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The Chabad.org Blog

Chanukah Is NOT Just for Kids!

December 21, 2016 11:36 AM

Dear Friend,

Great emphasis is placed on including kids in the Chanukah festivities. They receive Chanukah gelt and are encouraged to light their own menorahs, and community Chanukah events are often geared to families with children. What is often overlooked is that Chanukah is for everyone, including people without young children at home.

You don’t need to be a kid to observe Chanukah and all it entails: lighting the menorah and sharing the holiday with others. If you know someone who is homebound or hospitalized, why not make the best of the remaining days of Chanukah, and visit them and bring some light into their lives?

Every Jew deserves to celebrate Chanukah, even those with no one to celebrate with. You can be the one to make a difference in someone’s life today.

Happy Chanukah!

Eliezer Zalmanov,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Will You Be on Vacation This Chanukah?

December 18, 2016

Dear Friend,

This Monday (the 19th of Kislev) marks the “birth” of Chassidism: the day it was allowed to emerge from the womb of mysticism into the light of day, to grow and develop as an integral part of Torah and Jewish life.

There are so many rich contributions that Chassidism has made. One extremely powerful concept that Chassidism brought to the fore is the recognition that everything happens by Divine design. If G‑d put you in a specific situation, it is because He wants you to use it for the better. There are no setbacks, only opportunities.

Let’s apply that axiom to Chanukah, which begins this Saturday night after Shabbat ends.

This year, Chanukah will be celebrated during a time when many in the Western world will be vacationing. Let’s make sure that our relaxation does not mean that we neglect the beautiful mitzvah of lighting the menorah every night of Chanukah. On the contrary, the chassidic approach is to use the extra time to make nicer, bigger celebrations, sharing the warmth of Chanukah with even more people!

What are your Chanukah plans? Please let us know by leaving a comment.

Happy Chanukah!

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

New Video Series to Explore Jewish Underground in Soviet Samarkand

December 13, 2016 3:18 PM

An exciting new video series will explore a little-known chapter of Soviet Jewish history: The Chassidic underground in Samarkand, deep in the heart of Soviet Asia.

The series documents the life of Chabad Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman. Born in 1939 in Kharkov, Ukraine, he fled with his family from the Nazi invasion when he was just a toddler, heading east to Uzbekistan.

There, at the fringe of the Soviet Empire, the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic community established synagogues and yeshivahs, and held brit milahs, bar mitzvahs and weddings. In 1946, a majority of this underground community escaped to the West, but the Zaltzmans and a group of other brave souls remained until 1971, serving as a bulwark in the battle to keep Judaism alive in the face of Soviet oppression.

He and his cohorts lived double lives, appearing to be model Soviet citizens, all the while immersing themselves and their children in a rich Jewish universe few knew existed.

Zaltzman’s story has received wide acclaim since his memoir, Samarkand, was published last year in Hebrew, English and Russian.

After he was was honored this spring in the U.S. Senate, Chabad.org sat down to document Zaltzman’s story in a 23-part video series called Inside the Samarkand Jewish Underground: Short stories of Jewish courage amidst constant threat in Communist Soviet Union.

Episodes can be viewed online for immediate binge-watching on Chabad.org’s video site, Jewish.tv, or weekly on Chabad.org’s Facebook page.

When Did You "Discover" the Internet?

December 12, 2016 1:06 PM

Dear Friend,

If you grew up in the 1990s, you may share some of my coming-of-age firsts: first time speaking on a cell phone (a brick-like contraption with a long antenna), first email account (remember AOL?), first time purchasing an airline ticket online (it took three days to finalize), first time calling home with a calling card (goodbye quarters!).

But while most of us were just discovering the expanse of the World Wide Web, my friend’s father had been making himself (and others) at home there for years. Rabbi YY Kazen (or “YY,” as he was known) was the pioneer who has been credited with founding the first Jewish presence on the Internet. As early as 1988, he was fielding questions and sharing Jewish texts on Fidonet, and he was among the very first to register a domain name, birthing Chabad.org in early 1994.

Today, it’s fun to work for Chabad.org. People nod with appreciation when I tell them what I do, often telling me how much they enjoy the site and its offerings. Things were different in the mid-‘90s, when most people wrote off Rabbi Kazen and his cohorts as a group of dreamy geeks.

They saw potential and they pursued it, against all odds. To use a Chanukah reference, they were modern-day Maccabees, not letting naysayers or so-called “realists” get in the way of their passion for Torah, Judaism and their love of the Jewish people.

Let’s learn from them!

Menachem Posner
On behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Chanukah Is Coming!

December 6, 2016 11:39 AM

Dear Friend,

Time really does seem to fly. Chanukah is less than three weeks away, and Judaica stores are filled with customers. Menorahs, candles, and chocolate gelt are flying off the shelves fast and furious—all on their way to Jewish homes where they will used and treasured.

But what about the homes where there is no one to purchase a menorah? What about the families for whom the light of Chanukah has been dimmed (or overshadowed by the tinsel and colored lights of the street)? They, too, deserve to experience the spiritual delight and warmth of Chanukah.

Let’s all do our part to make sure that every Jewish person gets to celebrate Chanukah. Pick up some (inexpensive) menorah kits and keep them with you. Whenever you meet a Jew in need of a menorah, just give it to him or her, and the world will be that much brighter this Chanukah.

Have you given or received a menorah kit? Please share your experience in the comments section.

Happy (almost) Chanukah!

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

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