Twenty Years After, Rebbe Still Inspires

His grave and visitors center expect 50,000 in the coming week.

Associate Editor
Story Includes Video: 

Twenty years ago, the heart of Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson began to fail, revive and finally expired in the cool of the night between 1 and 2 a.m. By that Sunday’s dawn (the Hebrew date was Gimmel Tammuz, this year corresponding to the night of June 30 and July 1) chasidim started arriving in Crown Heights by car, subway and chartered planes from every continent. To look at their faces was to think their best friend died, as he had. Many experts were writing the chasidim off, as well. Chabad-Lubavitch was doomed to decline, said the experts, who predicted chaos in the absence of a rebbe and no way to pick a new one. It was a movement supposedly crippled and discredited by its messianists, rivalries and fantasists.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, buried alongside his predecessor, has constant visitors. Michael Datikash/JW

Views On ‘Cult-like’ Retreats Vary Wildly

To critics, Call of the Shofar flirts with foreign worship and uses deception; supporters say it has improved their lives.

Assistant Managing Editor
Story Includes Video: 

To Dr. Rashi Shapiro, a Brooklyn psychologist with many Orthodox patients, Call of the Shofar “can be highly influential in helping people change their thinking.” But the program is not a cult, he says in an open letter about the program.

Shapiro, who says he has deprogrammed cult victims for more than 35 years, said the techniques “do not inhibit thinking, but rather expand awareness.”

Raphael Aron: Spoke to dozens of people about Call of the Shofar for his report, but not the founder.

Rabbi A Rising Martial Arts Star

Staff Writer
Story Includes Video: 

Rabbi Yossi Eilfort does not train on Shabbat, doesn’t like to hit people and doesn’t have a long background in self-defense techniques – but he’s now a rising martial arts competitor, according to Fox News.

The Year Ahead: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 20 Years After

Story Includes Video: 

Two decades ago, June 12, 1994, after years of messianic crescendo, controversy and genial outreach, the Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, breathed his last. Like Joe Hill or Elijah, the rebbe became one of those characters that some say never really died, either literally or figuratively. The debate within Chabad over his messianism has become somewhat muted with the years, as the passage of time does its dulling. But one thing is beyond dispute: The rebbe is having one heck of an afterlife.

The late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

A Chanukah Thank-You To Ed Koch

Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 

I was listening to the radio the day Ed Koch passed away in February, when I heard a recording of the former New York City Mayor answering a reporter’s question about how he would like his epitaph to read.

Ed Koch, seen here in a video supporting Barack Obama, supported menorahs in public places.

Amid Obama Visit, Chabad Hosts 850 College Students For Shabbat In Crown Hts.

Presidential visit could complicate prior plans.

Assistant Managing Editor
Story Includes Video: 

Eight hundred and fifty Jewish students from far and wide converged on New York City last weekend for an annual Shabbaton, touring popular city sites here and enjoying the hospitality of Chabad Lubavitch families in Crown Heights.

The event was planned months ago, but a recent announcement that President Barack Obama would visit the area Friday affected the logistics as cops shut down some major streets for the presidential motorcade.

Chabad on Campus International Foundation, the program organizer, said it's all good.

"Aside from minor detours in shuttling participants to and from programs on Friday, we expect the president's visit to only the enhance the excitement surrounding the Shabbaton for the participants around the country," said Rabbi Moshe Chaim Dubrowski, director of programming for the group before the event.

"We will give President Obama a rousing Chabad on Campus welcome to the neighborhood." 

Obama  helicoptered into Prospect Park, then traveled by car to the Pathways in Technology Early College High School on Albany Avenue for an event there.

The third annual Shabbaton, which commenced in spite of Hurricane Sandy around this time last year, drew students, mostly undergraduates, who take part in kosher meals, prayer services, classes and other programs at campuses around the country and as far away as Paris, London and Leeds. Thirty students came from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Students pay just $36 in addition to their travel costs.

College students gather at last year's Chabad International campus Shabbaton. Photo via

Pew Missed the Newest Trend in Jewish Life

Kosher pizza shops don't lie.

Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 

The most recent Pew Study on American Jewish life reveals a treasure house of information about modern Jewish trends. The rising numbers of intermarriage amongst the non-Orthodox are a foreboding sign for the future vitality of American Jewish life.  It seems that when it comes to measuring the Orthodox Jewish community the study falls short.  Its methodology of denominational self-identification, effective decades ago when Jews fit in to neat categories of Orthodox Conservative and Reform, fails to reveal the real trends in a complex post denominational era. 

My Son, Another Kid's Project

Sundays have become special days in our family. Not because of religious school, or because of any particular family activity. Sunday is the day that Ben’s friends come over, per the schedule established by a program coordinator after due consultation with all the families involved.

You see, Ben is someone else’s mitzvah project.

Rabbi Rebecca Schorr

Activist Pamela Geller To Testify At Toronto Police Board Over Nixed Shul Talk

Story Includes Video: 

Blogger Pamela Geller said she will testify over a complaint she filed against a Toronto-area police force in the cancellation of a synagogue appearance.

More Jewish Aid Headed To Oklahoma

Kosher soup kitchen here partners with Iowa plant to deliver food to disaster zone; JFNA opens relief fund.

Story Includes Video: 

Jimmy Goldman, a business broker who lives near Houston, is recruiting a six-member team to travel to Moore, Olka., next week to volunteer their services under the auspices of  Missouri-based Convoy of Hope (

Recruited with the help of Houston’s Jewish Family Service, they hope to distribute clothes or food, or help remove debris, Goldman says.

The huge tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., left destroyed homes and cars in its wake. Photos by Getty Images
Syndicate content