WHAT IS CHABAD-LUBAVITCH?
Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization. It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today.
The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of chochmah—wisdom, binah—comprehension and da’at—knowledge. The movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of G‑d’s Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of creation, and the importance and unique mission of each creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his or her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
The word “Lubavitch” is the name of the town in White Russia where the movement was based for more than a century. Appropriately, the word Lubavitch in Russian means the “city of brotherly love.” The name Lubavitch conveys the essence of the responsibility and love engendered by the Chabad philosophy toward every single Jew.
WHO LEADS CHABAD-LUBAVITCH TODAY?
The movement is guided by the teachings of its seven leaders (“Rebbes”), beginning with Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi of righteous memory (1745–1812). These leaders expounded upon the most refined and delicate aspects of Jewish mysticism, creating a corpus of study thousands of books strong. They personified the age-old Biblical qualities of piety and leadership. And they concerned themselves not only with Chabad-Lubavitch, but with the totality of Jewish life, spiritual and physical. No person or detail was too small or insignificant for their love and dedication.
In our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply as “the Rebbe,” guides post-holocaust Jewry to safety from the ravages of that devastation.
Each local Chabad center is directed by a couple known as "shluchim," or emissaries, a husband and wife team that have dedicated themselves to the community that they serve. In almost all instances, it is a lifetime position. You can read more about Rabbi Levi and Sheina Cunin here.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE ORTHODOX TO PARTICIPATE IN PROGRAMS OFFERED BY CHABAD?
Chabad is inclusive and non-judgmental, and our programs are open to all Jews. In fact, the majority of people who participate in programs at Chabad are not orthodox. The teachings of Chabad are imbued with the renowned Chassidic spirit and joy, but in no way is the commitment to an orthodox lifestyle a prerequisite to one's acceptance at Chabad functions.
IS CHABAD FINANCED BY ITS HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK?
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. You can donate to Chabad of Bloomington here.