasidic Jews' outreach practice. Because of its outreach to all Jews, including those quite alienated from religious Jewish tradition, Chabad has been described as the one Orthodox group which evokes great affection from large segments of American Jewry.
Chabad Hasidic philosophy focuses on religious and spiritual concepts such as God, the soul, and the meaning of the Jewish commandments. Classical Judaic writings and Jewish mysticism, especially the
Zohar and the
Kabbalah of Rabbi
Isaac Luria, are frequently cited in Chabad works. These texts are used both as sources of Chabad teachings and as material requiring interpretation by Chabad authors. Many of these teachings discuss what is commonly referred to as bringing "heaven down to earth", i.e. making this world a dwelling place for God. Chabad philosophy is rooted in the teachings of Rabbis
Yisroel ben Eliezer, (the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism) and
Dovber ben Avraham, the "Maggid of Mezritch" (Rabbi Yisroel's successor).
Rabbi Shneur Zalman's teachings, particularly in the Tanya, formed the basis of Chabad philosophy, as expanded by succeeding generations. Many Chabad activities today are understood as applications of Shneur Zalman's teachings.
The Tanya (
Hebrew: תניא) is a book by Rabbi Shneur Zalman first published in 1797. It is the first schematic treatment of
Hasidic moral philosophy and its metaphysical foundations.
According to the Tanya, the intellect consists of three interconnected processes: Chochma (wisdom), Bina (understanding), and Da'at (knowledge). While other branches of Hasidism focused primarily on the idea that "God desires the heart," Shneur Zalman argued that God also desires the mind, and that the mind is the "gateway" to the heart. With the Chabad philosophy he elevated the mind above the heart, arguing that "understanding is the mother of fear and love for God".
The Tanya has five sections. The original name of the first section is Sefer Shel Beinonim, the "Book of the Intermediates". It is also known as Likutei Amarim ("Collected Sayings"). Sefer Shel Beinonim analyzes the inner struggle of the individual and the path to resolution. Citing the biblical verse "the matter is very near to you, in your mouth, your heart, to do", the philosophy is based on the notion that the human is not inherently evil; rather, every individual has an inner conflict that is characterized by two different inclinations, the good and the bad.
Chabad often contrasted itself with what is termed the Chagat schools of Hasidism. While all schools of Hasidism put a central focus on the emotions, Chagat saw emotions as a reaction to physical stimuli, such as dancing, singing, or beauty. Shneur Zalman, on the other hand, taught that the emotions must be led by the mind, and thus the focus of Chabad thought was to be
Torah study and prayer rather than
esotericism and song. As a Talmudist, Shneur Zalman endeavored to place Kabbalah and Hasidism on a rational basis. In Tanya, he defines his approach as moach shalit al halev (
Hebrew: מוח שליט על הלב, "the brain ruling the heart").
An adherent of Chabad is called a Chabad Chasid (or Hasid) (
Hebrew: חסיד חב"ד), a Lubavitcher (
Yiddish: ליובאַוויטשער), a Chabadnik (
Hebrew: חבדניק), or a Chabadsker (
Yiddish: חבדסקער). Chabad's adherents include both Hasidic followers, as well as non-Hasidim, who have joined Chabad synagogues and other Chabad-run institutions.
The Chabad community consists of the followers (Hasidim) of the Chabad rebbes. Originally based in Eastern Europe, today, various Chabad communities span the globe; communities with high concentrations of Chabad's Hasidic followers include
Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and
Kfar Chabad, Israel.
According to sociologists studying contemporary Jewry, the Chabad movement fits into neither the standard category of
Haredi nor that of
modern Orthodox among Orthodox Jews. This is due in part to the existence of the number of Chabad supporters and affiliates who are not Orthodox (dubbed by some scholars as "non-Orthodox Hasidim"), the general lack of official recognition of political and religious distinctions within Judaism and the open relationship with non-Orthodox Jews represented by the activism of Chabad emissaries.
In 2018, the first global demographic estimate of Hasidim was conducted based on community directories for Hasidic communities. The estimate for Chabad's demographic size is approximately 13% of Hasidim globally, accounting for 16,000–17,000 households or 90,000–95,000 individuals. Prior to this study, the demographic accounts on the Chabad movement varied greatly. Compared to other Hasidic groups, Chabad was thought to be either the largest, or the third or fourth largest Hasidic movement. Chabad adherents were often reported to number some 200,000 persons. Some scholars pointed to the lack of quantitative data to back this claim,[failed verification] while some placed the number of Chabad followers at around 40,000 but note that the number may be higher if the non-Hasidic Jews who join Chabad synagogues are included as well. In 2018,
Marcin Wodziński produced his Historical Atlas of Hasidism which used Chabad community directories to establish that Chabad included over 16,000 Hasidic households, translating to over 90,000 individuals, making the group the second largest Hasidic community after the
Ronald Reagan receives menorah from the "American Friends of Lubavitch," White House, 1984
Estimates for Chabad and other Hasidic groups are often based on extrapolation from the limited information available in US census data for some of the areas where Hasidim live. A 2006 estimate was drawn from a study on the Montreal Chabad community (determining average household size), in conjunction with language and other select indicators from US census data, it is estimated that Chabad in the United States includes approximately 4,000 households, which contains between 22,000 and 25,000 people. In terms of Chabad's relation to other Hasidic groups, within the New York metropolitan area, Chabad in the New York area accounts for around 15% of the total New York Hasidic population. Chabad is estimated to have an annual growth of 3.6%.
Crown Heights – The Crown Heights Chabad community's estimated size is 10,000 to 12,000 or 12,000 to 16,000. In 2006, extrapolating based on census data, it was estimated that the Chabad community in Crown Heights make up some 11,000. It was estimated that between 25% to 35% of Chabad Hasidim in Crown Heights speak
Yiddish. This figure is significantly lower than other Hasidic groups and may be attributed to the addition of previously non-Hasidic Jews to the community. It was also estimated that over 20% of Chabad Hasidim in Crown Heights speak Hebrew or Russian. The Crown Heights Chabad community has its own
Beis Din (rabbinical court) and
Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC).
Chabad hipsters – Beginning from the late 2000s through the 2010s, a minor trend of cross acculturation of Chabad Hasidim and contemporary
hipster subculture appeared within the New York City
Jewish community. According to The Jewish Daily Forward, a significant number of members of the Chabad Hasidic community, mostly residing in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, appear to now have adopted various
cultural affinities of the local hipster subculture. These members are referred to as Chabad hipsters or Hipster Hasidim.
Student body in the United States
The report findings of studies on
Jewish day schools and supplementary Jewish education in the United States show that the student body currently enrolled in some 295 Chabad schools exceeds 20,750, although this figure includes Chabad Hasidic children as well as non-Chabad children.
Kfar Chabad – Kfar Chabad's estimated size is 5,100; the residents of the town are believed to all be Chabad adherents. This estimate is based on figures published by the
Israeli Census Bureau. Other estimates place the community population at around 7,000.
Safed – The Chabad community in Safed (or Tzfat) originates from the wave of Eastern European immigration to Israel of 1777–1840. The Chabad community established synagogues and institutions in Safed. The early settlement declined by the 20th century but was renewed following an initiative by the seventh rebbe in the early 1970s, which reestablished the Chabad community in the city. Rabbi Yeshaya HaLevi Horowitz (1883–1978), a Safed native and direct descendant of Rabbi
Yeshaya Horowitz, author of the Shnei Luchot HaBrit, served as the rabbi of the Chabad community in Safed from 1908 until his immigration to the U.S. during World War I. Members of the Chabad community run a number of outreach efforts during the Jewish holidays. Activities include blowing the shofar for the elderly on
Rosh Hashana, reading the
Megilla for hospital patients on Purim and setting up a Sukka on the town's main street during the Succoth holiday.
The Chabad community in France is estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000. The majority of the Chabad community in France are the descendants of immigrants from North Africa (specifically Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) during the 1960s.
Montreal – The estimated size of the Chabad community of Greater Montreal is 1,590. The estimate is taken from a 2003 community study. The Chabad community in Montreal originated sometime before 1931. While early works on Canadian Jewry make little or no mention of early Hasidic life in Canada, later researchers have documented Chabad's accounts in Canada starting from the 1900s and 1910s.
Steven Lapidus notes that there is mention of two Chabad congregations in a 1915 article in the Canadian Jewish Chronicle listing the delegates of the first
Canadian Jewish Conference. One congregation is listed as Chabad of Toronto, and the other is simply listed as "Libavitzer Congregation". The sociologist
William Shaffir has noted that some Chabad Hasidim and sympathizers did reside in Montreal before 1941 but does not elaborate further. Steven Lapidus notes that in a 1931 obituary published in Keneder Odler, a Canadian Yiddish newspaper, the deceased Rabbi
Menashe Lavut is credited as the founder of Anshei Chabad in Montreal and the Nusach Ari synagogue. Thus the Chabad presence in Montreal predates 1931.
Although the Chabad movement was founded in Eastern Europe, a center of
Ashkenazic Jewry, it has attracted a significant number of
Sephardi Jews as adherents in the past several decades. Some Chabad communities are now a mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chabad Hasidim. In Montreal, close to 25% of Chabad households include a Sephardi parent.
Passover – It is customary in Chabad communities, on Passover, to limit contact of matzah (an unleavened bread eaten on Passover) with water. This custom is called gebrokts (
Yiddish: געבראָכטס, lit. 'broken'). However, on the last day of Passover, it is customary to intentionally have matzah come in contact with water.
Chanukah – It is the custom of Chabad Hasidim to place the Chanukah
menorah against the room's doorpost (and not on the windowsill).
Prayer – The founder of Chabad wrote a very specific liturgy for the daily and festival prayers based on the teachings of the Kabbalists, primarily the
The founder of Chabad also instituted various other
halachic rulings, including the use of stainless steel knives for the slaughter of animals before human consumption, which are now universally accepted in all sects of Judaism.
There are a number of days marked by the Chabad movement as special days. Major holidays include the liberation dates[clarification needed] of the leaders of the movement, the rebbes of Chabad, others corresponded to the leaders' birthdays, anniversaries of death, and other life events.
The days marking the leaders' release, are celebrated by the Chabad movement as "Days of Liberation" (
Hebrew: יום גאולה (Yom Geulah)). The most noted day is Yud Tes Kislev—the liberation of Rabbi
Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement. The day is also called the "New Year of Hasidism".
Local Chabad centers and institutions are usually incorporated as separate legal entities.
As of 2020 there were over 3,500 Chabad centers in 100 countries. The Chabad movement's online directory lists around 1,350 Chabad institutions. This number includes schools and other Chabad-affiliated establishments. The number of Chabad centers vary per country; the majority are in the United States and Israel. There are over 100 countries with a small Chabad presence.
In total, according to its directory, Chabad maintains a presence in 950 cities around the world: 178 in Europe, 14 in Africa, 200 in Israel, 400 in North America, 38 in South America, and about 70 in Asia (excluding Israel, including Russia).
A Chabad house is a form of
Jewish community center, primarily serving both educational and observance purposes.[failed verification] Often, until the community can support its own center, the Chabad house is located in the shaliach's home, with the living room being used as the "synagogue". Effort is made to provide an atmosphere in which the nonobservant will not feel intimidated by any perceived contrast between their lack of knowledge of Jewish practice and the advanced knowledge of some of the people they meet there. The term "Chabad House" originated with the creation of the first such outreach center on the campus of
UCLA by Rabbi
Shlomo Cunin. A key to the Chabad house was given to the Rebbe and he asked if that meant that the new house was his home. He was told yes and he replied, "My hand will be on the door of this house to keep it open twenty-four hours a day for young and old, men and women alike."
Followers of Chabad can be seen attending to
tefillin booths at the
Western Wall and
Ben Gurion International Airport as well as other public places, and distributing
Shabbat candles on Fridays. Chabad rabbis and their families are sent to various major cities around the globe, to teach college students, build day schools, and create youth camps. Many of these efforts are geared towards secular or less religious
Jews. Additionally, unmarried rabbinical students spend weeks during the summer in locations that do not yet have a permanent Chabad presence, making housecalls, putting up
mezuzot and teaching about Judaism. This is known as Merkos Shlichus.
Rabbi Schneerson also encouraged the use of modern technology in outreach efforts such as
Mitzva tanks, which are mobile homes that travel a city or country. The Chabad website,
chabad.org, a pioneer of Jewish religious outreach on the
Internet, was started by Rabbi Yosef Y. Kazen and developed by Rabbi D. Zirkind.
In June 1994, Rabbi Schneerson died with no successor. Since then, over two thousand couples have taken up communal leadership roles in outreach, bringing the estimated total number of "Shluchim" to over five thousand worldwide.
Funds for activities of a Chabad center rely entirely on the local community. Chabad centers do not receive funding from Lubavitch headquarters. For the day-to-day operations, local emissaries do all the fundraising by themselves.
Chabad emissaries often solicit the support of local Jews. Funds are used toward purchasing or renovating Chabad centers, synagogues and mikvahs.
The Chabad movement has been involved in numerous activities in contemporary Jewish life. These activities include providing Jewish education to different age groups, outreach to non-affiliated Jews, publishing Jewish literature, and summer camps for children, among other activities.
Chabad runs a number of educational institutions. Most are
Jewish day schools; others offer secondary and adult education.
Day schools – In the United States, there are close to 300 day schools and supplementary schools run by Chabad.
Secondary schools – Chabad runs multiple secondary education institutions, most notable are
Tomchei Tmimim for young men, and
Bais Rivka for young women.
Many of the movement's activities emphasize outreach activities. This is due to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson encouraging his followers to reach out to other Jews. Chabad outreach includes activities promoting the practice of Jewish commandments (
Mitzvah campaigns), as well as other forms of Jewish outreach. Much of Chabad's outreach is performed by Chabad emissaries (see
Shaliach (Chabad)). Most of the communities that Chabad emissaries reach out to are other Jewish communities, such as
Each sent out large numbers of rabbinic emissaries, known as "
Shluchim", to settle in places across the world for outreach purposes. The centers that these
Shluchim established were termed "
Chabad has been active in reaching out to Jews through its synagogues, and various forms of more direct outreach efforts. The organization has been recognized as one of the leaders in using free holiday services to reach out across denominations.
The Rebbes of Chabad have issued the call to all Jews to attract non-observant Jews to adopt Orthodox Jewish observance, teaching that this activity is part of the process of bringing the Messiah. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson issued a call to every Jew: "Even if you are not fully committed to a Torah life, do something. Begin with a
mitzvah — any mitzvah – its value will not be diminished by the fact that there are others that you are not prepared to do".
In addition, Schneerson emphasized spreading awareness of preparing for and the coming of the moshiach, consistent with his philosophy. He wrote on the responsibility to reach out to teach every fellow Jew with love, and implored that all Jews believe in the imminent coming of the moshiach as explained by
Maimonides. He argued that redemption was predicated on Jews doing good deeds, and that gentiles should be educated about the
Following the initiative of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson spurred on the movement to what has become known as shlichus ("serving as an emissary [performing outreach]") in 1950–1951. As a result, Chabad shluchim ("emissaries", sing. shliach) have moved all over the world with the stated mission of encouraging non-observant Jews to adopt Orthodox Jewish observance. They assist Jews with all their religious needs, as well as with physical assistance and spiritual guidance and teaching. The stated goal is to encourage Jews to learn more about their Jewish heritage and to practice Judaism.
The Chabad movement, motivated by Schneerson, has trained and
ordained thousands of rabbis, educators, ritual slaughterers, and
ritual circumcisers, who are then accompanied by their spouses to many locations around the world. Typically, a young Lubavitch rabbi and his wife, in their early twenties, with one or two children, will move to a new location, and as they settle in will raise a large family who, as a family unit, will aim to fulfill their mandate of bringing Jewish people closer to Orthodox Judaism and encouraging gentiles to adhere to the
Seven Laws of Noah. To date, there are around 5000 shluchim in 100 countries.
A mitzvah tank is a vehicle used by Chabad members involved in outreach as a portable "educational and outreach center" and "mini-synagogue" (or "minagogue"). Mitzvah tanks are commonly used for advancing the mitzvah campaigns. Mitzvah tanks have been commonplace on the streets of New York City since 1974. Today, they are used all over the globe in countries where Chabad is active.
In recent years, Chabad has greatly expanded its outreach on university and college campuses. Chabad Student Centers are active on over 100 campuses, and Chabad offers varied activities at an additional 150 universities worldwide.[failed verification] Professor
Alan Dershowitz has said "Chabad's presence on college campuses today is absolutely crucial," and "we cannot rest until Chabad is on every major college campus in the world."
CTeen is an international organization dedicated to educating Jewish youth about their heritage. It is the teen-focused arm of the Chabad movement operated by
Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch. There are over 100,000 members worldwide with 630 chapters across 44 countries. CTeen is open to all Jewish teens, regardless of affiliation, and has been called “the fastest growing and most diverse Jewish youth organization in the world.”
The organization was launched in 2010, and operates worldwide in cities such as Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Leeds, Munich, Buenos Aires and New York. Its director is Rabbi Shimon Rivkin, and Rabbi
Moshe Kotlarsky serves as chairman. Individual chapters and programs are managed by local directors.
Picture of room '302'
CTeen runs a number of ongoing and annual programs, some of which include:
CTeen International Shabbaton, an annual inspirational weekend that brings together thousands of teens from around the world. The program includes a traditional Shabbat experience in the heart of Hasidic Crown Heights, a Torah completion ceremony in Times Square, and the CTeen Choice Awards at Brooklyn's Pier 12. The weekend includes a Saturday night concert in Times Square with guest performances by singers such as
Yakov Shwekey and American Hasidic rapper
CTeen XTREME, a summer travel camp where campers challenge themselves both physically and spiritually by partaking in extreme sports, observing a completely tech-free Shabbat, and keeping kosher on the road.
CTeen U, a college-accredited program where teens learn about Jewish philosophy, ethics and history. The program was launched in 2019 through a partnership with
Heritage Quest, educational travel programs that aim to deepen the connection of Jewish teens to their heritage through trips to
Israel, offering teens the chance to explore their roots at the source.
Kosher Food Club, a co-curricular high school club operating in over fifty high schools throughout the
United States that serves as a humanitarian initiative to promote healthy lifestyles, feed the homeless, and provide educational and hands-on experiences making traditional Jewish foods.
National Campus Office — coordinator of
Chabad on Campus, a network of Jewish Student Centers on more than 230 university campuses worldwide (as of April 2016), as well as regional Chabad-Lubavitch centers at an additional 150 universities worldwide
Suicide Alert, workshops that equip teens to assist peers dealing with anxiety and depression resulting from the
COVID-19 pandemic. The workshops have been organized by CTeen chapters in Florida, New Hampshire and New Jersey, among others, in partnership with the Gelt Charitable Foundation.
Targeting the demographic of young professionals, Chabad's new initiative focuses on social events and business networking to fuel Jewish activity in young professional's lives. With seminars on career advancement, social gatherings for Jewish holidays, and the ability to connect with other like-minded Jews in the area, Chabad Young Professionals (CYP) combines networking and meaning into many young people's lives.
Chabad publishes and distributes Jewish religious literature. Under
Kehot Publication Society, Chabad's main publishing house,
Jewish literature has been translated into 12 different languages. Kehot regularly provides books at discounted prices, and hosts book-a-thons. Kehot commonly distributes books written or transcribed from the rebbes of Chabad, prominent
chassidim and other authors who have written Jewish materials.
More than any other Jewish movement, Chabad has used media as part of its religious, social, and political experience. Their latest leader, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the most video-documented Jewish leader in history.[page needed]
The Chabad movement publishes a wealth of Jewish material on the internet. Chabad's main website
Chabad.org, is one of the first Jewish websites and the first and largest virtual congregation. It serves not just its own members but Jewish people worldwide in general.
Chabad has set up an extensive
network of camps around the world, most using the name Gan Israel, a name chosen by Schneerson although the first overnight camp was the girls division called Camp Emunah. There are 1,200 sites serving 210,000 children – most of whom do not come from
Orthodox homes. Of these, 500 camps are in the United States.
Rabbi Schneerson involved himself in matters relating to the resolution of the
Israeli-Arab conflict. He maintained that as a matter of Jewish law, any territorial concession on Israel's part would endanger the lives of all Jews in the Land of Israel, and is therefore forbidden. He also insisted that even discussing the possibility of such concessions showed weakness, would encourage Arab attacks, and therefore endanger Jewish lives.
In US domestic politics, Schneerson supported government involvement in education and welcomed the establishment of the
United States Department of Education in 1980, yet insisted that part of a school's educational mission was to incorporate the values espoused in the
Seven Laws of Noah. He called for the introduction of a
moment of silence at the beginning of the school day, and for students to be encouraged to use this time for such improving thoughts or prayers as their parents might suggest.
In 1981, Schneerson publicly called for the use of solar energy. Schneerson believed that the US could achieve energy independence by developing solar energy technologies. He argued that the dependence on foreign oil may lead to the country compromising on its principles.
Several movement-wide controversies have occurred in Chabad's 200-year history. Two major leadership succession controversies occurred in the 19th century; one took place in the 1810s following the death of the movement's founder, the other occurred in the 1860s following the death of the third Rebbe. Two other minor offshoot groups were formed later in the movement's history. The movement's other major controversy is Chabad messianism, which began in the 1990s.
A number of groups have split from the Chabad movement, forming their own Hasidic groups, and at times positioning themselves as possible successors of previous Chabad rebbes. Following the deaths of the first and third rebbes of Chabad, disputes arose over their succession.
Following the death of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Chabad rebbe, a dispute over his succession led to a break within the movement. While the recognized successor was his oldest son, Rabbi
Dovber Schneuri, a student of Rabbi
Schneur Zalman, Rabbi
Aaron HaLevi assumed the title of rebbe, and led a number of followers from the town of Strashelye (forming the
Strashelye dynasty). The new group had two rebbes, Rabbi Aaron and his son Rabbi
Haim Rephael. The new group eventually disbanded following Rabbi Haim Rephael's death. One of the main points the two rabbis disagreed on was the place of
spiritual ecstasy in prayer. R' Aaron supported the idea while Rabbi Dovber emphasized genuine ecstasy can only be a result of meditative contemplation (
hisbonenus). Rabbi Dovber published his arguments on the subject in a compilation titled Kuntres Hispa'alus ("Tract on Ecstasy").
Following the death of the third Chabad rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (the Tzemach Tzedek), a dispute over his succession led to the formation of several Chabad groups. While Rabbi
Shmuel Schneersohn was recognized as the heir to the Chabad-Lubavitch line, several of his brothers formed groups of their own in the towns of
Kopys (forming the
Nezhin (forming the
Lyady (forming the
Liadi dynasty), and
Ovruch (forming the
Avrutch dynasty). The lifespan of these groups varied; Niezhin and Avrutch had one rebbe each, Liadi had three rebbes, and Kapust had four. Following the deaths of their last rebbes, these groups eventually disbanded.
Two other minor offshoot groups were formed by Chabad Hasidim. The
Malachim were formed as a quasi-Hasidic group. The group claims to recognize the teachings of the first four rebbes of Chabad, thus rivaling the later Chabad rebbes. The Malachim's first and only rebbe, Rabbi
Chaim Avraham Dov Ber Levine haCohen (1859/1860–1938), also known as "The Malach" (lit. "the angel"), was a follower of the fourth and fifth rebbes of Chabad. While Levine's son chose not to succeed him, the Malachim group continues to maintain a yeshiva and
Following the death of the seventh Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, an attempt by
Shaul Shimon Deutsch to form a breakaway Chabad movement, with Deutsch as "Liozna Rebbe", failed to gain popular support.
A few years prior to Schneerson's death, some members of the Chabad movement expressed their belief that Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the Jewish messiah. Those subscribing to the beliefs have been termed meshichists (messianists). A typical statement of belief for Chabad messianists is the song and chant known as yechi adoneinu ("long live our master",
Hebrew: יחי אדונינו). Customs vary among messianists as to when the phrase is recited.
Since 1994, most of[failed verification] Chabad persists in the belief in Schneerson as the Jewish messiah. Chabad messianists either believe Schneerson will be
resurrected from the dead to be revealed as the messiah, or go further and profess the belief that Schneerson never died in 1994 and is waiting to be revealed as messiah. The Chabad messianic phenomenon has been met mostly with public concerns or opposition from non-Chabad Jewish leaders.
Artist and shaliachYitzchok Moully has adapted silkscreen techniques, bright colours and Jewish and Hasidic images to create a form of "Chasidic Pop Art".
Avraham Fried and
Benny Friedman have included recordings of traditional Chabad songs on their albums of contemporary Orthodox Jewish music. Bluegrass artist
Andy Statman has also recorded Chabad spiritual melodies (niggunim).
Matisyahu has included portions of Chabad niggunim and lyrics with Chabad philosophical themes in some of his songs.
In the late 1930s, Dr Fishl Schneersohn, a psychiatrist, pedagogical theorist, and descendant of the founder of Chabad authored a Yiddish novel titled Chaim Gravitzer: The Tale of the Downfallen One from the World of Chabad. The novel explores the spiritual struggle of a Chabad Hasid who doubts his faith and finally finds peace in doing charitable work.
Chaim Potok authored a work My Name is Asher Lev in which a Hasidic teen struggles between his artistic passions and the norms of the community. The "Ladover" community is a thinly veiled reference to the Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights.
Zvi Yair has written poems on Chabad philosophical topics including Ratzo V'Shov (spiritual yearning).
The American Jewish writer and publisher,
Clifford Meth, wrote a short science fiction story depicting the future followers of the "70th Rebbe" of Chabad and their outreach efforts on an alien planet called Tau Ceti IV. The story is told through the eyes of a young extraterrestrial yeshiva student.
The American Jewish writer and publisher, Richard Horowitz, wrote a memoir, The Boys Yeshiva, describing his time teaching at a Chabad yeshiva in Los Angeles.
Leaving the Fold – a 2008 documentary on young men and women who left the Hasidic Jewish community. The film was directed by
Eric R. Scott and the stories featured include former Hasidic Jews living in the United States, Israel and Canada. Featured in the film are two young men from a Chabad family in Montreal as well as a French Lubavitch rabbi.
Outback Rabbis – (2018) 50 min television segment by Australian TV network, SBS, covering the regional and rural Australia (RARA) program of Chabad. Directed by Danny Ben-Moshe. Featured on the SBS "Untold Australia" series.
^"The Former Soviet Union". Chabad.org. The communists persecuted, chased and harassed the Rebbe and his operatives. ... Through the years of communism, hundreds of Chassidic activists were executed. Thousands more were arrested and sent to Siberia for years of hard labor.
^The Encyclopedia of Hasidism, "Tanya", Jonathan Sacks, pp. 475–477 (15682–11236)
^"Chagat" is an acronym for "Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet" (kindness, severity, beauty), the Kabbalistic terms for the three primary emotions. Schools of Hasidic thought stressing emotive patterns of worship have been termed "Chagat" in the Chabad philosophy.
^Wertheimer, Jack (June 16, 2014).
"Why the Lubavitch Movement Thrives in the Absence of a Living Rebbe". JA Mag in Jewish World. Orthodox Union. Retrieved 30 September 2014. Among the latter is the Jewish Learning Institute, the largest educational program for Jewish adults in the world (with the possible exception of the Daf Yomi enterprise), which currently enrolls over 66,000 teens and adults at some 850 sites around the world, each following a prescribed course of study according to a set timetable.
^Dashefsky, Arnold; Sheskin, Ira, eds. (2014). "National Jewish Organizations". American Jewish Year Book. Vol. 113 (Volume 113 ed.). Springer International Publishing. pp. 447–597.
S2CID154745222. ... is currently the largest provider of adult Jewish learning. JLI's mission is to inspire Jewish learning worldwide and to transform Jewish life and the greater community through Torah study. Its goal is to create a global network of informed students connected by bonds of shared Jewish experience. JLI's holistic approach to Jewish study considers the impact of Jewish values on personal and interpersonal growth. (The authors of the book are Professor Ira Sheskin of Department of Geography and Regional Studies, The Jewish Demography Project, The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, University of Miami, and Professor Arnold Dashefsky, Department of Sociology, The Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut.)
^Essentially his argument sought merely the position that would prevent loss of life, rather than taking a stance in the nature of the Land of Israel and Zionism. Freeman, Tzvi.
"Should I Pray for the Death of Terrorists?". Chabad. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
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