The Chabad.org Blog

5,600 Rabbis and Guests, Dancing in Your Living Room

November 24, 2016 9:59 PM
No event or celebration would be complete without joyous dancing from the crowd. (Photo: Eliyahu Parypa/Chabad.org)
No event or celebration would be complete without joyous dancing from the crowd. (Photo: Eliyahu Parypa/Chabad.org)

Some 5,600 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and their guests will gather this year for the gala banquet of the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. The event, which provides one of the best opportunities to grasp some of the magnitude of the global phenomenon that is Chabad-Lubavitch today and capture some of the essential spirit that drives the movement, will once again be streamed live around the world.

Tune in to watch the event on Chabad.org’s live-stream, hosted on its video site, Jewish.tv, which will feature a simultaneous ASL translation and a running Twitter commentary. Last year, some tens of thousands tuned in to watch the event live.

An exciting new development this year: The evening’s proceedings will also be streamed live on Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope service. Choice moments of the banquet will be posted on Snapchat. A special “geofilter” for people posting on the video and picture-sharing app will be available for those present at the conference to add to their Snaps.

The stream comes as part of a series of features across Chabad.org’s various platforms depicting the annual event, including news and video coverage, as well as highlights from last year’s conference.

The evening’s proceedings can be viewed beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at www.chabad.org/kinus.

What I Learned From Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen

November 25, 2016

Dear Friend,

Much of my adolescence revolved around playing guitar and singing the songs of two nice Jewish boys—Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I suppose it’s inevitable that their influence should be somewhere in my writing now.

So when Dylan recently snatched a Nobel Prize and Cohen passed on just within walking distance of my home, there was memory, there was introspection. I had to learn something from that past of mine that they had filled.

Here’s what they told me: That with a few strums on the guitar and lyrics from the heart you have the power to move mountains. You can change the way a generation thinks. You can change the soul of a nation.

And if a guitar and a raspy voice can accomplish that, maybe we should start believing that yet more change comes from within our own homes, our own communities, our own selves.

That all it takes is a family where peace dwells on Friday night, a community where people know each other’s joys and sorrows and come running to help, and a heart that says hineini—I’m here to serve,

And we can have a new world.

Hey people! Write to me! What did you do today to change your world today?

Tzvi Freeman
on behalf of the Chabad.org Team

What Are You Thankful For?

November 22, 2016 2:02 PM

Dear Friend,

Thanksgiving is here, and more than 46.9 million Americans are on the road, many of them celebrating the holiday with family and friends. Sitting around tables laden with home-cooked delicacies, they’ll be sharing words of thanks to G‑d and a tradition that cuts to the core of the religious and moral underpinnings of the American republic, and its culture of freedom and compassion.

Several thousand travelers will also converge in New York for a rather large (and unique) annual gathering: the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. They’ll join colleagues who have followed the call of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—to spread the light of Judaism in places like Vietnam, Alaska, Nigeria and Croatia (to name a few). Sitting around tables laden with kosher delicacies, they’ll share words of thanks to G‑d and a tradition that traces back to the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, who taught the importance of each and every individual, and the preciousness of joyous service of the Almighty.

No matter if you’ll be spending Thanksgiving at home or with friends, make sure to clear Sunday evening to tune in and watch the live feed of the banquet, always an inspiring and interesting event.

Thanks for reading,

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

P.S.: What are you feeling grateful for right now? Please leave us a comment and share your gratitude with us.

Do You WhatsApp?

November 21, 2016 3:23 PM

WhatsApp is the world’s largest messaging platform with more than 1 billion users sending some 60 billion messages daily. Now highlights from Chabad.org’s rich collection of Jewish content will be culled and curated regularly on WhatsApp.

Regular posts will include short videos, images, links to a wide variety stories and essays, as well as inspirational quotes.

To sign up, send a WhatsApp message with the word “subscribe” to 570-543-2125. Be sure to save the number in your contact list to ensure that you will receive the messages.

Pray for a Friend

November 11, 2016 11:42 AM

Dear Friend,

They say that the best way to learn is to teach. My second-grade students and I have been studying the lives of Abraham and Sarah, and the stories have taken on a new significance to me as I view them through my students’ eyes.

Woven through the narrative is Abraham and Sarah’s childlessness. G‑d assured them that their descendants would be a great nation, as numerous as the stars of the heaven and the dust of the earth. Yet decades passed before G‑d’s promise of a child was fulfilled and Isaac was born.

Our sages note that the news of Sarah’s pregnancy directly follows the account of Abraham’s prayers on behalf of Abimelech, king of Gerar, and his household. “Whoever begs for mercy for his friend, when he needs the same thing, he is answered first,” this juxtaposition teaches us. Even before Abraham’s prayers drew down G‑d’s blessings upon Abimelech, it brought about the realization of G‑d’s promise to him and Sarah.

How powerful it is when we can look beyond our own circumstances and empathize with the pain of another! Like Abraham, let us offer wholehearted prayers, a listening ear, and a helping hand for friends in need, and may we merit G‑d’s blessings in abundance.

Rochel Chein
responder for Ask the Rabbi @ Chabad.org

The One Thing You Need To Know Before You Vote

November 5, 2016

If you are an American, you may be about to vote. Or perhaps you have already done so.

No matter whom you voted for or what the outcome, one thing is certain: this election year has left America more fractured, angry and divided than it’s been for a long time. Especially troubling for Jewish people of every party is the degree to which anti-Semitism has made a frightening return in public discourse.

But there is something we can do about it. This week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, speaks of the journey our forefather Abraham took from his father’s home in Charan, a most hateful place, to the Promised Land. It is a journey that we can also take towards our inner refinement: We must leave our negative desires, the bad influences of society, our habits, until we reach the inner promised land of transcendence and unity.

We must bring this country together, and by finding that core inner unity we all possess, we can elevate the conversation and remind every member of our great nation that while we might strongly disagree, we are still united as one.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe once shared the following wish with New York City mayor David Dinkins:

“In the near future, the ‘melting pot’ [of America] will be so active that it will not be necessary to underline every time [when speaking of others] ‘They are Black,’ ‘They are White,’ ‘They are Hispanic,’ etc., because they are no different. All of them are created by the same G‑d, and created for the same purpose, to add to all good things around them.”

The candidates would best serve their supporters by sharing with them the Rebbe’s strong, powerful and important words: “We were all created by the same G‑d, for the same purpose.”

That purpose, and our journey on earth, should be paved with acts of lovingkindness—of mitzvahs and goodness—that truly make us great.

Mordechai Lightstone,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Chabad.org Sharing Vignettes From Renowned Chassidic Storyteller

November 1, 2016 4:43 PM

Storytelling has long held a special place in the world of Chassidism. Some of the deepest, most personal and touching lessons can only be couched in the unassuming and amusing wrapper of a tale. Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of the Chabad on Campus International, has been telling and writing Chassidic stories for decades.

Chabad.org is proud to have recorded some of his choice tales to share with the international audience. “Each of these stories is a delectable treasure of Chassidic wisdom and authenticity,” says Meir Shmotkin of Jewish.TV, Chabad.org’s video section. “In the few short weeks that we’ve been releasing these on a weekly basis, we have been getting wonderful feedback from appreciative viewers all over the world.”

Aptly called “Chassidic Tales Worth Telling,” the videos can be viewed here.

Message to an Uncertain World

November 1, 2016 1:30 PM

Dear Friend,

When I think of Noah, I picture him building his ark, plank by plank, day after day, for decades. Despite the scoffing and jeering of passersby, certain that Noah was delusional and no mass destruction would befall them, he persevered.

As difficult and demoralizing as that must have been, he had hope. Hope that someone, anyone, would take him seriously, and adjust their behavior accordingly.

After witnessing the destruction of the entire known world and almost all its inhabitants, most people would have felt hopeless and downtrodden, ready to give up. Noah and his family, however, did what is virtually impossible—they started afresh. They drummed up enough hope and belief in the future—a better future—to begin rebuilding, day by day, person by person.

Our world can be a chaotic and scary place. Natural disasters are striking with increased frequency and ferocity, wars rage across multiple regions, the US faces an uncertain political future, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

It’s easy to feel hopeless. It’s normal. Expected. But if Noah could rebuild after seeing his entire world wiped out, surely we can keep working, minute by minute, day by day, to make the world a better, safer, holier place.

Miriam Szokovski
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

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