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

June 21 2022

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 Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria