Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Future of Chabad...A Respone to the Article By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

In response to the following article...http://www.crownheights.info/index.php?itemid=23907
Ok...Lets begin,
1.This article is completely grammatically incorrect...yes I admit that I don't pay attention to my own grammar but this is awful.
2."horizontal expansion - opening more Chabad Houses and sending out more rabbi-emissaries - or it will begin focusing on vertical expansion.By vertical I mean affecting the world media, governments, the broader culture and the non-Jewish world - areas where Chabad has had little to no influence."--How about inward expansion...we could avoid the Taliban tznius situation if we start focusing inward instead of outward.
3."But for all that, Chabad remains utterly unknown to the vast majority of Earth's inhabitants. With the exception of the tragedy in Mumbai, Chabad appears in the news mainly through its own press releases."... I beg to differ...what about all of the menorah lightings at government building and in Washington DC, I am sure I have seen these on the news, then again anyone who does not have access to the news would feel that Chabad doesn't have exposure because THEY CANT SEE IT!
4."From their early teens, Chabad youth are volunteering huge amounts of personal time to strangers. Rather than spending Jewish holidays in the comfort of family, young men and women travel the world to assist Chabad emissaries in staging Passover Seders and High Holy Day services. Why is the secret of such successful youth motivation not being exported?"...I am all for community service during the teenage years. My highschool required it and I feel it is very important. However, NO teenager should be pulled away from their family especially during the holidays. I have spent numerous holidays away from my family many of the participating in Chabad meals and helping shluchim, I don't regret this, but I wish I had the family time back. I also feel that if Chabad was focused more on the teen family relationship and less on sending kids away for whatever reason (possibly because they have too many kids), fewer teenagers would be "frying" out.
5."Low birthrates are decimating Western countries. The New York Times Magazine devoted a cover story last summer to “Disappearing Europe,” exposing how the deplorably low birthrate in France, Russia, Britain and Scandinavia means that the people of Europe are quite literally disappearing, the principal reason being the high cost of modern living. But Chabad continues proudly with large families, insisting that scarce resources be put into raising kids rather than buying Prada handbags."...Speechless...utterly speechless...I suggest all of the women wearing Tory Burch boots and pushing bugaboo strollers while their kids hang out of them and run down Kingston Ave like banshees, reevaluate their priorities so Chabad can make a blanketed statement like this and now sound like hypocrites. ... See More
6."So why isn't Chabad publishing treatises on how parents can learn to love having children more than prospering careers?"...Career...What's that?

7."And how often do we see Chabad men stringing women along for years without marrying them? Chabad men and women look forward eagerly to the commitment of marriage. So where is the advice for a world in which the culture of womanizing and increasing female commitment-phobia leads to so many lonely singles?"...Where do I start...I've been strong along, and so have many of my friends and ironically enough by Chabad men. I don't see why its a problem to get to know your spouse before you marry them? Can someone explain this one to me?
8."Chabad uniquely raises women who are strong-willed but uniquely feminine and nurturing. That's saying a lot in a culture where the original feminist dream of women being taken seriously for their minds has sadly ended in the exploitation of female sexuality to sell cars and beer."...I have a brain, I was not raised Chabad. I respect my body and myself and I am extremely strong willed AND last time I checked, I am not using my sexuality to sell cars or beer. I have seen many Chabad women who are not strong-willed, feminine or nurturing, specifically nurturing. Yet another blanketed statement.
9."Chabad has answers to so many of these modern dilemmas. Yet it continues to be known only for the most practical outreach rather than its formidable wisdom. Want to buy a mezuza? Go to Chabad. But want a more spiritual life? Deepak Choprah is your man."...WHAT? I could have gone to Deepak Choprah...Why didn't anyone tell me this? Why in the World would they put this statement in the article do they seriously want us to have pity on them because people want their help and not necessarily to learn Tanya? Isn't the whole goal of Chabad to bring Jews closer to Judaism...if that is the truth than we should be happy with putting up mezuzas.
10. "While Christian evangelicals have taken over the airwaves, attempting to convince us that the solution to the disintegration of marriage is opposition to gays, Chabad continues to operate shofar factories and erect Hanukka menoras. These things are profoundly important, but not to the exclusion of promoting Chabad as a profound collection of ideas that can rehabilitate one's family and rejuvenate one's spiritual life."...Since when do we compare ourselves to Evangelicals and what in the world does opposition of gay marriage have to do with shofar factories. This whole paragraph doesn't make sense and should have never been published, at least not in the current format.
11."Even Chabad's greatest admirers praise it for its outstanding work rather than its outstanding wisdom."...Then stop concentrating on putting up mezuzas and start concentrating on teaching spirituality...you can't have your cake and eat it too! But I promise cake tastes better if you make a bracha!
12."THE SAME is true with politics. True, Chabad is not a political movement, nor should it be. But should Chabad really have no say when it comes to school choice, the tuition crisis and how not one dollar of religious parents' hard-earned tax money can go to even the secular departments of parochial schools? And does Chabad really have nothing to say about the genocide in Sudan?"...Does Chabad have anything to say about anything...I'm sure if the people of Crown the Heights had something to say about any of this they would. Clearly they have enough time to complain about how not tznius their neighbors are...(see last weeks crownheigts.info article.) then they should have enough time to complain about the above stated issues. ... See More
13."Part of the problem has been the failure on the part of modern Chabad to create, with some exceptions, notable writers and thinkers, which is curious given the rebbe's towering reputation as an intellectual. The movement has become focused on creating fund-raisers rather than orators, builders rather than writers, outreach professionals as opposed to philosophers, and rabbis who know how to put together a minyan as opposed to keeping a marriage together."....HALLELUJAH, we are finnally saying that somewhere we may have made a little bit of a mistake and should have been educating our children to be productive members of society would will be givers and not takers. (yes Mama, I stole that line from you!)
14."Both are, of course, extremely important. But a movement that focuses only on horizontal expansion risks becoming ossified in more-of-the same predictability. Innovative thinkers and charismatic teachers will not arise in Chabad so long as there is thought-conformity in the movement. Yes, Chabad is an halachic movement, and it is to be expected that its intellectuals always conform to the norms of Jewish law. But a thinker must also be allowed broad leeway in challenging conventional norms rather than fearing ostracization for doing so. After all, the rebbe himself was arguably the most broad-minded Hassidic rabbi of all time. Sixty years later, let's embrace his example."...Are we finally admitting how important it is to embrace the "different" Lubavitcher, the boy who doesn't want to learn in Yeshiva, but can write or play music, or the 28 year old girl who isn't married but is an amazing lawyer.
My comments may offend but, well I speak my mind. I will be honest this is the worst written article I have read in a long time. Maybe if we embraced the boy who writes not learns this article would have been better written and made more sense. I was appalled by the first half of the article but toward the end I changed my mind! Clearly something is starting to make sense if Chabad is writing about the need for educated young men and women, and not just Torah educated at that!

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