Chabad’s Growing Role in American Judaism

Dec. 19 2014

One of the most important recent changes in American Jewish life has been the gradual mainstreaming of Chabad Hasidim. After years of reaching a constituency consisting mainly of college students, Israelis, those on the fringes of Jewish communal life, and Orthodox Jews living in remote places, Chabad is increasingly playing an important role in the lives of affiliated Jews other than the Orthodox. Shmuel Rosner writes:

[The majority of] Chabad participants in Miami are not “Israeli” or “Orthodox.” In other words: do not fall for the common prejudice about Chabad’s constituency. According to [a recent Miami survey], 25 percent of them are indeed Orthodox, but 32 percent are Conservative, and 19 percent are Reform (23 percent are “just Jewish”—more in line with common thinking). This means that more than half of the participants in Chabad activities come from a progressive Jewish background (you can add to that the 1-percent Reconstructionist). Think about it this way: a movement that is in many ways a part of the ultra-Orthodox world is able to attract Jews that are supposedly the archrivals of ultra-Orthodoxy. Of course, that is the genius of Chabad—without giving up on being ultra-Orthodox, it is able to convince other Jews that it is not really ultra-Orthodox.

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Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: American Jewry, Chabad, Hasidism, Miami, Orthodoxy

 

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror