The Chabad.org Blog

Give the Gift of Love

March 1, 2015

Dear Friend,

Weeks before Purim, the holiday spirit fills my home, as bits and pieces of costumes come on and off my children; Purim tunes fill the air; and the little voices beg for just one more hamantash. The dining room table has become Mishloach Manot central, covered with baskets and boxes, ribbons and wrappings, to be used in preparing the gifts of food sent on Purim. As Purim draws closer, various delicacies join the chaos. My kids eagerly help me prepare the packages, ready for delivery on Purim day.

Each year as I tie bows and plan the best route through town, one particular Purim memory comes to mind. I was a child of eight or so when I brought the brightly-colored package to my classmate’s quiet home. It was the only one that she received that day. I knew that my chocolates and fruit brought her true Purim joy and told her that someone cared. Mishloach Manot are sent as expressions of friendship and unity, and my friend’s shining eyes taught me what this mitzvah is all about.

As you prepare your Mishloach Manot, consider adding one more person to your list, someone to whom your gift will make all the difference.

Happy Purim!

Rochel Chein
responder for Ask the Rabbi @ Chabad.org

P.S. Did you ever give or receive a gift that touched your heart deeply? Please post a comment and tell us about it.

P.P.S. This week, US-Israel relations are on our minds. Here is the Rebbe’s advice from 24 years ago to a prime minister of Israel.

Your Purim Getaway

February 22, 2015

Dear Friend,

If you’re in the Northeast like me, you’ve had enough of winter. You want it away, and if it won’t go away then you will. Thankfully, Chabad has you covered. With Purim just around the corner (March 4-5), Chabad will whisk you to a local Purim celebration that will put you in another time or place.

Live around N.Y. or N.J.? Celebrate Purim in England, Paris or under the sea. Near L.A. you can Purim party like they do in Israel, Dallas and even at the circus! If Florida is where you reside, then try Purim in the Wild West, the jungle or the farm. Celebrate Purim in Hawaii in Boise; Purim in China in Leeds; and Purim in Italy in Reading.

There’s Purim in the 70’s, 60’s, and even the 1920’s! Can’t get far enough? There’s even an Intergalactic Purim!

But for me – I’ll even take a simple Purim in the shul.

Need to find your local Purim celebration? Click here for your ticket to a Purim celebration. And drop a line to your local center letting them know that you’ll be there – they will appreciate it!

Happy Purim,

Moshe Rosenberg
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

P.S. Where will you celebrate Purim this year? Share with us!

What Makes You Happy?

February 15, 2015

Dear Friend,

“Happiness is like a butterfly,” they say. “The more you chase it, the more elusive it seems.”

The Torah, however, disagrees, telling us that we can and must choose to be joyful. “And you shall be happy with all the good that the L-rd, your G‑d, has granted you and your household, you, the Levite, and the stranger who is among you.”

How do I make myself happy? The second part of the verse provides us with the answer to that:

  • Recognize that what you have is from G‑d, and
  • Make sure to share it with others who have less.

Our sages tell us that this incoming month, Adar, is a time to increase in joy—and I’ve just shared the Torah’s not-so-secret happiness recipe.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get happy!

Menachem Posner
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

P.S. What makes you happy? Please share your happiness tips in the comments section.

It’s Official: Chabad.org Facebook Page Tops 100,000 ‘Likes’

Content attracts followers from all over the world, who have responded to postings

February 6, 2015 9:03 AM
Chabad.org's Facebook page celebrated it's 100,000th "Like" this week.
Chabad.org's Facebook page celebrated it's 100,000th "Like" this week.

Tuesday, Feb. 3 wasn’t just any day for the Chabad.org Facebook page. For one, it was the start of 15 Shevat that evening—the New Year of the Trees. If that wasn’t enough to celebrate, that same day also made a bit of Chabad history: It counted 100,000 Facebook users who had clicked the Like button.

The milestone highlights Chabad.org’s ongoing role in current and emerging platforms to reach people around the world.

“Thank G‑d, we’ve been blessed with an engaged community—100,000 people who want to learn, want to share and want to explore Judaism online,” says Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone, the 30-year-old social-media editor at Chabad.org. “I think it’s a chance to reflect on how connections are made and what more can be done moving forward.”

Launched in the fall of 2009, the popularity of Chabad.org’s Facebook page has been organic, spurred on by its content and the creation of its own cohesive, modern visual style. “It’s something people are really enjoying,” says Lightstone. “They keep coming back for more.”

The page is home to a variety of attractive content: photos with captions describing Jewish holidays and life lesson, inspirational quotes and daily doses of text, kosher recipes and, of course, breaking news and stories about substantive Jewish issues in every part of the world.

The Facebook page has also focused on art and aesthetics, offering Shabbat and holiday messages—such as “Shabbat Shalom,” “Shavuah Tov” and “Chag Sameach”—that audience members can, with just a few clicks, share with their friends.

“We’re constantly looking to convey timeless messages to an ever-growing audience. To that end, we’ve recently begun to feature Jewish videos directly on the page,” adds Lightstone.

Popular postings link to articles and special sections on Chabad.org.
Popular postings link to articles and special sections on Chabad.org.

Especially popular videos have included one about how to put on tefillin, and videos documenting public menorah-lightings during Chanukah, from Moscow to Washington, D.C. “The Chabad-Lubavitch global network of emissaries is an endless resource that is continuously being tapped for rich and abundant content to feature on Facebook,” says Lightstone.

Medium Changes, Message the Same

From good old-fashioned radio in the 1960s to satellite in the 1980s, and the early adoption of the Internet in the 1990s, Chabad throughout the years has used various types of media to reach people looking to learn and grow Jewishly. Those involved on its social-media team share different styles and focus on how to expand.

“It’s a team effort. It’s grown over the years, keeping up with the evolvement of all aspects of social media,” according to Lightstone. In fact, “Chabad.org has put special emphasis on expanding its presence on Instagram, attracting more than 1,000 new followers in the last few months.”

Working closely with Chabad.org’s multifaceted editorial team, the social-media team is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, though Facebook is its largest audience. It uses Twitter to engage one-on-one with members of the community it has built there, as well as for breaking news.

Inspirational quotes and daily doses of text connect users to Jewish concepts.
Inspirational quotes and daily doses of text connect users to Jewish concepts.

“Each platform features its own style, content and tone, so people have a reason to check in on and engage with them all,” explains Lightstone. “All of that really goes back to the idea that it’s not so much about the platform as it is about the people. We’re going to use the platform, of course, to speak the language of the platform, but the end goal is to connect with people. If that’s where they are right now, then we’re right there with them.”

That, in fact, defines the focus of the Chabad.org website as a whole; the Facebook page can be seen as a natural extension of a comprehensive and popular online presence.

When the Chabad.org Facebook page hit 100,000 Likes and posted a “Thank you” message to fans, the comments came rolling in—from the United States, Brazil, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, France and other locales.

“You are welcome,” posted Angie Quintero. “Now aiming for the first 1,000,000 Likes.”

Miami-based Lisbeth Perez-Gentry said simply: “Thank you for being there to teach and answer questions.”

Andrew Black of Sheffield in the United Kingdom said he “knew virtually nothing only six months ago,” and that his spiritual growth has been deeply enriched by the daily posts, which he calls “invaluable and a great inspiration.”

There are links to popular recipes on Chabad.org.
There are links to popular recipes on Chabad.org.

“I find myself checking the Chabad page several times a day, work permitting,” explained Black. “I’m proud to be counted with the Likes for Chabad.org, as I feel that in learning and sharing the information on their page, I am in a small way helping to increase Torah understanding.”

Others noted that the Facebook page has reignited certain aspects of their Jewish observance, with men being prompted to wrap tefillin after years of not doing so, and women reflecting on their own roles, including lighting Shabbat candles.

“Our hope is to continue to grow,” stresses Lightstone, “and to inspire others to use social media as a source for Jewish engagement and study as well.”

Shabbat greetings are always favorite Shares.
Shabbat greetings are always favorite Shares.

Let's Help Each Other Grow

February 8, 2015

Dear Friend,

This week we commemorate the yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, of righteous memory. Her life was a legacy of sacrifice and love; all who knew her were deeply impressed by the genuine care and interest she took in others.

Nine years ago, in her honor, we launched TheJewishWoman.org, the women's satellite site of chabad.org, which has become the premier destination on the web for Jewish women.

This week, we invite you to join us in celebrating our amazing growth!

Over the last year we have had 1,725,881 unique visitors to our site and continue to receive enthusiastic feedback from our community of readers. This year, we’re shooting for 2 million visitors and here’s how you can help us!

Are you a Jewish woman or do you know one? We'd like to invite every Jewish woman to join our free weekly subscription to TJW.

Check out TheJewishWoman.org and discover why we have become the premiere home on the web for a wide and diverse audience of Jewish woman of all backgrounds and interests. Subscribe to our weekly email to receive freshly updated educational and inspirational material that will enrich your week.

Click here to become a part of our community.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TheJewishWoman.org

Montreal’s Best-Kept Secret to Be Shared Weekly

Join Dr. Yaakov Brawer on Jewish.tv

February 3, 2015 3:39 PM

The Jewish community in Montreal has long treasured the unique classes on Chassidus delivered by Dr. Yaakov Brawer, longtime professor of anatomy and cell biology at McGill University Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Brawer’s clarity and ability to describe the most sublime concepts in easy-to-understand language have long made his classes an opportunity for novices and seasoned scholars alike to learn Chassidic teachings from the original texts, gaining solid comprehension of the subject matter.

Most of those legendary classes were delivered on Shabbat afternoon, when recording is forbidden.

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Brawer has agreed to give a weekly class on Jewish.tv, allowing people all over the world to experience authentic Torah study at its best.

He will be presenting on Samech-Vov, a series of Chassidic discourses originally taught by Rabbi Sholom DovBer, the fifth rebbe of Lubavitch, known as the Rebbe Rashab.

Samech-Vov is one of the most studied classics in the canon of Chabad thought. It deals with the ultimate purpose of existence, and explains the spiritual significance of Torah study, mitzvah observance and the service of G‑d.

Discussing how the Rebbe Rashab’s teachings can be compared to those of Maimonides—clear, all-encompassing and lucid—the Rebbe, of righteous memory, singled out this series of discourses as being extraordinary in how they convey the deepest mystical teachings couched as well-defined and well-organized concepts that are understandable to the rational mind.

The first class will air on Sunday, February 8, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. EST. This will be a weekly class, and you can even sign up for live alerts to let you know whenever this or other live classes will air. If you’re on a smartphone, you can also view the class on our app, available at the App Store and on Google Play.

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