Why Some Reform and Conservative Congregations Are Becoming Lubavitch to Stay Afloat

In the past two decades, more than one-third of Conservative synagogues and over 20 percent of Reform have closed, according to a 2020 study by the Pew Research Center. Some congregational leaders have reached out to the Chabad movement to help their communities grow. Cathryn J. Prince reports:

Though at first reluctant, Mitchell Friedman realized the best chance of saving the synagogue he’d always considered to be “liberal Conservative” was turning it into a Chabad House.

For 88 years, the Howard Beach Judea Center occupied a sand-colored brick building on a quiet residential street in Queens just four miles from John F. Kennedy International Airport. Over time, membership dwindled and board members like Friedman began wondering how long the synagogue could remain open.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, Rabbi Avrohom Richter and his wife Zeldi were in search of space. They’d opened a Chabad House in their home back in 2003, and while they once struggled to make a minyan, or ten-person prayer quorum, they now struggled to fit everyone inside for services.

Richter doesn’t remember who made the initial contact, but after several meetings with the board it was decided: the once-Conservative synagogue would become Orthodox.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: American Judaism, Chabad, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security