Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why Do People Love Chabad So Much?

Well, this post by PunkTorah was a kick to the you-know-what! Still, it's a good challenge for us a Liberal Jews, who spend a lot of time hand-wringing over Chabad eating our lunch, and who don't do enough to stand proudly with chin out (as we did once upon a time) and say, as this post says, "Deal with it."

It reminds me, frankly, of several very strident Unitarian Universalists I knew in college. I know, you're thinking, "UUs? STRIDENT?" Well, these cats were; something to learn from.

I know a lot of people who would give their life for Chabad. And for a long time, I never understood why. These people aren’t orthodox. But Chabad is the greatest thing to them since sliced bread and is responsible for anything that they do in the realm of Jewish. On top of that, our boy Shmuley Boteach recently wrote that Judaism is under “Chabadization”.

Why do people love Chabad so much? I think it’s because Chabad know’s they’re awesome and don’t give a damn what you think.

Take a look at the first sentence of the Chabad FAQ page:

Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization. It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today.

I like how assertive that is! Frankly, it’s manly. If Chabad were a man, it would be the kind of man that other men want to be and that women want to have a one-night stand with.

Compare that to statements on the Reform website:

The great contribution of Reform Judaism is that it has enabled the Jewish people to introduce innovation while preserving tradition, to embrace diversity while asserting commonality, to affirm beliefs without rejecting those who doubt, and to bring faith to sacred texts without sacrificing critical scholarship.

This statement really bothers me because it’s boring. But also, its tone is very apologetic. It’s like the Reform movement is sorry that it’s innovating and that it promises it’s still traditional Judaism. I think more people would support the Reform movement if their statement said, “look, this isn’t Orthodoxy. This isn’t Israeli-approved Torah derech. Deal with it. We’re 40% of the population and growing.”

OK, so what does the Conservative/Masorti movement have to say for itself?

What is Masorti Judaism? This is not an easy question to answer.

Wow. You are part of something and you can’t even explain it. Maybe that’s why Conservative Judaism is in decline.

Chabad has taken over the Jewish world because it’s bold. You may not like it, but it doesn’t care. And people, I think, respect that. No one likes a wimp.

So my question is this: why is Chabad so bold and why are the other movements (Orthodox and otherwise) so passive?

Why Do People Love Chabad So Much?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the repost! -Patrick from PunkTorah.org