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Reflections from a Spontaneous Journey

HOW WE INTEND TO IMPACT 

It was quite remarkable when an alumnus visited and shared that he is quitting his job to spend six months out of the country learning a foreign language and volunteering. He had a good job, in the career of his preference, and was living amongst friends. Understandably I asked, “What happened?”

With full sincerity he felt that he was not providing value to the world through his marketing job. He felt what difference would it make if people purchased product A or product B? He went on to describe how his practice of Judaism has lapsed because as he put it, “It provided no meaning.” While his friends were satisfied with following the routine, for him the lack of… Read More »

15 Years at Brandeis; A Chabad Odyssey

Fifteen years ago the 20th day in the month of Av (this Wednesday 8/24), turned out to be the hottest day of the summer. In the sweltering heat we cleared out the last items from our two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, packed them into our car and began a four hour ride to Waltham, Massachusetts. Mendel was four months old, Chanie twenty two, and I was twenty five.

Later that Thursday afternoon we arrived at our rented apartment located a mile and half from the Brandeis campus. As we pulled up, the movers carried our boxes up the winding steps to the second floor of a three story home where Chabad of Brandeis was going to begin.


That first Shabbat we sat on boxes, with food purchased in the nearby supermarket laid before us on other… Read More »

It’s Their Secret and Our Hope

For the second year in a row we hosted Zusha at Chabad of Brandeis, a soulful band of three young men, recent college graduates, whose popularity is on the rise. The Shabbat at Brandeis was part of their Boston visit as they tour the country celebrating the release of Kavana, their latest and well received album.

Their brand is the Chassidic musical style of neegoon, wordless melody, and they seek to inspire people of all backgrounds to live with intention, meaning and love. On stage they dance with each other in the chaotic and soulful Chassidic style, one arm wrapped around each other’s while the other arm sways directionless in the air.

Elisha, the percussionist, with his short hair, neatly trimmed blond beard and casual… Read More »

IF IT DOES NOT FEEL GOOD, I DON’T ENGAGE

The two hottest issues being discussed and at times dividing the Jewish communities committed to Halacha, are homosexuality and egalitarianism. With the recent public position the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America, the largest and most dominant union of Orthodox Rabbis in the United States) has taken opposing women in the clergy and the Orthodox institutions that support them, the issue of equality for women within Halacha has been raised to the fore.

In June when the Supreme Court of the United States legalized gay marriage, the Jewish community committed to Halacha was placed under the spotlight; what is the appropriate response to this new law of the land? From the leading Rabbinical councils, to individual Rabbis and lay leaders, to… Read More »

Times of Israel: BDS, Birthright, and thinking inside the box

Imagine if the BDS movement sweeping through college campuses today would have occurred say, fifteen years ago. Leaders of the American Jewish community, including major organizations and philanthropists would have decried the modern-day anti-semitism and searched for solutions to combat this poisonous phenomenon.

Considering that BDS seeks to de-legitimize Israel on college campuses, and it is Jewish college students who are confronted by the demonstrations and petitions, it would be prudent to focus efforts on Jewish college students. To empower them not to be intimidated by the bullies with the loud megaphones, and more importantly, to be a powerful counter-force that would put the protesters on their heels and on the defensive.

The… Read More »

Times of Israel: Here to disrupt

After fourteen years our mission has never been clearer.

Since our arrival at Brandeis in 2001 we have encountered two types of reactions to Chabad. Some people love and appreciate Chabad while some are skeptical and dismiss Chabad.

Chabad is a wonderful organization that offers an exceptional service to many people. It is a home away from home, a warm Shabbat dinner, and in general a non-judgemental environment that is welcoming to all. That is why Chabad has earned the love, respect and support of so many.

Long before Chabad was an organization, with the first Chabad house established in 1969 at UCLA, it was a philosophy that evolved into a movement and community.

During the latter half of the 1700s in Russia, Rabbi Shneur Zalman… Read More »

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