Is Chabad The Modern Orthodoxy Of The 1950’s?


Is Lubavitch the new 1950’s-era Modern Orthodoxy? As Yeshiva University has moved further and further to the right, a void had to be filled. Who filled it? Read this, comment here.

[And, no, this is not an anti-conversion post.]



Filed under Chabad Theology, Modern Orthodoxy

27 responses to “Is Chabad The Modern Orthodoxy Of The 1950’s?

  1. aaron

    just because you guys are jealous of chabad and of all the success they have dosent mean you have to bash them. after 120 years when you go up to heaven they arent going to ask you how much you contributed to putting other jews down rather they will ask you what did you alone do to make the world a better place!!!

  2. Neo-Conservaguy

    You have to admit, it’s one clever way to avoid Tay-sachs disease. Besides, conversions have been a powerful and important dynamic in Judaism since Day One. The current “concerns” about conversion are out of step with historic reality.

  3. Anonymous

    Wasn’t the late Rebbe very wary about conversions these days ?

  4. sober

    Are they (the bride and the groom) observant?

  5. sober

    And who says that Lubavitch Rabbis assisted in the conversion?

  6. Yochanan Lavie

    I agree with Neo. It’s about time we stopped being afraid of our own shadow and show the world what we have to offer. Conversions were discouraged because of Christian and Islamic anti-Semitism. Before the christianization of the Roman Empire, conversions were encouraged in places such as Alexandria. Something like 10% of the Roman Empire was Jewish at one time, an increase not attributable to natural growth alone. When Jews were presecuted for seeking converts, the rabbis then took a sour grapes approach and said who needs them anyway. Then, they created the noahide laws as a consolation prize. Yes, we have problems, but we can still be a light unto the nations.

  7. Nigritude Ultramarine

    The “Hasidic” mother is a piece of work. Here, her daughter is dating goyim and she’s worried that a convert is not Jewish enough for her beer guzzling daughter. Nice!

  8. mikhaelmeir

    I have questions about the stringency of Chabad standards regarding conversions myself–without divulging any names or too much detail about myself–I have a good friend who comes from well-known Chabad family, but who himself strayed “off the derech” (became irreligious for a while) and later resumed a life of observance within Chabad. I knew this guy in college, while he was in his irreligious phase. I myself come from a non-Sabbath observant home, though I was sent to yeshiva day schools, and have also ping-ponged between trying to be observant and leading a non-Orthodox lifestyle. Despite always declaring that I would never intermarry and never thinking it would happen, I married my non-Jewish girlfriend a few years ago (we are now separated-no kids- but the divorce is not finalized). She never converted, and I never asked her to, although she expressed interest in it. Despite my not leading a halakhically observant lifestyle, and having a lot of beliefs (or non-beliefs) that conflict with Orthodox belief, I still can’t accept anyone as Jewish who doesn’t fit the halakhic criteria of being born to a Jewish mother or having geirut as recogniozed in halakha. On one occasion, walking in Park Slope, we ran into my old Lubav friend, who I thought had become ex-Lubi, and I saw he seemed to have “done teshuva” and become yet again frum. (At keast, he was dressed as “anash”, for all that’s worth, with the whole get up and had a beard again, when I knew him in college, he had discareded the whole get-up, didn;t keep shabbos, etc.)He met my wife, we exchanged numbers, and later I received a phone call from him, saying my wife seemed wonderful, it seemed as if she had a “Yiddish neshume” and urging me to put her in touch with a Chabad rabbi who could set her down the path to become Jewish! I demurred, expressed my doubts, and said I myself was not ready to start resuming an Orthodox lifestyle, and it was my understanding that any rav megayyer worth his salt would demand in a situation like this , in the case of a mixed couple, before converting the non-Jewish spouse-the rabbi would demand that the Jewish spuse undertake a lifestyle of Torah and mitzvot and in some cases even separate the couple to make sure that the motives for conversion were the love of the religion and not to appease the Jewish partner. My Lubav friend assured me that it would be “easy” and not to worry too much about that stuff, and he knew people inside Chabad who could rush through a “kosher” conversion for my wife and get it done “fast”. Anyway, it’s all hearsay–but it gave me a lot of sfeikot about the thouroughness of the Chabad batei din for conversions. They may very well be thorough–in the end she never tried it–and my friend may have had a sanguine overview of what was entailed-but it gave me pause. At any rate, we are separated now, and she is not converting.

  9. In Rockaway, NJ, Asher Herson of Chabad has “made” a number of converts who have no problem driving on Shabbos. Are they true converts? Or is it just in Herson-Chabad’s interests to maintain a congregation that knows nothing and, thus, remains loyal?

  10. Neo-Conservaguy

    The problem is perfectly illustrated by Mikhael and Hank’s postings. Conversion has become seem as more than merely an acceptance of the “laws of the land” – which were at the time exactly that, as there was no separation between secular and religious government – but rather it is seen as a litmus test for political and religious ideology. No longer is it sufficient in the minds of many “frum” Jews that converts merely meet the clearly defined criteria (in gemara) for the conversion process. They must instead be be held up to the fear-ridden scrutiny of increasingly right-wing Orthodox rabbis who almost spend more time looking for character and behavior flaws than they do looking for the one last crumb of hametz hidden in the trunk of their car.

    And to what end? So that today’s Orthodoxy can be polished like a diamond to a shine that is so brilliant that many cannot cast an eye on it without going blind. The halachic bar is raised higher and higher, and the followers become more and more self-selecting, with many “normal” folks falling out of a race they cannot and will not bother to run. Such burnouts will fall to the Reform movement or a total lack of involvement in Jewish religious observance.

    The end result: the left and right wings continue to grow apart in a dichotomy of madness, and those of us seeking the radical center remain watching the destruction. There is a better way, and it much more closely resembles American Orthodox and Conservative movements forty years ago than they widely diverging ideals they are offering now.

  11. Dovid Lerner

    If someone converts to Judiasm without any intent of adhering to Halakha, he hasn’t converted. The Rebbe ZT”L was adament about this, (just review some of his talks from the 70’s about mihu yehudi, see also his talk on Nissan 11 5745).

    If Chabad Rabbi’s are converting people that have no intent on observing halakha, they may no longer represent Lubavitch. This is one thing the Rebbe simply did not put up with, at all.

    I saw about a year ago a letter from a Chabad Rabbi from South America where he writes about how serious this issue is, and how scandalous it is that Rabbis and Shluchim disregard it.

    The Rebbe himself said (Shvat 15, 5735), that anyone who claims to be Chabad, yet he disregards Halkha, is waging a war with Chabad and all of the Rebbeim.

    If you are Chabad, you sure as hell better follow Halakha!

  12. Neo-Conservaguy

    “The Rebbe” didn’t write the requirements for conversion, they are clearly described in the Talmud. The sages were clear on the requirements, and it’s not worded as you’ve written.

  13. aaron

    i agree with dovid lerner!! if anybody in lubavitch breaks halacha at all then he has nothing to do with lubavitch!!!

  14. Dovid Lerner

    I am aware that the Rebbe did’nt write the requirements for conversion, but he does make the requirements for being Lubavitch, and some people in Chabad have turned their back on Halakha for money.

  15. The Truth

    I happen to know the family. Only the mother and any children from her SECOND marriage are Lubavitchers. The kalla’s sister is sort of a fellow traveler and the kalla herself is not frum etc. The mother got involved with Chabad AFTER THE BREAKUP OF HER FIRST MARRIAGE from which these daughters were born.

  16. Yochanan Lavie

    Neo Guy: Check out The Union for Traditional Judaism is a breakaway of traditionalist Conservative rabbis, later joined by some stalwart modern Orthodox rabbis. They are a shoestring operation, but they have Rabbi David Weiss-Halivni, and are trying to re-establish the center. I wish them luck, but I am so disgusted with the contemporary scene that I am beginning to explore Karaite Judaism. With noble exceptions like Weiss-Halivni, the rabbinate is a thugocracy.

  17. Avtalion

    Lubavitch is not against conversions.
    they are definitely pro their own conducted conversions, which they deem to be kosher and acceptable. (a neat source of committed recruits).
    They can also say to liberal minded prospective jewish donnors, you see, we are open minded, we take in converts. Otherwise, they are ferociously anti conversions conducted by anybody else of any stripe of orthodoxy or otherwise.
    For this they will resort to any lashon haraa and Hamanite backstabbing against would be converts and their sponsoring families and rabbis .

  18. Avtalion

    I happen to know the family……The kalla’s sister is sort of a fellow traveler and the kalla herself is not frum etc…… The mother got involved with Chabad AFTER THE BREAKUP OF HER FIRST MARRIAGE from which these daughters were born.
    The Truth
    The truth ?
    who is this “testimony” addressed to ?
    Is it messiach lefi tummo ?
    Or lashon haraa of the worse category, that which goes to all winds ?

  19. The Truth

    It is meant to explain that the kalla is NOT BY ANY MEANS a Lubavitcher!

  20. Avtalion

    … but he does make the requirements for being Lubavitch, and some people in Chabad have turned their back on Halakha for money.
    ….Posted by: Dovid Lerner | April 03, 2006 at 01:58 AM
    taking in converts is a mitzva and not a crime !

  21. curious

    the truth,

    if the kallah is not frum, which leads one to believe that probably the groom is also not frum and observant, so how could they have made this conversion?

  22. Avtalion

    if the kallah is not frum, which leads one to believe that probably the groom is also not frum and observant, so how could they have made this conversion?

    this is all lashon haraa, are those writing on this blog, hokrei kelayot valev to question the beth din? ?
    and as to the groom, could it be that “hirher tshuva belibo?”

  23. curious

    which beth din did the conversion? “hirher tshuvo blibo” is enough to convert a person? Is “kabalat hamitzvot” “hisher tshuva blibo”? you mean to say: that it’s lashon hara to say that she is not frum?

  24. Avtalion

    which beth din did the conversion? … mean to say: that it’s lashon hara to say that she is not frum?

    yes, these are real people, do you know them well enough to have a valid opinion ? in addition to slandering the people in question, the beth din (an orthodox bet din ) is being accused of wrong doing. the whole conversation is idle talk. i am no longer aware who of the couple was born jewish and who is the convert, but to say they are both non observant ? can the convert marry a jew/jewess that hirher tshuva ?
    throwing stones indiscriminately, ain’t kosher. this whole discussion, comes across as a hear say type of treif.

  25. curious

    why are you getting uptight? i’m curious and asking a question (not making a statement) so that i can have a valid opinion. In the meantime i have no opinion whatsoever.

    Someone stated that the kallahis not frum:

    therefore i asked: did the beys din convert the groom under these conditions? If it is true that the kallah is not frum it would appear that so is the groom which one to curiously question the covnersion. you stated that there is a beys din. Sometimes though there are batey dinim who convert and do not request observance which is a serious problem.

    Therefore i asked for the name of the bays din so name of the beys din, as a known beys din would be aside my curiousity since they ar escrupulous in asking basic observance.

    i thought that since you claim to know that the allegations of the person who said that the kallah is not frum are false, you are aware on the details of the case you would probably know the name of the bays din. Therefore i’m asking these questions.

  26. the truth

    Did I say not frum? I said not Lubavitch! No idiot is seriously going to tell me the pics above are from a Lubavitch wedding!

  27. curious

    sorry, you said earlier the kallah herself is not frum. Which Beth Din did this covnersion?

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