When Rabbi Yosef Kazen surfs the Web from his office in Brooklyn, New York, he sees a prophet's words coming true.

For Rabbi Kazen, one of the developers of a virtual synagogue called Chabad-Lubavitch in Cyberspace, the growing popularity of the Internet is "fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that swords will be turned into plowshares. The computer network was created as a Cold War military system; now it's for worldwide education."

The Lubavitcher site, dedicated mostly to the teachings of the orthodox Jewish sect, is a virtual temple that accommodates a far larger and more diverse congregation than any real building could hold. "We could never be in touch with people in China, South Korea, Antarctica, and Turkey without this medium," says Rabbi Kazen. Thousands of people visit the site every day to download weekly Torah readings or to post prayers to be read at the grave of the Lubavitchers' late leader, the Rebbe Menachem Schneerson.

Many non-Jews visit Chabad-Lubavitch in Cyberspace, including some who come on religious quests. Adam Liu, a psychiatrist in Beijing who wants to convert to Judaism, sought help online. "I went to look for spiritual food as soon as I was familiar with the Internet," Liu says. "Divine assistance" led him to email Rabbi Kazen, and the Brooklynite has sent email in return advising him on how best to pursue his dream. For Rabbi Kazen, such encounters are proof of the Internet's power to transmit "the beauty, depth, awareness, and joy inherent in a Torah-true way of life."