Chabad, the ubiquitous Jewish movement best known among American Jews for its outreach on college campuses, is in many ways a mystery. Why, unlike most ultra-Orthodox, do the Lubavitch reach out to rather than reject secular Jews? What do they get when you put on t’fillin? Are they Zionist or anti-Zionist? What do they think of mainstream Jewish movements and what do those movements think of them? Do all Lubavitchers even share the same views on these issues?
A new issue of New Voices, the national Jewish student magazine, addresses these questions, exploring the less known—and often troubling—aspects of Chabad. “As one JTA staffer noted,” writes Ben Harris of the JTA, “it’s pretty ‘ballsy’ of NV to take on Lubavitch, though takedown is probably a more accurate description.”
Takedown or not, New Voices has done what no other serious Jewish publication has dared do: subject Chabad to the same journalistic scrutiny every powerful, religious movement deserves. Here’s their preview:
So, who are these bearded men with their bewigged wives? In the following pages, you will find the story of a Chabad rabbi’s struggle with Hillel at Princeton , the story of a Chabad House in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank , and the story of an ex-Chabadnik who fought in Iraq before joining the anti-war movement . We have coverage of the scandal that rocked the world of Kosher meat this summer, an interview with a Reform rabbi about the place of Chabad in the religious life of secular Jews, a critique of non-Orthodox support for Chabad, and an exploration of the contemporary meaning of 770 Eastern Parkway. Plus, book reviews , music reviews , and a comic . Enjoy.