Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chabad to establish presence in Frederick

An international Jewish organization is looking to establish a new presence in Frederick in order to reach out to local, unaffiliated Jews.

Boruch Labkowski, a New York-based rabbi, has started a local chapter of Chabad in Frederick and is also the group's director.

Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, movement and organization that is rooted in Hasidism, a religious movement in Judaism.

The word "Chabad" is an acronym for the Hebrew words for wisdom, comprehension and knowledge. Lubavitch is the name of a Russian town where the movement was based for more than 100 years.

According to Labkowski, the Jewish community in Frederick County is large and interested enough to support the Chabad of Frederick. The organization held its first event in September, when nearly 70 people fashioned rams' horns into shofars, used to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

"People are interested … and they're thirsty for more Judaism," Labkowski said earlier this month.

Labkowski said Chabad's purpose is to deepen Jews' understanding of their faith through an array of different events and programs from adult lectures and children's workshops to Kabbalah classes and holiday programs.

The group has yet to find a permanent meeting space in Frederick; Labkowski said he is planning to move to Frederick soon with his family.

Chabad of Frederick is open to Jews of all backgrounds, and specifically targets Jews who are unaffiliated with a local synagogue or congregation, he added. Chabad also has locations in Gaithersburg, Potomac, Germantown and Bethesda.

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