The Rebbe and the Rocket Scientist


Velvel Greene

It should be really titled "The Rebbe and the Microbiologist." Anyway, the Jerusalem Post has a  nice profile on Dr. Velvel Greene. The post doesn’t mention it, but one of his daughters is married to Jeff Sidel of kiruv fame (or infamy, depending on your point of view). Note Velvel’s description of the Rebbe:

The Rebbe was so warm and welcoming he seemed more like a loving uncle than the spiritual leader of the Jewish world. [Emphasis added.]

Velvel, that’s called love bombing. You can read about it here:

As soon as any interest is shown by the recruits, they may be love bombed
by the recruiter or other cult members. This process of feigning
friendship and interest in the recruit was originally associated with
one of the early youth cults, but soon it was taken up by a number of
groups as part of their program for luring people in. Love bombing is a
coordinated effort, usually under the direction of leadership, that
involves long-term members’ flooding recruits and newer members with
flattery, verbal seduction, affectionate but usually nonsexual
touching, and lots of attention to their every remark. Love bombing –
or the offer of instant companionship – is a deceptive ploy accounting
for many successful recruitment drives.[8]

And the proper designation would be "a" spiritual leader or "a major" spiritual leader.

That little Chabadism aside, Velvel is a good man. He really is brilliant, and he’s not afraid to speak truth to power.



Filed under Chabad Theology

5 responses to “The Rebbe and the Rocket Scientist

  1. Anonymous

    I think someone that intelligent would see through a cult and wouldn’t fall into its hands, dont you?

  2. B”H
    Doesn’t seem like too much “love bombing” towards you in the Rebbe’s reply to your letter in 1984.
    May be it’s not “love bombing” etc. but a tzadik talking with different people in different ways depending on what is appropriate for each one of them?

  3. YUGUY

    Or maybe there are certain personalities that aren’t worth love-bombing because they cant be seduced by mere flattery and have more cynicism in them to fall into a trap as foolish as messianic judaism.

  4. rebeljew

    I never experienced love bombing with the Rebbe, quite the opposite. Unless you contributed $20,000 to MI every few years, most people never met the Rebbe and his nebulous nod into the crowd of people offering L’chayim was to be interpreted as yechidus. If you went for Kos Shel Bracha and the Rebbe mumbled quietly “Bracha” or Hatzlacha, this was as close to a personal experience as anyone had. If you were a MI millionaire, you might get 120 seconds to speak to the Rebbe, once a year. If you got a form letter by mail in response to the announcement of a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, this was the height of personal attention. Sometimes he would respond to mail specifically, but you know that. 😉

    In the case of the scientists, Greene, Berg, Branover, I think Chabadniks built as much as they could from the presence of these handful of academics. They responded dutifully. Branover repeated the Rebbe’s 7 doctorates myth (e.g. B’Or HaTorah vol.9) and the stories of Rebbe’s magical computer code debugging powers. Chabad PR used him and the rest to sell the Rebbe as a man of science, trying to build some legitimacy to downplay the dogmatic approach that the Rebbe had to apologetics, literally defending (half-defending) geocentrism, spontaneous generation, Gossean rejectionism, and young earth creationism. They served each other’s purposes.

    The fact that the Rebbe gave them the time of day was not love-bombing, though it was uncommon. You could make the case that the Rebbe was using them, but I think he had a genuine interest in academics.

  5. I think it was love bombing, combined with genuine interest.

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