Chabad on Campus Marks a Major Milestone: 220 Centers Worldwide

A Chabad barbecue in Princeton, N.J., organized by co-directors of Chabad of Princeton University Rabbi Eitan and Gitty Webb.

In addition to Chabad on Campus centers popping up all over North America, Israel is seeing a boon in Chabad services at its secondary-educational institutions. By Menachem Posner and Carin M. Smilk [This is the third in a series of articles on the growth and impact of Chabad-Lubavitch worldwide.] Rabbi Levi and Adina Tiechtel couldn’t wait to get to work. The young couple moved to Indiana just last month to start a Chabad House at Purdue University where they are serving the approximately 800 Jewish students enrolled there out of a total student population of about 40,000. “We’d received positive feedback from administrators - strong support and encouragement,” says 25-year-old Rabbi Tiechtel, who is from the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. “Chabad has never had a … [Read more...]

Igniting the Light of Channuka with Apps

My Menorah App

By Mordecai Holtz When I hear the word nonprofit, I don’t usually think of technology and apps. In the age of digital media and, in many respects, digital communities, Jewish organizations need to continue to find the tools that respond to current interests, technological opportunities, while remaining true to the Jewish traditions of educating and inspiring the next generation. Thankfully, albeit slowly, more Jewish organizations are pushing the envelope by redefining the classic definition of engagement. These organizations and agencies are bridging the gap between classic Jewish education and the technology available to ensure that Judaism remain relevant and engaging to future generations. With chanukah around the corner, many are polishing their silver menorahs, fine tuning their … [Read more...]

Expanding Hillel’s Impact to Germany

Students supported by the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Scholarship Fund

By Eric Fingerhut special to eJP As I boarded a flight to Berlin earlier this month for a truly historic moment in modern Jewish life, I couldn’t help but wonder what the parents and grandparents of today’s Hillel students would think of my mission: To dedicate and launch a Hillel movement in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Hillel International has been expanding into new countries regularly. Most people don’t realize that we operate in more than a dozen countries on five continents in 18 time zones. A few months ago, in Moscow, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Hillel in Russia. In Central Asia and Southeastern Europe, Hillel staff work with thirteen Hillels in six countries, including Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, where Hillel is thriving and … [Read more...]

Four Decades of Car Menorahs Lighting the Way

A menorah is attached to the back of a van in Santa Monica, Calif., circa 1986.

With morphing sizes, shapes, materials and vehicles, they’ve become a familiar sight at Chanukah the world over. By Dovid Margolin You know them when you see them, and when you see them, you know it’s Chanukah. The car menorah is a uniquely American innovation - a marketing gimmick created by young yeshivah students in the early 1970s as a way to spread awareness and the message of the eight-day Jewish holiday. Today, they can be found across the globe and on all kinds of vehicles. Along with the giant public menorah displays that have become synonymous with Chabad-Lubavitch, these almost accidental inventions have revolutionized the way Jews celebrate Chanukah everywhere. It was 1973, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe - Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory - had just a few years … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Saying “Amen”

amen

By Edward Hamburg “Amen: The Final Word in Faith” was the theme of a recent retreat held by Sicha, an organization dedicated to promoting ongoing dialogues between classical Jewish texts and lived experience. In his introductory remarks to the three days of discussion, Sicha executive director Rabbi Steven Sager observed that: Amen is, after all, a response, not an opening. An amen that stands alone invites questions: What does this amen confirm? To what is it an affirmation? Would we add our own amen to an unheard claim or blessing? To what claims and blessings are we prepared to say amen? Under what conditions are we not prepared to say amen? He explained how amen embeds the root of other Hebrew words expressing faith, trust, belief, dependability, and artful practice; how it is a word “so … [Read more...]

How Menschy is the Mensch on a Bench?

By Hannah S Pressman When Judah Met Moshe Moshe the Mensch is ready for his selfie, but are we ready for another Hanukkah mascot? The Hanukkah toy sensation, The Mensch on a Bench, started out last year as an explicit homage to the popular Christmas toy, The Elf on the Shelf. According to that toy’s lore, every scout elf adopted by a family can fly back and forth between the family’s home and Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Neal Hoffman, who used to work for the toy company Hasbro, wanted to give his son a similar, but Jewishly-appropriate, holiday visitor. And a mensch was born. Hoffman named his creation - what else? - Moshe. Like his elfin model, Moshe has a backstory and a higher purpose during the holiday season. The Moshe mythos (available in handy book form) places … [Read more...]

Chanukah: With Dedication Comes Illumination

Lillian Pravda

By Lillian Pravda Buy one, get one free. Gift with purchase. Online promotional code. Gift shopping at even the best prices and best deals could never match the value of giving gifts that do not come wrapped in a box with an extravagant bow on top. The catalogue of what to give to make a difference in the world does not arrive in one’s mailbox. One finds it in the heart and mind. The spirit of Chanukah is about illuminating the world, and the word Chanukah itself means “dedication.” The lighting of a menorah is a reminder that illumination begins with the dedication of self. The giving of self. Giving, not giving back. It is not about getting something and only then giving in return. It is just about giving. It is about recognizing a void or need and filling it. I call it everyone’s “power … [Read more...]

Hillel’s Sheila Katz: Inspiring Others to Make An Impact

Sheila helping to build a community center during a Hillel-AJWS alternative spring break trip

"If we are going to operate based on our Jewish values then our workplaces will work a lot differently." Sheila Katz By Abigail Pickus When Sheila Katz started working for Hillel in 2007, she looked around at the leadership and saw a whole lot of men. “I was so excited thinking maybe this would be my career, but when I looked around the landscape of who was running Hillel, I certainly didn’t see anyone who looked like me. It was mostly male executive directors and a lot of male rabbis,” said Katz. But as Hillel International’s first Vice President for Social Entrepreneurship and the youngest vice president in the history of the organization, the 31-year-old Katz is climbing the ladder of success - while paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive Jewish world. Growing up in … [Read more...]