1. Walmart & Chabad
Great business, great religion
2. How can u possibly believe this
Sam - USA
How can u possibly believe that chabad believes in a watered down version of judaism?? I am very close to chabad here, and i know that all they do is encourage more and more. Sure it would be hard for me to keep kosher, but chabad encourages me to put on tefilin anyway. I was told that the rebbe said "bit by bit" do as much as u can now and the rest tomorrow. This doesnt mean stop now, it means that today put on tefilin (or learn some torah, do a mitzvah) and step by step youll eventually reach the epitome of where a jew should be. You cant expect someone to keep all 613 commandments plus all the rabinical stuff in one shot. The only other option would be to dismiss all the millions of secular jews. And thats not a option chabad is willing to take. I respect what chabad is doing, and think that they are as near to the perfect jew as the average person can get.
I attend a Chabad synagogue regularly. This undertaking was following many years of attending classes and advancing in Jewish learning, understanding and observance, guided by my trusted Rabbi. When I decided to take the big step of beginning to attend Shabbat services I asked my Rabbi if I shall do it. The only way possible for me to do it was by driving. My Rabbi answered me: No. You shall not. A response of that nature was most likely derived from Chabad policy. What do you assume these G-d fearing rabbis do at their conference you refer to if not engage in discussion of the future direction of Chabad and its handling regular advancement of society. I will suffice with this. Think again Marvin.
4. I am Chabad
My question is where are you, the writer heading? This writer definitely has some personal issue with Chabad. I've been around the world, to many Chabad centers, I know many Chabad Rabbi's and I was brought up in a Chabad school; I don't believe there is a single Chabad Rabbi who has ever agreed with someone driving to Shul on Shabbos or doing anything which is against Jewish law, the Halacha. Just because one won't get thrown out of a Shul does not mean the Rabbi agrees with him in what he's done. Most Chabad Rabbi's accept anyone Jewish to their congregation, they teach them Jewish Law, teach them the Torah but whether or not to drive to Shul is a decision that the individual worshiper must make, not the Rabbi.
5. Chabad reflects its own standards
Mr Schick criticizes Chabad for accepting people who are intermarried or who drive on shabbat. But many Orthodox synagogues accept those who drive on shabbat. And regarding intermarriage, one could argue that intermarriage is halachically better than marrying a Jew and ignoring laws of family purity. I have learned, in dealilng with Chabad, that Chabad has ITS OWN standards. For Chabad, it is important that a Jewish man put on tefillin (ideally iincluding R. Tam) even if he is married to a Christian woman. This is a different world-view than is standard in Orthodoxy, but it is Chabad's view. In short, Chabad judges itself by its own unique standards. These standards usually derive from the late rebbe's teachings.
6. Facts. Where are the facts?
Ruben Misrahi - USA
I don't think I've ever read an article with so few facts and so many baseless opinions. Although I'm a Sepharadic Jew, I can see the tremendous benefit that Chabad brings to Jews. They are a "bridge" to Orthodoxy. They accept Jews regardless of their religious "level" and smartly encourage them -very successfully in my experience- to become orthodox. What is true is that Chabad has succeeded where others failed, probably because other Orthodox people saw themselves as an "elite" and saw others as... well, as Marvin sees them.
Mayer Etkin - US
Although, I come from a traditional orthodox upbringing, I am what many would refer to as a pick and choose Jew. I am also a fan of Chabad. I consider more than a few of the Rabbis worldwide that I have met to be fine people and count them among my friends. They are a bit of a cult, but their hearts are in the right place and my key to getting along with them is to accept them as they are and look beyond their trappings.
8. Missed the point
Mat - USA
Chabad views its self as a "cheer leader" to welcome Jews of all affiliations to become more and more observant. Not the policeman...That is why they grow...like wall mart they raise the bar, and the public benifits
9. Where is Chabad heading?
Leah Amdur - Israel
I read that Chabad lighted a chanukiah in Sadams mukata. Thats impressive. They have also reached out and are mekaraving the askenazi non-religious in Tel Aviv, the kubutznikim. Thats impressive
10. Wal-Mart & Chabad
Sheindal G. Muller - USA
The writer's analogy between the Chabad movement and Wal-Mart, whilst momentarily eye-catching, is simply inaccurate. A closer analogy might well be between the United States and Chabad. Both appear to have leaders and legislators who are often devoutly religious in their personal lives but fiercely determined not to impose their personal religious standards onto others, not for votes or dues and certainly not through legislature. Perhaps Chabad workers resemble Wal-Mart workers in their willingness to work for long hours with next to no personal or monetary gain! In my opinion, their Chabad Houses are reminiscent of Wal-Marts because they are springing up everywhere; and much to the establishment's chagrin, are increasingly and overwhelmingly popular.
Garry - US
Marvin Shick: Wake up!! You either have a personal grudge with Chabad or you simply don't know what your talking about. As someone heavely involved with Chabad for 2 years now, I have been to more than 30 Chabad houses in my business travels and I can tell you that Chabad is doing all it can to save Judaisim!!! Only truth can stand & as you hinted, they are growing so much quicker than any group can ever imagine... Grow up and throw a compliment when someone deserves one! B'Shalom, Garry
12. Chabad Saved Me
Yehoshua - USA
The author seriously misunderstands Chabad, how it operates, and what it stands for. To say that Chabad is about watering down Judaism or implying that Chabad has abandoned traditions or the mitzvot is completely false. Chabad shluchim live by high personal standards while providing an atmosphere that is non-judgmental. They live among the most secular of Jews and provide them with a connection to authentic Judaism and opportunities to perform mitzvot that they couldn't get elsewhere. While they can't change every secular Jew into an observant Jew, they do reach thousands of Jews a year who become ba'alei teshuva. However, unlike the Conservative movement, *not a single Jew* has ever become less observant because of a perceived leniency on Chabad's behalf (such as allowing people to drive to shul while not condoning the behavior). Chabad is only about bringing people up, not allowing people to slide down in their level of observance. Do a good deed. Support Chabad.
In typical propogantist fashion, you haven't cited one case of a Chabad Rabbi endorsing chilul shabbos, or sactioning the violation of halacha. You throw terms around oosely, and aepect us to buy into your false slander because of a cutesey comparison to walmart, but reality is not with you. In fact, I can cite you case after case in which Chabad's no pressure attitude is exactly what encouraged hundereds of people to join unsospiciously and before soon become full fledge members of the orthodox community (chabad and non chabad). About the issues you pointed out, I want to ask you a serious question: How do you know there is no discussion about these controversial matters? You obviously aren't a shaliach, and haven't participated in shluchim events. So how do you know that these events aren't the primary discussions at these events? Also, how do you know that there are no precedent teshuvos on the matters? Reminds me of, we love jews, it;s israel we fight...
you know for someone who's been writing about matters of concern, for the jewish community for decades, you sound like you just fell off the tree. chabad espouses nothing less then full blown torah judaism for lubavitchers. the people we seek to attract are not required to accept all or nothing, and you obviously have never spoken to someone remotely resembling a "shliach" shluchim encourage to the greatest extent growth in all aspects of judaism, torah, and mmitzvot. what would you rather, what would you suggest, instead of bombasting, get off your great big rump and do something.
dov epstein - israel
Not only is chabad the Walmart of Judaism, but in relation to Judaism, it is the closest relgion to it. appealing in the most base way, Chabad, with it's celebrity worship, has worshiped the greatest celebrity of all.........its dead Rebbe, whom they venerate as the Messiah. Having once been a tremendous outreach program for Jews, but never maintaining their devotion to real Torah and halacha, they've turned to creating a new religion. Frankly, it's a question whether you can eat their Kashru.
16. I HAVE CHABAD TO THANK FOR MY IDENTITY
meir weinstein - canada
I CAN NOT UNDERSTAND WHY CHABAD IS STILL ATTACKED. THEY DO INCREDIBLE WORK AND HAVE EVEN DONE DANGEROUS WORK FOR JEWS. ALL THE OTHER GROUPS ARE JOHNNY COME LATELY TYPES. BUT CHABAD SHULS ARE FULL AND NO JEW IS PERFECT. THE CHABAD RABBIS ARE HONEST AND LET ALL JEWS KNOW THE LAW. SOME KEEP MORE THAN OTHERS. GIVE THEM CREDIT. AND CONSERVATIVE AND REFORM ARE NOT NECCESARY. THOSE MOVEMENTS CAME INTO BEING PRIOR TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL AS A WAY TO FIT IN. NOT NEEDED TODAY. JEWS LOOK TO CHABAD TO ENHANCE THERE JEWISH IDENTITY. IT IS VERY PRACTICAL-THERE ARE MITZVAS TO DO.
17. Misguided concern
Victor - Israel
A restaurant is considered Kosher on basis of the food it serves, and not because of the diners who eat in it. The writer should be more concerned about Habad's tolerance of its own Messianic sector which is outright heretical, than its outreach to people who don't toe the halkhic line.
There is a tendency in many circles to be hypercritical of chassidic jews generally and lubavitchers specifically. The complaints that this writer has compiled have nothing to do with chabad as an organization, and everything to do with the nature of Kiruv (outreach). There are also huge gaps in logic in this editorial. For example, the writer equates Conservative Judaism's condoning of breaking halacha with Chabad's not throwing people out on the street if they broke halacha. The writer at no point even makes a serious case for his accusation that Chabad defines Judaism downward. This "editorial" is nothing more than a poorly thought out rant.
19. Chabad Leads By Example
h - USA
I appreciate the writer's heartfelt desire for Jews to follow halacha-- i.e. refraining from the 39 Shabbos prohibitions ("malachot") such as not lighting fires (driving) and not watching tv on shabbos, keeping kosher, etc. Chabad rabbis lead by example-- they don't keep the parking lot open on Shabbos, they only eat kosher, their shuls have a mechitza, they don't turn their shabbos services into rock concerts in violation of halacha, etc., like the non-halachic jewish clergy do. I know SCORES of people in L.A. Pico/Robertson who became frum (fully observant-- i.e. fully shabbos observant, kosher everywhere, and other mitzvot) through Chabad. I became orthodox thru Aish HaTorah (aish.com). I know many people who started at Chabad and became fully observant thru Aish, and I some who started at Aish and got frum at Chabad. And Chabad people got frum in towns where there's no observant judaism outside the chabad rabbi's house. So give them a break please.
20. Chabad keeps Halacha most strict
Your average chabadnick will not only keep halacha, but the strictest possible! They will not shave, only have cholov yisroel, pat yisroel, not carry even with an eruv etc. etc. and they constantly demand growth. Because there are people that are not yet religious driving to shul has nothing to do with chabad supporting it. Every person has free choice. If you decide to drive to shul on shabbat, that is your struggle, but chabad will keep teaching authentic halachic judaism. There are people at all sorts of shuls that drive on shabbat, including modern orthodox, sephardic, and ashkenazic. Yet another article that decreases Jewish unity.
21. Completely Wrong Impression
Yocheved - US
I have visited Chabad centers all over the world and there is no question that this author has not done so. If he had he would see that Chabad representatives make an enormous, life-long effort to provide an experience of authentic Judaism to each and every Jewish person they come across. They do not discriminate against those who have already intermarried, or who have no knowledge of Judaism whatsoever. The most important thing I have experienced as a baal teshuva in Chabad is that Chabad Rabbis and Rebbitzins expect no less of any Jew than they do of themselves. They do not consider a baal teshuva as a "second class Jew". It may take a given individual years and years to get to a complete - if there is such a thing - level of mitzvot observance but his/her Chabad Rabbi/Rebbitzin will be there as a guide all along they way. Chabad is saving Jewish families. I have many friends who became baal teshuvas through Chabad who are the only child of their parents not to intermarry.
The Dershowitz conundrum was a major faux paux and was the subject of intense discussion and disagreement amongst Lubavitchers. The decision, which I belive is a stain on Chabad by inviting a leading proponent of the Expulsion to be the keynote speaker at the largest yearly Shluchim conference, was an embarrasment and made by a select few self-appointed administrators and the shlich from Harvard. B"H, thru Chabad I slowly became Torah Observant yet, continue to both be allegiant while openly critical of those Chabad continues to honor and applaud.
23. I cringed when I read this article.
Mikhail Shmuel Tsivin - USA
I cringed when I read this article. After making myself read through it till the end, looking for valid points, I came away in the end with the question: How can Jpost, print (post) such a biased and slanted piece? The author clearly twists facts and make illogical and incorrect conclusions. Chabad has made an impact and significant contribution to Jewish life world-wide.
24. And who is assimilated?
Stanley Work - USA
"of the changed and highly-assimilated American Jewish landscape." And most Israelis are secular. To infer that one is more Jewish simply because one lives in Israel is absurd on its face. Speaking Hebrew does not earn you a place in Heaven. Utter nonsense. In fact, most Israelis I have made cannot stand the haradim. They find them crazy and arrogant, quite frankly.
25. Chabd as Walmart
ken b - USA
Obviously this blowhard doesn't get out of the house and in to the real world. I would calll his ariticle fiction, but that would be an insult to fiction. Chabad Rabbis are some of the best people on earth. Sure there are bad ones, it's the real world. Someday he may be in need of life/soul saving help, and who will be the ones never to turn away a fellow Jew (even this blowhard); Chabad.
26. In the right direction
Eliezer - Uruguay
Where is Chabad heading? Why don't you come see the facts for yourself before writing such nonsense. Your defamation of Chabad is simply sickening and cruel. It is sickening to those who know the real facts and cruel to those don't and won't want to because of the nonsense you wrote. As one of those that lives in the trenches and forefront against assimilation, all I can do is invite you to come and see what is really going on... Tefillin, Mezuzos, Kashrus, Taharas Hamishpacha, Shiurei Torah, etc. etc. etc. No Chabad downgrading of Judaism where I live....
27. How did this article get on here?
YG - Canada
This is perhaps the most untruthful, igrnorant and pointless article I have ever read on JPost.
28. Where is Chabad heading?
Yitzchok - Canada
Sorry, Marvin. Your years of dedication to Jewish leadership are certainly praiseworthy, but that does not make you all-knowing. Here you're very, very wrong. The Chabad you describe is so far off the mark it's laughable. It is not at all the Chabad reality as is known from within. The attitude you describe is diametrically opposite to the Rebbe's constantly repeated warning to never ever water down Torah & Mitzvos. Any Shaliach who does not heed the Meshaleach would be a rogue emissary, undeservant to represent Chabad. There isn't a legitamate Chabad Shaliach we know anywhere in the world who does not consult with qualified Rabbonim for all such questions and issues. If your intention was to be controversial, that's about all you've accomplished, nothing more, albeit with a small dose of Rechilus thrown in.
29. schick's article re Chabad
shoshsch - USA
Unfortunately, much of Mr. Schick's comments rang true for me. While their concern for their fellow Jews is certainly admirable, their lack of concern for their own spiritual welfare is disturbing. In my community, for example, I am not alone in noticing that Lubavitch women and girls often do not dress the way a Bas Yisrael should. It is somewhat funny when you see those wives standing next to their husbands, who are wearing the normal Lubavitch Levush. Besides dress, however, there seem to be other areas of religious dedication as well that suffer from a lack of attention by the Lubavitch Also, apropos of Mr. Schick's reference to Dershowitz, it is very upsetting to be asked by Non Jews of my thoughts regarding Shmuli Boteach! While Lubavitchers may exclaim that he is not the real thing, where is the public outrage and condemnation?? Sh in USA
30. Chabad's hesed is the essence of Judaism
jw - USA
Good deeds are the very core of Halachic man. Ritualistic observance is secondary & perhaps an ideal to further enrich one's life, but ritual is mainly to intitutionalize the religion. First & foremost, being a mensch, a man of charachter, going beyond yourself w/ good deeds & an overfloe of "hesed," helping others, is the very essense of a Jewish life, wonderfully exemplified in the nonexclusive charity of Chabad.
31. Jewish Unity
Sarah - USA
Acceptance of all jews is no mistake. The Chabad show by their actions that we all have holy souls, and although the Rabbis continuously advise and support on mitzvot, they never condem those who are yet to be perfect in this realm of malchut. May Moshiach come speedily and in our time.
32. chabad, sad but true
this artical is sad, but true. the points raised are valid, and it behoves the greater Orthodox community to confront Chabad, if there is in fact any desire on either side to include Chabad under the umbrella of "Orthodoxy"
33. Mr. Schick, you are disgusting.
TDR - USA
As an orthodox sefardi Jew, I am pretty far from Chabad's ideology. Still, I find your attacks sad and strangely motivated. I don't believe you will find a Chabad emissary who encourages his students to drive on Shabbat. Neither will you find a Chabad Rabbi officiating intermarriages. Chabad is about bringing people closer to the torah and to haShem. For the most assimilated of our youth, each new mitzvah is a miracle. If they must be gained little by little, so be it! Tikun Olam is WORK, and work it will take. Chabad is not perfect; I understand worries about a post-messianic minority within the movement (NOT among your charges). But your comments sir, are completely unfounded and petty. Stop attacking the most active voice for Jewish observance in the world and do some work yourself to help an unaffiliated Jew return!
34. interesting.. must be open minded
Yechiel Shaffer - USA
I understand what the author is trying to stress. Being fairly involved in 'outreach' myself (not through chabad) it is important for the readers/author to realize that we often have this 'all or nothing' attitude towards yiddishkeit and halacha, the reality is becoming closer to G-d is a process, one people constantly mistake as an all or nothing process. It isn't, its a struggle that groups like Chabad are helping people through. That being said it is important that the groups involved are not recruiting members to their group, but to Klal Yisrael. Obviously, Chabad has been under quite a lot of fire since the death of their leader, and chassidim without a Rebbe just doesn't make sense, the nature of chassidut needs a Rebbe at its helm (Breslov is a total exception to the rule). Since Chabad is under fire from the wider community for its Messianism, the organization is trying to gain legitimacy, greatest way to do that is to gain more members. This work must be done for the Jewish pp
Elaine Miller - United States
I am surprised that the Jerusalem Post presented this one-sided article. The Chabad rabbis do so much good and realize that observance begins one step at a time. They perform services in the community that might not otherwise exist and do so in a sincere way. I think Judaism would be in a much worse position without Chabad.
36. where is chabad heading
shlomo - usa
how sad, shouldn't all Jews rejoice when a Jew comes to shul to pray..to really pray, all long jorneys begin with one step. Here in the "outback" of the US the Jewish Renewal Movement and Chabad are there when a Jew suddenly feels that longing to pray to HaShem but has no knowledge or background to begin that long jorney. Why sit in Yeshiva and simply write off the many thousands of Jews who don't live in proximty to any Jewish Institutions. Your dismissal of Jews in all the far corners of the US is short sighted and cruel.
RabbiPaltiel.com - USA
Chabad isn't w/o its problems but it's wrong to label it as defining Judaism down. Chabad is accepting of all Jews and along with that comes the price of being exposed to secularism, but overall, Chabad rocks!
38. Attn Mr shick: WRONG TOPIC TO CONTEND WITH.
Rabbi David Aron
Mr. Shick, As far as I am concerned you have just lost all credibility.
39. We are Am Echad
Hershel - USA
Welcome to the post-denominational world, where Orthodox Jews see secularism, and not secular Jews, as the enemy. Like Avraham Avinu, the tent should always be open. Chabad gets it, as does DATA, JEP, Torah Links, Gateways etc. Forget the denominational labels, we are Am Echad. We need to bring back each and every Jew. This requires great compassion, understanding, patience and a non-judgemental environment. If you have a better solution than Chabad, stop writing such narishkayt and get to work, there are millions of Jews who need you!
40. chabad saves lives
i am shocked that the jpost would post such a baseless and illogical argument by such an op-ed writer. . . this atricle is nothing but baseless hatred, which G-D forbid, causes the redemption to be withheld. . . we need to understand that Chabad is in the forefront of Jewish "outreach" and is not in competition with anyone, and without ChaBaD judaism wouldn't be alive!
41. Chabad Good Deeds
Sam San Jose
With all the problems Jews have, why does a writer choose to write a story attacking Chabad. Chabad is a Mitzvot to the Jewish people. I was looking for my Jewish identity and the Rabbi and Rebbitzin open their home to me. Every Jew is accepted and welcomed. To them, a Jew is a Jew no matter how religious they are. When our Chabad Rabbi heard that my father in law was days away from passing, he asked to drive with us 2 hours to put on Tafflin with my father in law. He asked for nothing in return! With such a broken world Chabad should be praised for the work they do for our people.
42. Chabad is truth
Besides the fact that this whole article is stemming from the writer's ignorance, and the fact that all his arguments are totally invalid... i'd like to point out that Chabad is probably one of the only Jewish organizations which sticks to the laws of the Torah [in the fullest sense], as opposed to the many other organizations involved in Jewish awareness. Chabad has kept to strict observance of the Torah and has never delineated or subtracted from halacha/law in order to make Judaism more appealing. Chabad is true Judaism!
43. Chabbad & Shabtai Tzvi: Too close for comfort
Jew - Israel
The Shabtai Tzvi movement brought thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Jews back to Judaism. Those who didn't keep the mitzvot- or those who were not strict, suddenly began to keep kosher, to grow peyot, to give much charity, to keep Shabbat. That Shabtai Tzvi and his "prophet", Nathan of Gaza, had heterodox beliefs and practices made some uncomfortable, but nobody really took the unequivocal stand that needed to be taken. This is the same case today with Chabbad. Their heterodox beliefs are totally in conflict with traditional Jewish beliefs, yet why are people like David Berger and Marvin Schick lone voices? ALL religious Jews should be screaming "enough"!
44. Distorted article
Howard Chudler - ca
This was a misleading and unfair article. The writer misleads and in many areas and makes only a half-hearted effort at being "fair". Chabad captures and even saves a Jewish audience that, otherwise, is not going to be reached. The "dumbing down" of Judaism is a starting point for many of us and has lead many to become increasingly more observant, including yours truly. Is your typical non-observant Jew going to go "full-frum on day one?" Come on! Tell me...what, in general, has the more traditional Orthodox community done to attract the less observant...throw a few rocks on Shabbat maybe? They spit on my wife one day in Mea Sha'arim. That will win respect. I lived next door to the Belz Yeshiva on Aggprias St. Jerusalmefor 2 years...never once even a hello, but always a friendly word from the Chabad guys. Chabad is not for everybody, and surely has its weaknesses, but to me, it is the best thing that has happened to Judaism in the past couple of centuries at least.
45. you seem to be talking of yourself
what worries me is that these false allegations, that the writer claims, are nothing but a mere self-image of the writer himself. . . Chabad adheres to strict halaka only, and it is only that the writer is totally oblivious as to how Chabad operates that he would argue all this non-sense. These arguments are fabricated by the writer and they come from the problems he sees within himself. Because the bad (in this case, the alleged bad) that one sees in others is usually the bad that is really within oneself, HASHEM protect us all from such a thing! i think we all need to do some serious soul-searching because it is truly Chabad that sticks to the Torah and its laws.
46. you don't even know what chabad is
do you even know what chabad is?? clearly, you don't! i don't think i have ever seen such an unfounded article as this one in my entire life... i dont even know why i am writing this b/c there is no need to argue against such false accusations. i am not going to waste any more of my precious time...
47. On the money
Chabadism. is not Judaism. Kudos to the author who is just reporting the facts. My only disagreement is wiht the numbers I think chabad potrays themselvs larger then they truly are. Like Wal Mart their diversified so the impression is there, but in hard numbers its absolutly not true.
sandra chitayat - canada
Chabad is based on Tanya, for which its author was imprisoned in Russia and eventually miraculously released in 1745. From what I have learned, one should read daily from the Torah, Tehillim and Tanya: "Chitati": Chumash,Tanya and Tehillim. The philosophy of Chabad, if you're speaking of downward, has to do with contraction, tzimzum, that HaShem "contracted" Himself to make room for His Creation, so the question is whether we shall merit to see the Building of the Temple by making mitzvot and through Torah study, which I would say is upward, or whether G-d will decide in His infinite Mercy and Wisdom, when the time is right, and deliver us, which would be a movement from above to below. Anyway, the flow is constant, if there is to be a response from above, there has to be movement from below, Keter to Malchut and Malchut to Keter... When there is a blockage in that flow, there is an imbalance in the Tree of Life. Does one really know what one has been sent down to do? Thank you.
49. Chabad's hesed is the essence of Judaism.
wj - USA
Good deeds are the very core of Halachic man. Ritualistic observance is secondary & perhaps an ideal to further enrich one's life, but ritual is mainly to institutionalize the religion. First & foremost, being a mensch, a man of character, going beyond one's self w/ good deeds & an overflow of "hesed," helping others, is the very essence of a Jewish life, wonderfully exemplified in the nonexclusive charity of Chabad
50. Get Out of Your Ivory Tower, Mr Shick
Shimon - USA
As one who came from the other so-called Jewish movements over the last 5 decades, I find your negative and stereotypical references to Chabad insulting, bordering on Lashon Ha'Rah. Try coming to my frum neighborhood in Houston so you can see how Chabad has turned the fourth largest city in America on its head. I'd put our Halacha up against yours any day! Moreover, I just returned last week from a very sobering 2-week experience in Israel with 29 other Americans. Our biggest surprise: Just like they have done throughout America and the world---more than any other branch of Judaism---if it wasn't for those pervasive and persistent shliachs that you detest so, Israel would now be just another secular country. So stop bashing what you do not know beyond 770 Eastern Parkway. Any simpleton can criticize anything, but it takes a real mensch to emphasize in the positive and to unite across different viewpoints.