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Chabad FAQ's

Chabad FAQ's

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Hello from Chabad!

 

Dear Friends,

Welcome To Lubavitch of Iowa City & Chabad Jewish Student Association @ University of Iowa. We welcome you to join us in one of our wide variety of classes, Shabbat services, Shabbat dinner, and educational programs. Chabad is inclusive and non-judgmental, and their programs are open to all Jews At Chabad, you will be embraced for your interest not your observance.

 

Our family

 

Rabbi Avremel Blesofsky      

Director

 

Chaya Blesofsky

Program Facilitator

 

420 East Jefferson St.

Iowa City, IA 52245

319-358-1323

 

chabadofiacity@hotmail.com 

 

Chabad - Myth & Fact

Is what you think about Chabad MYTH or FACT? You may be surprised. Take a few minutes to browse through these FAQ and you'll have a better understanding of what Chabad is all about.

Q: Do you have to be Orthodox to participate in programs offered by Chabad?

A: 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.

Q: Is the goal of Chabad to make me Orthodox?

A: Chabad is not out to make anyone Orthodox. Chabad is an educational organization dedicated to helping every Jew, regardless of background, affiliation, or personal level of observance, to increase their level of Jewish knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. Chabad invites you to explore the complex areas of Jewish religion, tradition, and practice in an open-minded and non-judgmental atmosphere. All of Chabad's classes, programs, and services are designed to heighten the awareness and lend valuable insight into one's heritage, traditions, religious practice, laws and rituals. Each individual is invited to participate, study, and learn. Each individual makes his or her own respective religious lifestyle decisions at his or her own pace. Each mitzvah stands on its own as an important step in ones personal growth.

Q: Does Chabad consider Reform, Conservative, or non-practicing Jews as "real" Jews?

A: Chabad avoids labeling other Jews, since it tends to divide and create barriers between us. Jewish Law has traditionally considered anyone born of a Jewish mother or converted in accordance with Halacha to be a Jew, regardless of his or her degree of observance. The Lubavitcher Rebbe delivered a stinging rebuke to Orthodox elements in the USA and Israel for publicly belittling non-Orthodox Jews.

Q: Does Chabad support Israel?

A: Chabad is deeply involved in defending Israel and its right to exist, throughout all its boundaries. Many Chabadniks serve in the IDF and others contribute practical and spiritual support to the troops. Chabad has over 150 centers in Israel, as well as dozens of educational facilities around the country. Lubavitch trained Rabbis often complete their training is Israeli yeshivot. The Rebbe himself encouraged support of the UJA.

Q: Is Chabad financed by its headquarters in New York?

A: 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.

Q: Do women occupy a secondary position in Chabad philosophy?

A: Different, yes. Secondary? No! The high standing of Jewish women in Chabad is central to the survival of Judaism. As the cornerstone of Jewish family life, the woman can attain a profound and meaningful spirituality, one that fulfills her deepest needs and aspirations opening fresh perspectives on self-understanding, growth and Torah knowledge. Ignorance, misconceptions, and outright myths about Jewish women have prevailed until very recently, turning many people away from an appreciation of Torah and a traditional Jewish lifestyle. Chabad is working to correct those misconceptions.

 

 

"Every Jew is a letter in the Torah"

What  is a Jew ?

A rabbi once offered the following analogy: "Every Jew is a letter in the Torah." But a letter may, at times, grow somewhat faded. It is our sacred duty to mend these faded letters and make G‑d's Torah whole again."

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch heard this, and objected: "No, the identity of the Jew cannot be compared to erasable ink on parchment. Every Jew is indeed a letter in G‑d's Torah, but a letter carved in stone. At times, the dust and dirt may accumulate and distort ? or even completely conceal—the letter's true form; but underneath it all, the letter remains whole. We need only sweep away the surface grime, and the letter, in all its perfection and beauty, will come to light.''  

Who is a Rabbi  ?

Some Rabbis, he said, are like surgeons and others are like pilots. What is the difference between a surgeon and a pilot? When someone is in need of surgery,  G‑d forbid, he will be very cautious and search around for the best possible surgeon. Why? Because his life is at risk, and he wants to ensure that whoever is cutting him open is the most qualified expert in performing this particular surgery.

Why then is it that when the same person books an airline flight, with all the risks of air travel, he doesn't go searching for the best pilot in the world?

The answer is because the pilot is flying together with you on the airplane, and he is exposed to the same risk as the passenger. The surgeon, on the other hand, is not lying on the slab with the patient. If the surgery doesn't go well, G‑d forbid, the surgeon remains intact [except for possible malpractice suits].

Some Rabbis are like great surgeons. They are brilliant scholars, erudite legal experts, eloquent orators. Many of us who see a Rabbi as an 'outsider,' one who is not in the 'same boat' with us, will go searching for the best surgeon. We will look for the greatest scholar and expert. However, there are Rabbis who are like pilots - they may not be the best, but they are in it with us. Our problem is their problem. Our celebration is their celebration.

We are not looking for 'perfect' Rabbis; we are in search of Rabbis who humbly appreciate the value of Divine souls and know that we are all sacred souls struggling in an agnostic world.                                              

Warmth From Within

The story is told about a pious Jew  who, every year for the high holidays, would begin walking by foot to his Rebbe. Now this was no easy task, because the weather was usually freezing and snowy at that time of year in Russia. One year, on a lonely road in the middle of some snowy forest his "batteries finally ran out"; his legs simply would not move another step.

He was on the verge of collapsing in the snow when suddenly he heard something in the distance. It was a wagon filled with large barrels, and it stopped before the freezing Jew. "Hey Moshke!" The wagon-driver yelled " If you can find a place, jump in!" . With renewed strength the Pious Jew gratefully grabbed the hand, and pulled himself up onto the wagon.

After a few minutes huddled between the barrels he was abruptly reminded that he was freezing,. That was when he noticed a small spigot sticking out of one of the barrels. With a shivering hand he turned the handle over the spigot. No, it wasn't wine or oil, , it was...vodka! "Ivan" he yelled to the driver "I need a little of your merchandise here,  Can I take a small cup?" "Of course, my friend" shouted the driver over his shoulder. The second cup was better than the first, and in a minute he was warm.

Upon His Arrival to his Rebbe's Court , he immediately gathered everyone around him and said he wanted to tell them something. "Today I learned a very great lesson." He began, . "You know that the Torah is compared to water, right? The Torah is supposed to make you warm and happy, and that is why we need to study with our fellow Jew— to make them warm and happy. Torah includes all kinds of water, so Kabbalah must be the vodka of Torah, right?  ""Well, I just discovered that a Jew can be surrounded by barrels of Kabbalah , by a sea of Torah, and still be cold, even freezing to death.

"But... if just a little bit goes INSIDE... Ahhh. That is a completely different story! Then he becomes warm and alive. In fact then, he can even warm up the whole world around him as well..."

 


 

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