Chabad-Lubavitch related controversies

Chabad-Lubavitch related controversies

Part of a series on
Rebbes of Lubavitch
1. Shneur Zalman of Liadi
2. Dovber Schneuri
3. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
4. Shmuel Schneersohn
5. Sholom Dovber Schneersohn
6. Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn
7. Menachem Mendel Schneerson
770 Eastern Parkway · 19 Kislev · Ohel
Chabad library · Crown Heights riot · 11 Nissan
Brooklyn Bridge shooting · 3 Tammuz
Agudas Chasidei Chabad · Chabad on Campus
Tzivos Hashem · · Kehos · Library
Gan Israel · Sheloh · Jewish Relief Agency
Children's Museum · JLI · Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch
Ohr Avner · Colel Chabad · Kol Menachem
Notable figures
Hillel Paritcher · S. Z. Fradkin · Itche Der Masmid
Yoel Kahn · L. Y. Schneerson · Nissan Neminov
Leib Groner · C. M. Schneerson · Herman Branover
Manis Friedman · Yehuda Chitrik · Yehuda Krinsky
Berel Lazar · Z. M. HaYitzchaki · C. M. A. Hodakov
Shemaryahu Gurary · Yitzchak Ginsburgh
Crown Heights · Kfar Chabad
Tanya · Shulchan Aruch HaRav
Tehillat HaShem · Maamarim
Hayom Yom · Likkutei Sichos · Igrot Kodesh
Tomchei Temimim · Morristown Rabbinical College
Oholei Torah · Hadar Hatorah ·Mayanot
Yeshivah Gedolah · Beth Rivkah · Bais Rivka
Machon Chana · Bais Chana · Ohel Chana
Yeshivah College · Ohr Avner
Mitzvah Campaigns · Chabad house
Chabad on Campus · Mitzvah tank · Tefillin
Public menorah · Noahide laws · Shliach
Chitas · Mashpia · Meiniach · Farbrengen
Nusach Ari · Choizer · Chabadnitze
Other Chabad groups
Strashelye · Kapust
Messianism · Library controversy
Moshe Schneuri · Malachim
v · d · e

Chabad-Lubavitch is a branch of Hasidism. Its founder Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi was twice arrested by the Russians on trumped-up charges, and later opposed Napoleon's emancipation of the Jews; one of his sons is alleged to have converted to Christianity. The movement achieved global prominence under the stewardship of the seventh (and last) Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The belief that Schneerson is the messiah and will return or that he never even died has led to some friction within the Chabad community. Since his death in 1994 the movement has split into competing factions. Ongoing financial battles between the factions since 1995, as well as the contested control over part of the headquarters in Brooklyn has led to strife.[1]


Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the movement, was twice arrested by Tsar Paul I on trumped up charges but released both times.[2] In the face of Napoleonic invasion, Schneur Zalman sided with the Tsar, believing that emancipation and freedom would lead to spiritual malaise.

During his life, the controversies between the Hasidim and Mitnagdim intensified in many ways. Some issues involved in the disagreements were the best type of knife to be used for ritual slaughter as well as the appropriate conduct during, and phrasing of prayers.[3] As a result, the Hasidim were subjected to bans, though these lessened during the lives of Schneur Zalman's son, Rabbi Dovber Schneuri and grandson, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn. Although Shneur Zalman and a fellow Hasidic leader, Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (or, according to the tradition in the Soloveitchik family, Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev), once attempted to see the Vilna Gaon to persuade him of the legitimacy of Hasidism, the Gaon refused to meet with them.[4]


In 1798 Shneur Zalman was arrested on suspicion of treason on trumped up charges and brought to St. Petersburg, where he was held in the Petropavlovski fortress for 53 days.[2]

Again in 1800 he was arrested and again transported to St. Petersburg along with his son Moshe who served as an interpreter, as Shneur Zalman spoke no Russian or French. He was released after a few weeks but banned from leaving St. Petersburg.[5] The elevation of Tsar Alexander I a few weeks later led to Shneur Zalman's release.

According to some scholars Shneur Zalman's first arrest was not the result of anti-Hasidic Mitnagdim agitators fabricating charges, or officials seeking extortion monies.[6][7] An accusation was made on May 8, 1798 by Hirsh ben David of Vilna , who accused Rabbi Shneur Zalman of trying to assist the French Revolution, by sending money to Napoleon and the Sultan. It appears that there was no such person as Hirsh and the authorities were attempting to stir up internecine fighting among the Jews.[6]

Shneur Zalman and Napoleon

While some Jewish leaders supported Napoleon or remained quiet about their support, others including Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi openly and vigorously supported the Tsar. While fleeing from Napoleon, Liadi wrote a letter explaining his opposition to Napoleon to a friend, Rabbi Moshe Meizeles:[6]

Should Napoleon be victorious, wealth among the Jews will be abundant. . .but the hearts of Israel will be separated and distant from their father in heaven. But if our master Alexander will triumph, though poverty will be abundant. . . the heart of Israel will be bound and joined with their father in heaven. . . And for God's sake: Burn this letter.[8]

Some argue that Rabbi Shneur Zalman was impelled by Napoleon's attempt to arouse a messianic view of himself in Jews, opening the gates of the ghettos and emancipating their residents as he conquered. He established an ersatz Sanhedrin, recruiting Jews to his ranks, and spreading rumors about his conquest of the Holy Land to make Jews subversive for his own ends.[9] Thus his opposition was based on a practical fear of Jews turning to the false messianism of Napoleon as he saw it.[6]

Others argue that Dershowitz's interpretation is correct, but that Shneur Zalman's "fears were borne out by the events of the next two centuries. When emancipation did come to European Jewry, it came as a gradual process, and the traditional Judaism had by then developed an array of intellectual and moral responses (most notably, the Chassidic and Mussar movements). Still, the spiritual toll of freedom was high: traditional Jewish life was all but wiped out in France and Germany by the upheavals spearheaded by the French Revolution, and while it persevered in Eastern Europe until the eve of the Holocaust, many fell prey to the winds of anti-religious "enlightenment" blowing from the west. We can only imagine what the toll might have been had Napoleon conquered the continent in the early years of the nineteenth century."[10]

Moshe Schneersohn

Scholar David Assaf uncovered evidence that Rabbi Moshe Schneersohn (or Zalmanovitch or Shneuri), the youngest son of the founder of Chabad, the Alter Rebbe, had befriended an artillery officer. The officer then got Schneersohn drunk at a party and convinced him to convert to Christianity. Assaf also uncovered evidence that there had been a campaign by Chabad followers to erase this fact from the history books. Schneersohn had been a Rabbi in the Belorussian town of Ula.[11] According to Chabad accounts, including the history of the Chabad movement written by the sixth Rebbe, "Rebbe Moshe" was forced to flee and spend the rest of his life in hiding after winning a disputation with the local priest (similar to Nachmanides's forced move after winning the Disputation of Barcelona). Chabad accounts state that he was buried in an unmarked grave in Radomyshl, Ukraine.[11]

Documents found by historian Shaul Stampfer document Schneersohn's conversion to Christianity. The original documents are located in the national historical archives in Minsk. These include a letter in to the local priest in which he states his intent to convert, his baptismal certificate, which was dated July 4, 1820. The documents also show that after his conversion he worked for the Tzar to assist in the conversion of other Jews.[11] In the letter in which he stated his intention to convert he wrote that the Jews had tried to prevent him from doing so by watching him constantly, beating him and threatening him. He wrote: "I have remained steadfast in my desire to take upon myself the true faith of Jesus Christ, to which the holy books and all the prophets testify." After conversion he changed his name to Leon Yoleivitch. He returned to visit Lubavitchi, where his brother was the Rabbi, but fled, ultimately dying in a mental institution in St. Petersburg.[11]

Dovber Shneuri

Although Rabbi Dovber Schneuri succeeded his father as Rebbe of the Chabad movement, a senior disciple of his father, Rabbi Aharon HaLevi of Strashelye, a popular and respected figure, differed with him on a number of issues and led a breakaway movement.

Strashelye breakaway

When Schneur Zalman died, many of his followers flocked to one of his top students, Rabbi Aharon HaLevi of Strashelye. He had been Shneur Zalman’s closest disciple for over thirty years. While many more became followers of the Mittler Rebbe, the Strashelye school of Chassidic thought was the subject of many of the Mittler Rebbe's discourses. R' Aharon HaLevi emphasized the importance of basic emotions in divine service (especially the service of prayer). The Mittler Rebbe did not reject the role of emotion in prayer, but emphasized that if the emotion in prayer is to be genuine, it can only be a result of contemplation and understanding (hisbonenus) of the explanations of Chassidus, which in turn will lead to an attainment of "bittul" (self-nullification before the Divine). In his work entitled Kuntres Hispa'alus ("Tract on Ecstasy"), the Mittler Rebbe argues that only through ridding oneself of what he considered disingenuous emotions could one attain the ultimate level in Chassidic worship (that is, bittul).[12]

Joseph Isaac Schneersohn

The response of the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn to the Holocaust has been condemned from a number of quarters. Bryan Mark Rigg wrote his PhD thesis on the subject at Cambridge University. He quotes Rabbi Alex Weisfogel, secretary of Rabbi Avraham Kalmanowitz of the Vaad Hatzalah as saying that Kalmanowitz and Aaron Kotler were appalled at Schneersohn's focus on "bringing the messiah" while the war continued.[13]

He was a moral failure at this time to condemn us and the Jewish people as a whole for the Holocaust when he in turn did hardly anything except rescue his books and few students' lives.[14]

Rigg argues that while "he employed every means possible to escape Europe, when he arrived in the US, he did not approach those very same people to help rescue those who had to remain in Europe. However, he did approach those people in the government to rescue his library, which he did get out in 1941. Also he started condemning people who were organizing amazing rescue efforts like rabbis Kotler and Kalmanowitz of the Vaad-Hatzala".

Others contend that Rabbi Aharon Kotler was using funds raised to rescue Jews to fund his Yeshiva and that is why the Mizrachi and Agudas Harabobnim withdrew from the Vaad after they discovered this. Rabbi Schneerson did not participate in his Vaad in the first place perhaps because Rabbi Kotler was his opponent back in Europe for whatever reason and told hundreds of Yeshiva students not to go to the Far East (where their lives would have been saved) reportedly because Rabbi Schneerson instructed those who would listen to him go.

He forbade his followers from leaving Russia in the 1920s and 1930s, declaring that those who did were "deserters". Chabad scholar Avrum Erlich writes:

In Yosef Yitzhak’s case, the consequences of staying in the Soviet Union were disastrous for the obedient Hasidim; moreover, as there was little for those who stayed to do, their sacrifice was largely in vain. While he prevented his followers from leaving Russia, Yosef Yitzhak himself eventually migrated to the United States, long after it became impossible for many of his followers to escape Communist persecution.[15]

However, Chabad sources state that recently uncovered documents show that Schneersohn immediately began lobbying for assistance to Jews in the Nazis' path.[16] According to Chabad he petitioned ambassadors and politicians in London and New York for relief packages to be sent to the Jewish communities in the western parts of what is today the former Soviet Union. His letters were co-signed by Rabbi Jacob Rosenheim, then-president of the Agudath Israel World Organization.[16]

The Malach

Another incident which occurred was with Rabbi Chaim Avraham Dov Ber Levine (haCohen), also known as The Malach (lit. the angel). He was the tutor of Joseph Isaac Schneersohn when the latter was a child, but personal differences caused Levine to break with Chabad. Torah Vodaas, in order to inspire its students, used to encourage its students to visit knowledgeable rabbis and Levine was one of them. Eventually, some of the students styled themselves as Levine's followers. This quasi-Hasidic group, known as The Malachim, is antagonistic towards Chabad and only acknowledges the legitimacy of the first four Chabad rebbes. The Malachim themselves did not choose a successor to Rabbi Levine.

The dispute was apparently over the tutelage of Yosef Yitchok.[17] According to the Malachim, Levine caught him reading a secular book and told his father about the incident. Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad, did not believe that his son would do this and summoned tutor and student to speak with them. When Yosef Yitzchok promised that he had not read the book, the father accepted his word, and Levine resigned his post.[18][19]

Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Presence of godliness in a Tzaddik

In a talk during 1950, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson described his father-in-law, the sixth rebbe, and rebbes in general, as being "the essence of God, as it put itself in a body". This is written in his collected sermons, Likkutei Sichos[20] He asks how one can make a request of a rebbe—isn't that a problem of speaking to God through an intermediary (which is anathema to Judaism)? He answers:

It is not possible to ask any questions about [how it is possible to turn to the Rebbe as] an intermediary [for the purpose of asking him to pray to Hashem on one’s behalf], since this is Atzmus uMehus [G-d's Essence] itself as it put itself in a body. This is similar to the statement of the Zohar,[21][Full citation needed] “Whose is the face of the Master [G-d]? This is the Rashbi.” [In further support, the footnote there quotes the Talmud Yerushalmi:[22] “‘And G-d in His holy chamber’—this refers to Rebbi Yitzchok, the son of Rebbi Lezer in the house of study of Keisrin.”] Or [this can be explained along the lines of the idea that] at the time that he performs his mission, an angel is called by the name of Havayeh [one of the Names of G–d].[23] Or [this can be explained along the lines of the idea that] Moshe Rabeinu said, “I [Moshe] will give the grass.”[24]

In fact, the Zohar quotation cited above on parshat Bo, Section 2, page 38a, paragraph 126 states that it is based upon Exodus 32:26 where Moses speaks directly to the entire nation of Israel at the time of the sin of the golden calf when he had descended from Mount Sinai at G-d's direction. Moses tells the nation, "Whoever is for G-d (Moses uses the explicit four letter name of the Creator), is for me." This understanding of the meaning of the Torah of Moses as presented by the Lubavitcher Rebbe is explicitly affirmed in this section of the Zohar by Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Yossi together when they say that everything that exists above in the spiritual and Heavenly realm has its counterpart below in the physical realm. Just as there is a Heavenly Temple above, the physical manifestation of that below is the Temple in Jerusalem. They then go on to ask, whose is the face of the Master, meaning G-d? And they apply it to the Moses of their generation saying, That is Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. Rabbi Chiya was the leading student of the author of the Mishna, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Rabbi Yossi (ben Chalafta) was a teacher and a contemporary of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi.

Rabbis Dr. David Berger and Chaim Dov Keller, have stated that this is a major innovation by Schneerson that in their view "deifies" the Rebbe, which is contrary to Orthodox Judaism. Chabad scholars question Keller's and Berger's authority to comment on this subject,[25] and counter that these reactions are based on misunderstandings of the Kabbalistic terminology used by Schneerson, and that similar expressions abound throughout non-Chabad Hasidic and Kabbalistic literature.[26][27] They further note that many similar statements are attributed to the Baal Shem Tov, the Ohr ha-Chaim, the Tanya, and Rashi on Chumash-Bereshit 33:20. They also point to a quote from Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi that "He who breathed life into man, breathed from Himself". Therefore a person's soul is "truly a part of HaShem above".[28] They posit that in the light of these statements Schneerson's 1950 comments are not a departure from normative Jewish thought, and are in line with solid precedent in Chassidic and Kaballistic classics.[26][27]

In 1961, ten years after Schneerson had first talked about Atzmus, a senior Chabad rabbi used the term figuratively to describe him. In a letter dated Tamuz, 5721, Rabbi Avraham Pariz, rabbi of Kfar Chabad wrote:

Within the holy body of the Rebbe, 'Atzmus Ein Sof baruch Hu' [the essence of infinite God] resides. This tells us that whatever the Rebbe says or writes, 'Atzmus Ein Sof baruch Hu' is saying and writing, so to speak.[29]

Schneerson on the Holocaust

Schneerson was accused of comparing the Holocaust to the amputation of a rotting limb[30] and arguing that the Holocaust may be beneficial on a deeper level of perception, that God can be compared to a surgeon who amputates a limb to save a patient's life. This accusation quotes Schneerson saying:

[The limb] "... is incurably diseased... The Holy One Blessed Be He, like the professor-surgeon... seeks the good of Israel, and indeed, all He does is done for the good... In the spiritual sense, no harm was done, because the everlasting spirit of the Jewish people was not destroyed."[30]

Chabad emissary Eliezer Shemtov responded subsequently claiming that this is a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Schneerson's letter.[31]

Rabbi Elazar Shach's critique

Rabbi Elazar Shach issued a series of public criticisms of Schneerson, from the 1970s through Schneerson's death in 1994.[32] He accused Schneerson's followers of false Messianism, and Schneerson of fomenting a cult of crypto-messianism around himself.[33] He objected to Schneerson's call for "demanding" the Messiah's appearance. When some of Schneerson's followers identified him as possibly being the Messiah, Shach called for a complete boycott of Chabad, its institutions and projects by its constituents.[34]

In 1988 Shach explicitly denounced Schneerson as a meshiach sheker (false messiah).[35] Shach also compared Chabad and Schneerson to the followers of the 17th century false messiah Sabbatai Zevi.[36] Pointing to a statement by Schneerson, in a passage referring to his predecessor, that a rebbe is "the Essence and Being [of G-d] placed into a body",[37] Shach described this as nothing short of idolatry. His followers refused to eat meat slaughtered by Lubavitch shochetim or to recognize Chabad Hasidim as adherents of authentic Judaism.[38] Shach once described Schneerson as "the madman who sits in New York and drives the whole world crazy."[39]

In addition to Shach's objections to some Chabad members venerating Schneerson as the Messiah, he also disagreed with Chabad on various issues of Jewish law and philosophy, but particularly politics. While Chabad strongly opposed peace talks with the Palestinians or to relinquishing any Israeli territory under any circumstance, Shach alternately supported both left and right-wing parties in the Israeli elections. During the 1988 elections, Schneerson encouraged Israeli Haredim to vote for Agudat Israel over Shach's newly-formed Degel HaTorah party. Shach's newspaper, Yated Ne'eman, ran several articles documenting various Chabad writings and statements that it claimed supported Shach's contention that Lubavitch was becoming a breakaway sect of Judaism focused on Schneerson as the Messiah. In a conversation that he had with an American rabbi in the 1980s, Shach stated, "The Americans think that I am too controversial and divisive. But in a time when no one else is willing to speak up on behalf of our true tradition, I feel myself impelled to do so."[40]

Shach stated in his letters[41] that he was not at all opposed to chassidim and chassidus (including Chabad Chassidim from the previous generations[42]); he recognized them as "yera'im" and "shlaymim" and full of Torah and Mitzvos and fear of heaven.[43]

In the early 1980s, Shach, together with Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky (the "Steipler"),[44] issued proclamations strongly condemning the Lag BaOmer parades that Chabad has been holding around the world since the 1940s.[45][Full citation needed]

Other Haredi critiques

While Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner is reported to have been opposed to what he perceived as a "personality cult" built up around the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and to the public projection of both the Rebbe and the Lubavitch movement, by the movement, through public media—print and broadcast journalism, books, film, and the like,[46] he expressed deep respect for the Rebbe's scholarship, and occasionally sought his blessings.[47] Hutner corresponded with the Rebbe over the course of several decades, often seeking his guidance and input on a wide variety of halachic and particularly, chassidic subjects and texts. While most of their correspondence[48] centers on academic matters, Hutner also maintained regular contact with Schneerson via a number of Rabbis serving as messengers between the two.[49] When a keynote speaker at the Agudat Israel convention in 1968 sharply criticized Chabad and their Rebbe (particularly the recently launched tefillin campaign), Hutner wrote a letter distancing himself from the convention, stating that he had neither been in attendance nor would he, and begging forgiveness for any pain his earlier letters discussing halachic issues involving this campaign may have caused, stating that "my letter is absolutely personal...and should it have caused any pain, I hereby beg forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.".[50]

In an interview with Mishapacha Magazine, Yisroel Belsky accused Chabad of having "become a personal cult centered on the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe", and said, "there's no room in Yiddeshkeit for a personality cult in which an individual is deified and glorified. Whether he was great or wasn't is immaterial. There have been many great people in Judaism. The personality cult of glorifying an individual person, giving him unique titles, elevating the shape of the building he was active in, etc., has no place in Yiddeshkeit."[51] Chabad Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg responded, in a letter to the magazine, "I can categorically state that none of the Chabad Yeshivas in any way, G-d forbid, 'deifies' the Rebbe. Rabbi Belsky's statement is totally libelous and falls in the category of falsehood and slander. The issue of the role of a tzaddik has always been a point of contention between Chasidim and non-chasidim. A perusal of the works of such Chasidic luminaries as the Meor Ainayim, the Noam Elimelech, and the Tiferes Shlomo, to name just a few, underscores the central role that a Rebbe occupies in the life of a Chasid. Ultimately we have come to respect these differences of opinions between the two communities. For Rabbi Belsky to reiterate this opposition to what he considers to be an improper Chasid-Rebbe relationship only fuels the fires of baseless hatred."[52]

Chabad library controversy

A family dispute arose about the library of the sixth Rebbe which also brought an internal family rivalry between Barry Gurary (supported by his mother) and his uncle the seventh Rebbe (supported by the "Rashag", Barry's father) into the public spotlight. Barry Gurary's grandfather, the sixth Rebbe, collected a vast library of Judaica, which included several rare volumes. As the sixth Rebbe's grandson, Barry believed he was entitled to a portion of the library and was supported in this belief by his mother and Rabbi Chaim Lieberman (the sixth Rebbe's librarian) as well as the will of his grandmother (the sixth Rebbe's wife).

In 1984, some 34 years after his grandfather's passing, Barry Gurary entered the library and clandestinely removed numerous Jewish books,[citation needed] including a first edition Passover haggadah worth over $50,000, and a Siddur (Jewish prayer book) that was said to have belonged to the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, and began selling the books. One illuminated Passover Haggadah dating back to 1757 was sold for $69,000 to a Swiss book dealer who soon found a private buyer to pay nearly $150,000 for it. He claimed to have both his mother's permission, as well as the permission of his aunt, the seventh Rebbe's wife, to take the books. However, his uncle, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Chabad Rebbe, was infuriated by these actions. He demanded that the volumes be returned. When Barry refused, also refusing his uncle's summons to Beth Din, Schneerson pursued the case in the civil courts. On legal advice the Lubavitchers decided to obtain a temporary restraining order in the hope that this would resolve the matter.

Rabbi Schneerson argued that the volumes were not the "personal possession" of Gurary's grandfather, but the "communal property" of the Lubavitch Hasidim. In making this argument, basing himself on a letter from his father-in-law indicating that the books were the heritage of the entire Jewish community[53] he implied that possession of the books legitimized a succession claim; therefore Barry's alleged theft constituted a challenge to his long-undisputed leadership of the Chabad movement. The organizational body that represents Lubavitch Chassidim - Agudas Chasidei Chabad (ACC), filed suit to retrieve the books. In 1986, the court ruled in favor of ACC, and that ruling was upheld on appeal in November 1987.[54] The volumes were returned to the library. The Lubavitcher Rebbe then proclaimed this day as a special time of rejoicing for Lubavitch which they called "Didan Notzach" (which basically means "our case won").

Chabad messianism

The Chabad messianist flag. The hebrew word is "Moshiach", meaning "Messiah".

Chabad messianism is a belief by some within the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement that the late Rabbi and leader of that movement Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the Jewish Messiah. Adherents to this belief are termed as Mishichist in Yiddish.

Before Schneerson's death in 1994, a significant body of Chabad Hasidim believed that he was soon to be crowned as the Messiah - an event that would herald the Messianic Age and the construction of the Third Temple. Books and pamphlets were written containing purported proofs for the Rabbi's status as Messiah, some of which Schneerson opposed.[citation needed]

Attempts by his followers to persuade him to reveal himself as the Messiah were to no avail. Followers routinely sang the mantra "Long live our master, our teacher and our rabbi, King Messiah for ever and ever" in his presence - a chant that he often encouraged in his last years, after suffering a stroke, which left him unable to speak and paralyzed on the right side of his body.[citation needed] During the later years of his life Rabbi Schneerson's teachings were interpreted by many to mean that he was claiming to be the Messiah.

His death in 1994 did not remove the messianist fervor. Believers soon developed new rationales to justify the belief the Schneerson was the Messiah despite being dead. Some argued that he had in fact not died at all and was still physically present. Others argued that though he was dead Judaism did not rule out the possibility of the Messiah returning from the dead.[citation needed]

The development of this messianism and its impact on Chabad in specific — and Orthodox Judaism in general — has been the subject of much discussion in the Jewish press, as well as within the pages of peer-reviewed journals. Nevertheless, the belief in the Lubavitcher Rebbe being the Messiah, is confined to a subset of the Chabad community and is not accepted by Jewish adherents outside of that community.[citation needed]


"Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v'Rabbeinu Melech haMoshiach l'olam vo'ed!" is a phrase used by many Lubavitch Hasidim to pray and proclaim that the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the messiah. It means "Long Live our Master, our Teacher, and our Rabbi, King Messiah, for ever and ever." The phrase can be seen printed in various settings, it is chanted by many people at the end of daily communal prayers in Lubavitch congregations, including the main Lubavitch synagogue in Crown Heights. Yechi has a complex and controversial history dating back to the mid-1980s and is often viewed as a litmus test to differentiate the messianists from the anti-messianists or non-messianists.

Shaul Shimon Deutsch

Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch, a former Lubavitcher, started a new Hasidic group, Chabad-Liozna. However he has failed to attract adherents. He assumed this title in a ceremony on December 5, 1996 at his synagogue on 45th Street in Brooklyn.[55] He took the name of the town of Liozna in Belorussia where the early Chabad movement was founded with the intent of enticing Chabad followers away from the belief that their late leader was the Messiah.[55] His actions have made him an object of derision within the mainstream Chabad community.[56]

In 1998 he was the victim of a campaign of character assassination via the Internet.[57] A forged Jewish Telegraphic Agency press release claimed that he had been arrested for embezzlement and the counterfeiting of ten-dollar bills. He installed bulletproof glass in the windows of his home and synagogue.[58]

Weinstock estate

The "Weinstock estate" case, that dragged through the courts for ten years, divided the highest levels of Chabad administration into two irreconcilable camps.[59]

In 1978 Judah Leo Weinstock bequeathed a $32 million estate to the United Lubavitcher Yeshivot (ULY), a body that oversaw the funding of four Chabad yeshivas, under the direction of Rabbi Shemaryahu Gurary. The donation had been solicited for the ULY by Rabbi Nachman Sudak, a Chabad emissary in London.[59] However, Weinstock had asked that the money be used to establish Yeshivas in Israel, something that ULY was not capable of. Gurary ordered that the monies be distributed evenly between ULY and Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch (MLC) which maintained Yeshivas outside the US. In 1987 a board of trustees (including Yehuda Krinsky) was established that distributed the money on a discretionary basis between ULY and MLC.[59]

In October 1994, a few months after Schneerson's death ULY fell into financial troubles. The directors of ULY requested large sums from the trustees - eating into the principal of the estate. The directors of the MLC (some of whom were also trustees of the estate) objected to the requests, and the trustees of the estate refused to grant the money.[59]

Furious, the directors of ULY began claiming sole title to the estate, based on a strict reading of Weinstock's original bequest. The ULY took the MLC to court, having failed to agree on a mutually acceptable Beit Din. The previously open relationship between the ULY, MLC and the trustees - while Schneerson was alive - complicated the case, as did the ambiguity in the bequest.[59]


Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg dealt with the case from 1995, when the dispute surfaced until 2000 when he ruled that there had been clear intent to share the money equally between the two organizations, once united but now at loggerheads.[59]

In 1997 the dispute had deteriorated, and a rival ULY board headed by Krinsky claimed to be the rightful representatives of ULY.[59] Feinberg ruled that until the dispute could be settled Mario Cuomo[60] would serve as the emergency receiver,[61] a role he held till 2000. In 2000 Feinberg ruled that since the parties refused to attend any type of Beit Din or arbitration,[61] he had to rule against the original board and for Krinsky since the original board had failed to cooperate with the court-appointed arbitrator. The judge noted that:

There were no questions about the administration of the estate or the proper recipient of the funds with Schneerson calling the shots. With the rebbe's death in 1994, this consensus broke down."[61]

The ruling was a major blow for the ULY board, known as the Vaad,[62] though their lawyers welcomed the decision publicly saying that they could now appeal.[61]

In a final judgement in November 2003, New York Supreme Court ruled that the original course of dealing before 1994 showed intent on behalf of the ULY to share the money evenly with MLC, and that course should continue.[59] Thus, after nine years of litigation, the original ULY board lost their claim for complete control of the Weinstock estate.[63]

Local controversies


Czech Republic

In Prague in 2005 tensions developed between Chabad members and Rabbi Karol Sidon. The Alt-Neu Synagogue in Prague's ancient Jewish Quarter became the scene of an emotional dispute between members of the Chabad movement and locals backing Karol Sidon, chief rabbi of the Czech Republic. The conflict led to violent brawls and hospitalisations on a number of occasions.[64] Sidon was eventually returned to his post.[65] In 2004 Tomas Jelinek the director of the community council fired Sidon as Rabbi giving the post to young Chabad rabbi Manis Barash. A grassroots campaign from community members led to the deposition of Jelinek as the community director. Jelinek then asked a religious arbiter in Israel to rule on the case who ruled in favor of Barash. Sidon's supporters argued that the case was void since Jelinek had lied to the Judge telling him that the community board had been behind his actions in firing Sidon and appointing Barash. However on 21 November 2005 he was reelected as the chief Rabbi of the city following the protracted dispute with Chabad.[66]

Community head Jacub Roth told the press: "this is part of the local Chabad’s striving to take over the community’s religious life. We have seen an ugly foray of Chabad in their attempt to take over the Old-New Shul."[65]


In May 2004, the Lithuanian Jewish community temporarily closed the Vilnius synagogue following a disorderly dispute in the synagogue between members of the Orthodox and the Chabad Lubavich Jewish groups. The community closed the synagogue again in August 2004, following another disturbance. The government charged the leader of the Chabad Lubavich community with assault and trespassing in the second occurrence, but subsequently dropped the charges. The synagogue remained closed pending resolution of the community's internal disputes.[67]

Sholom Ber Krinsky

Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky (nephew of Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky) the Chabad emissary to Vilnius has been embroiled in a number of scandals. His soup kitchen was closed down because it served contaminated food. A scandal erupted when charges were made that he had stolen money from donors. Creditors took over the first floor of his Chabad Center to cover unpaid debts, and he remains indebted to his creditors. He collected money to maintain the Jewish cemetery in the city but never paid the $25,000 to the community which was his share in the maintenance.[68]

Krinsky styles himself as Lithuania's "Chief Rabbi", though this was not widely accepted. His attempts to become the officially recognised chief rabbi included having Yona Metzger – who has close ties to Chabad – write a letter to the Lithuanian President; he tried appealing to the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice; this also failed. On February 29, 2004, he held a meeting of 30 of his followers within the community and declared that they were the religious Jewish community of Lithuania. These people proclaimed him chief rabbi and documentation of the meeting was sent to the Ministry of Justice, but this failed to sway the government who maintained that choosing leaders was the prerogative of a religious community as a whole.[68] In response 400 Jewish Lithuanians signed a document condemning Krinsky.[68]

When the community appointed a Chief Rabbi, Chaim Burstein in early 2004 Krinsky and his followers began a campaign against him. In May 2004 some of Krinsky's followers attacked Burstein on the podium during prayers, and the police were called to break up what became a brawl. Burstein retreated to his home with some supporters to continue prayers but Chabad activists broke in and continued assaulting the worshippers.[68]

The synagogue closed down and was reopened a few weeks later with security at the door to prevent the ingress of Krinsky and his friends. Krinsky attempted to enter and a brawl ensued.[69] Krinsky told the press that the security made him "feel like I went through a Nazi selection."[68] The synagogue was again closed for the duration of the summer, Krinsky and his Chabad followers maintained an angry vigil at the scene that was covered regularly by the local media.[68]

In June 2007 Krinsky was facing eviction from his premises for non-payment of rent, and was given an ultimatum by the community to "publicly acknowledge the community's ownership of the synagogue and its choice of chief rabbi; cease referring to himself as "chief rabbi"; and submit to "a sound, open and transparent financial management".[70]


A bitter rivalry has been ongoing in Russia for the past 10 years between Berel Lazar, chief rabbi for the Chabad-Lubavitch-dominated Federation of Jewish Communities, and Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the pluralist Russian Jewish Congress, over who represents the Jews of Russia on an official basis.[71] The Kremlin officially recognized Lazar as the religious leader of the Russian Jewish community, pushing aside the congress’s Rabbi Adolf Shayevich, who until then had occupied the post.[71]

Since the installation of Rabbi Berel Lazar as the Chief Rabbi there have been a number of controversies associated with Chabad influence with premier Vladimir Putin, and their funding from Russian oligarchs such as Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich.[72] Lazar is known for his purported close ties to Putin's Kremlin.[73]

Putin became close to the Chabad movement, since it is the largest Jewish organization in the FSU representing the majority of communities after a number of non-Chabad Jewish oligarchs and Rabbis including Vladimir Gusinsky (the founder of the non-Chabad Russian Jewish Congress) backed other candidates for president.[74] Lev Leviev, a chabad oligarch[75] supported Putin, and the close relationship between them led to him supporting the Chabad federation nomination of Lazar as Chief Rabbi of Russia, an appointment that Putin immediately recognized despite it not having been made by the established Jewish organisation.[76] Lazar was referred to by some as Putin's "Court Jew";[citation needed] Lazar responded to these allegations:

I do not know what a court Jew is. There are some people whose only purpose is to speak in condemnation of the government. I try to be objective. The situation in Russia has improved under Putin. People get pensions. The standard of living is rising. There are also negative phenomena, which deserve to be criticized. There is corruption at all levels, though that has been characteristic of Russia in the past 80 years. The reform is in bad shape and there are also many other ills.[72]

Rabbi Adolf Shayevich, who had been Chief Rabbi of Russia until 1998, argues that the Lazar is merely the appointee of Chabad and that he remains Chief Rabbi. What happened, he explains, "has nothing to with religion and everything to do with politics and business. The president invites him to receptions and does not invite me. I am not offended."[72]

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt was expelled from Russia by order of the government, after having lived in Russia for fifteen years. According to rival oligarch Vladimir Slutsker, Goldschmidt told friends it was Slusker who had him expelled over his opposition to Chabad.[72][77] Lazer made no protest at the expulsion of his rival, and within days was appointed to Putin's Public Chamber,[78] a controversial body that human rights groups have criticised as a window dressing exercise, packed with Putin acolytes to "legitimize the government’s increasingly authoritarian policies."[79]

According to an editorial in the Jerusalem Post the reason why Lazar has not protested Putin's arrests of Jewish Oligarchs and Goldschmidt's deportation is that "Russia's own chief rabbi, Chabad emissary Berel Lazar, is essentially a Kremlin appointee who has been made to neutralize the more outspoken and politically active leaders of rival Jewish organizations."[80] In 2003 while many around the world criticised the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky Lazar praised the action saying that "The future of the country shouldn’t be in the hands of one man who has money."[71]

Rival RJC chair head Yevgeny Satanovsky said that Lazar’s endorsement of the actions was intended to develop a role as the special Jew for Putin in order to strengthen the position of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which he said was built around the worship of Schneerson.[71] Lazar responded that "it’s no secret that I have a very good relationship with the president."[71]

Darkei Shalom synagogue

The Darkei Shalom synagogue is a major synagogue in northern Moscow. It was affiliated with Chamah, a religious and social welfare movement on behalf of former Soviet Jews with offices in New York and Israel, as well as Moscow. The spiritual leader of Darkei Shalom, Rabbi David Karpov, is a devotee of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, yet over the years he has distanced himself from FEOR, the Chabad rabbinical grouping in Russia that appointed and is headed by Lazar. Kaprov was telephoned by Lazar telling him that the synagogue was being gifted to the Chabad movement by its owners and that he would have to leave the synagogue, and resign his post to make way for the a new Chabad emissary.[81] Lazar suggested that if he fell into line with FEOR he may be allowed to stay. At the same time Kaprov received court orders over various technical and administrative issues, which Kaprov argued were due to Lazar pressuring Kaprov. In an open letter to Lazar, Rabbi Adolph Shayevich and 16 other rabbis wrote:[81]

We would like to express our deep disappointment and discontent with the recent attempt of FEOR to forcefully capture the Darkei Shalom Congregation, one of the most successful and respected Jewish congregations of Russia. This kind of attitude demonstrated by Rabbi Berel Lazar contradicts the spirit of Torah and is apparently based on typical methods deployed by Russian criminals.

Shayevich added in a statement to the press that "they already have too much money and power, and are using it to destroy all Jewish organizations which resist Chabad’s total domination of Russian Jewish life."[81][82]


Chabad maintain a Chief Rabbi in the Ukraine in opposition to non-Chabad Chief Rabbi Yaakov Bleich. A group of prominent secular Jews orchestrated the appointment of Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman - a Chabad messianist to rival Bleich and another Chabad rabbi, Azriel Haikin who had been appointed by Chabad in 2002. His election as Chief Rabbi by a group formed by some wealthy Jewish businessmen in October 2005, caused considerable controversy in the Ukrainian Jewish community. Azman's election was endorsed by a group of secular Jewish leaders attending a Kiev Jewish conference, but not by any rabbinical authorities.[83] A group of rabbis from the non-Chabad Russian Jewish Congress attacked the appointment describing it as "illegitimate" and "insulting to the feelings of every believer".[83] 150 secular Jewish leaders from 100 Ukrainian cities and towns later protested the vote as well.[83][84]

According to the Baltimore Jewish Times, More than 30 Chabad rabbis affiliated with the federation issued a statement Sept. 15 saying that the election of another Chabad rabbi, Moshe Reuven Azman of Kiev, to serve as Ukraine's chief rabbi was "illegitimate" and "insulting to the feelings of every believer. A chief Rabbi can be elected only by rabbis working in Jewish communities of that country," and argued that the election was invalid.[85]

United Kingdom

Gaon Club

The financial troubles at a central London club aimed at attracting professionals, consumed a third of Chabad's total UK budget. Allegations of financial irregularities led to the directors of the Lubavitch Foundation (UK) filing a Beit Din suit against the club's director rabbis Mendy Vogel and Yosef Vogel demanding that they cease and desist from using the Chabad name.[86][87]

Rabbi Shlomo Levin, director of Lubavitch UK said the Lubavitch Foundation had been "unable to meet its monthly commitments, amassing large debts in unpaid teachers salaries, bank loans and unpaid PAYE." He complained that the Club was responsible for swallowing a large chunk of the movement's budget.[87] The Gaon club was opened by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in 2006 and was located in rent-free premises in the West End of London.[87]

The club was closed and the Beit Din ruled that the Vogel brothers must not use the Chabad, Lubavitch or Gaon Club names for at least 6 months and that they should return any Chabad property that they had in their possession. Rabbi Faivish Vogel the father of the two men, who was the chief fundraiser of the "Lubavitch Foundation (UK)" which brought the suit, resigned following the ruling.[88]

It emerged that the foundation is now £1.5 million ($3 million) in debt to banks and other individuals. The Vogel brothers expressed their intent to continue their activities despite the ruling: "We are not going anywhere. Our dedication to Anglo-Jewry, and particularly its young people, was not just a job. It was our life, as taught to us by our father who was inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe."[89]

Rabbinical Center of Europe

Chabad established a rival rabbinical grouping (called the "Rabbinical Center of Europe") to the Conference of European Rabbis, the primary Orthodox Jewish rabbinical conference in Europe since the Second World War. The body is headed by Moshe Garelick, a Chabad Rabbi from Milan, Italy. The executive director of the "Conference", Aba Dunner complained that the "center" was misrepresenting itself, deliberately confusing people and duplicating their work. Attacked their action as counter-productive he said:[90]

What are non-Jewish government officials to think when one group has been dealing with them on the issue for years and then suddenly another group wants to negotiate with them on the same agenda? We believe in the old shtadlonus [intercession, lobbying] methods rather than in conferences with low-level diplomats which may provide headlines but accomplish nothing.[90]

While the organisation was set up as a Chabad group, they removed all references to Chabad after a few months, the Chabad Headquarters in New York still listed it as a Chabad organisation. The sister organisation of the "Center", the "European Jewish Community Center" uses the initials EJCC again similar to the initials of the European Jewish Congress - a major organisation with representatives in over 40 states. Cobi Benatoff, president of the European Jewish Congress siad "We will certainly be confronting Chabad about this issue, this way of misleading people is not the Jewish way."[91]

United States

Prospect Heights

In 2006 a dispute over territorial rights erupted in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Rabbi Kasriel Kastel appointed Rabbi Ari Kirschenbaum as a shliach in the neighbourhood. Rabbi Shimon Hecht of neighbouring Park Slope disputed his right to do so, claiming that Prospect Heights was within his "territory"; at the same time Hecht's niece and her husband moved into the area, his son started a Chabad center of his own, and his wife opened a branch of her day-care center in the area. Kastel filed a lawsuit against Hecht in a Beit Din alleging that he has overstepped his boundaries by undermining Kirschenbaum's activities. Kastel says the problem is that there aren’t enough up-and-coming areas to go around. "There are maybe 100 or 200 guys who trained their whole lives, and are looking for an opportunity to go. Smaller communities which would never be considered before are getting people." He attributed the case to gentrification of neighbourhoods, which present a tempting prospect to motivated Chabad emissaries[92] In 2008 the Beit Din Ruled in favor of Rabbi Hecht.


In 2005 two rival Chabad emissaries became embroiled in a public row over who was the bona fide emissary of Chabad to the wealthy community of Woodstock, New York.[93] Rabbi Yacov Borenstein, who opened a Chabad center in Poughkeepsie 20 years ago and has since launched smaller centers in New Paltz, Goshen and Woodstock was pitted against Rabbi Yitzchok Hecht who opened a specific branch for Woodstock in 2005. Borenstein told the press:

Yitzchok [Hecht] is so upset he didn't get Woodstock, it is a wealthy place and he wanted to get real estate there... The Hechts are looking for power. They think they own Ulster County. They think they own Sullivan County. And, now, they think they own Dutchess County... They told me they would bury me alive. I said, if that's the will of God, I will accept it with love.[93]

Borenstein, a messianist, was fired by the Chabad organisation in the 1990s, according to Hecht, and therefore had no right to establish a Chabad synagogue. Hecht responded saying "he knows he is not authorized and is not part of the system. Anyone can call themselves Lubovitcher and say he is here to do the Rebbe's work, but that doesn't make you part of the system." The dispute came to public attention after both groups attempted to establish a Menorah for Hanukkah on the village green, they subsequently agreed to take turns at lighting the menorah on an annual basis. Borenstein argued that a religious court ruling in 2004 had found that he was Chabad's sole emissary to Ulster County, Hecht argued that the ruling was invalid as the court did not have the authority to rule on cases out side of New York City.[93] Borenstein was involved in an almost identical dispute with the Chabad emissary to Orange County, New York, Rabbi Pesach Burston.[94]


Aaron Rubashkin, a Lubavitcher butcher from Brooklyn, purchased a disused meat-packing plant in the declining town of Postville, Iowa in 1987 and turned it into a facility for the rendition of Glatt kosher meat. The influx of Chabad adherents from New York to manage the facility and to ensure Kashrut led to demographic changes in the staunchly Lutheran town of 1,500 residents. Journalist and Professor Stephen Bloom spent months living amongst the townsfolk and wrote a book on the conflict between the Lubavitchers and the native residents entitled Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, that was heavily critical of what he saw as the bigotry and insularity of the Chabad residents, as well as their business practices.[95]

Armed robbery

On September 27, 1991 two married Chabad Rabbinical students[96] who were working as ritual slaughterers at the Postville Plant, Phillip Stillman from Crown Heights and Rabbi Pinchas Lew, son of senior London Chabad rabbi Shmuel Lew, committed a series of armed robberies in the Postville area, one of which led to Stillman shooting and critically injuring a convenience store clerk, Marion Bakken, in Decorah, Iowa. Using a borrowed Oldsmobile, with the licence plates removed, they drove to the town of Ossian, Iowa. When they arrived, Stillman pulled out a .357 Magnum on a retired schoolteacher working a popcorn stand and demanded his coins and bills. They then headed to Decorah where they raided a convenience store. As the clerk, a 50-year-old grandmother, rang a silent alarm, Stillman shot her,[97] leaving a bullet permanently lodged next to her spine causing her ongoing pain.[98]

Stillman pleaded guilty to attempted murder and first-degree robbery.[99] While awaiting sentencing, on March 8, 1992 Stillman escaped from jail but was recaptured within five minutes.[100] Stillman was sentenced to 55 years in jail for three offences, to be served consecutively.[101] Bloom wrote:

None of the Hasidim denounced the shooting of Marion Bakken. No one apologized to her. They didn't raise money for her. No one from the Jewish community donated anything to her as a token of their sorrow or shame... [T]hey didn't even offer her free meat from the slaughterhouse.[102]

Lew, whose $200,000 bond had been paid by a "hasidic organisation in Brooklyn",[98] made an Alford plea to conspiracy to commit a forcible felony as part of a plea bargain and was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 5 years on probation for driving the getaway car.[103] After complaining that the food was not kosher, he was released on probation after three months on condition that he attend a religious rehabilitation program.[104] Marion Bakken filed a civil suit for damages. On March 18, 1994, a jury returned a verdict that ordered Lew to pay her and her husband $1.43 million plus 10 percent annual interest.[105]

Pinchas Lew

Rabbi Pinchas Lew gained rabbinical ordination while on probation for the 1991 armed robbery. He subsequently moved to Chapel Hill in 1997 where on the instructions of Chabad leadership he set up a Chabad house, and was the shaliach to the University of North Carolina. After three years, news of his past came to light. Following the publication of Postville many in the community demanded he leave, particularly after it emerged that he had not paid any of the restitution money that the court awarded his victim.[105][106] In a public meeting at the Duke University campus on May 16, 2001 Lew refused to discuss the issue of restitution payments; this and press reports the victim had said that Lew had never apologised made some in the community uneasy. By this time Lew had five children, and used the name Pinny Lew. The Chabad movement appointed Lew as the emissary to Chapel Hill despite being aware of his past, according to Rabbi Yossi Groner (son of Leib Groner), the emissary in Charlotte. Groner noted that Lew was completely reformed, spiritual, remorseful and "is an excellent person".[105]

In June 2001, Lew was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offence of indecently exposing himself while touching his genitals to his Hispanic housekeeper on May 16, a few hours before he defended himself at the public meeting at Duke.[107] On August 10 the case came to trial. The maid testified that:[107]

... she and Lew were alone in the house on the morning of May 16. After cleaning the bathroom, she asked Lew for a new vacuum cleaner bag. When he came down the stairs, he was wearing a green bathrobe. After giving her a bag, he exposed himself to her, touched his genitals and asked, 'Do you like it?' Lew then turned the bolt to lock the front door and exposed himself again to her in the foyer, asking, 'Do you like it?'[107]

Lew's attorney argued that the crime of indecent exposure does not apply on private property, and as that had been the police's initial charge the judge dismissed the case on a technicality.[107] Following the case a Chabad Beit Din convened and ruled that Lew's position had become untenable and that he would have to retire, and he left his posting in November 2001.[108]

Lew subsequently wrote articles for Chabad websites on modesty and family purity on behalf of Chabad of Puerto Rico.[109]

Public menorahs

In 1989, the County of Allegheny with the support of Chabad defended itself in court all the way to the United States Supreme Court from the ACLU in County of Allegheny v. ACLU over the display of a public Menorah owned by Chabad.

The city of Burlington, Vermont denied the local Chabad chapter, headed by Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin permission to erect a Menorah in the city's main park during Chanukah.[110] Raskin appealed the decision on two occasions after an initial hearing 1987 found the display to be unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The ACLU assisted the city of Burlington in a final appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1991, and the Menorah ban was upheld.[111][112] A similar case occurred in Chicago in 1990, and the court found the same way,[113] as did a court in Iowa in 1986.[114] Another similar case in Cincinnati had the same judgement,[115] as did a case in Georgia.[116]

A similar case in White Plains led to the Common Council unanimously rejecting the display of a Menorah in a public space in the town with the support of many Jews, affirming a local tradition of keeping parks free of religious and political displays.[117]

In 1988, the American Jewish Congress produced a 28-page report, entitled "The Year of the Menorah", criticising Chabad's Menorah campaign and the litigation that went with it. It complained of the increase in the number of menorahs placed on public lands, arguing that it was causing tension both within the community and with non-Jews.[118]

In 2002 U.S. Supreme Court last ruled that Chabad of Southern Ohio were entitled to light an 18-foot menorah in Cincinnati's Fountain Square. Justice John Paul Stevens ruled that the city could not ban the chanukiah and other religious displays from the square.[119]

SeaTac Airport

In December 2006 a controversy emerged after Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky complained that the SeaTac Airport was displaying a Christmas Tree but not a menorah.[120] In response to this complaint the airport management removed the tree, and Bogomilsky was widely criticised in the press for "having the tree removed". After considerable press and TV news coverage, the tree was replaced and Bogomilsky released the following statement:

"For many people, the Christmas tree is an important symbol of the season. Our goal was to include a menorah in the airport as well so that we could bring extra light with Hanukkah's universal message of hope."[120]

Satmar-Chabad disturbances

On a number of occasions through the 1980s, Chabad and Satmar Hasidim became involved in violent brawls over various issues.[121] In 1983 tensions were elevated and rioting ensued. Chabad spokesman Yehuda Krinsky blamed the Satmars, saying that the attacks were "definitely Satmar. Lubavitch is a victim of brutal attacks by Satmar. Their record of terrorism goes on."[122] In a letter to Time (magazine) he repeated his allegations, arguing that it was false to claim that both groups were guilty.[123]


A controversy about the right of Chabad to conduct religious services in two adjoining homes in Hollywood, Florida was termed "the most divisive issue in Hollywood history" by state officials.[124] Chabad activists appealed to the Jews on the zoning commission to vote "with their hearts" and outvote the non-Jewish members of the commission to allow Chabad to continue to use the homes as a synagogue.[124]

Sholom Ber Levitin

In 1989, the chief Chabad emissary to Seattle[125] Rabbi Sholom Ber Levitin was convicted of being part of an international money laundering ring that headed by Israeli Adi Tal. Levitin defended his actions, saying that the proceeds were going to Israel: "I was motivated by my desire to help my brethren in need, with funds being transferred to Israel"

Levitin, one of 11 charged, was sentenced to a $10,000 fine and a 30-day imprisonment.[126][127]


Involvement in politics

The Chabad movement in Israel, organised a number of right-wing political campaigns beginning in the 1980s. Perhaps most famously, they endorsed Binyamin Netanyahu in the 1996 election with a poster campaign with the slogan "Netanyahu is good for the Jews."[128] The involvement of religious groups in endorsing candidates has long been controversial in Israel, with left-wing politicians such as Shulamit Aloni bitterly criticising what she termed electoral interference. Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo, an ardent messianist is perhaps the most visibly political Chabad Rabbi involved in a number of controversial campaigns, and has called for people not to celebrate Israeli Independence Day in response to Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan; he told a conference in Jerusalem that "the remedy for the disengagement is to understand that the State of Israel is a terrible thing. We should not bless or praise the state that was founded by criminals and heretics like Herzl."[129]

In 1996 Meretz leaders asked the Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair to investigate the links between Chabad and the Likud party to see whether there had been any improper funding.[130] In the 2006 election, Chabad declined to back any political platform.[131] They also protested the fact that much of the funding for Chabad's pro-Netanyahu campaign had come from a foreign resident, Australian mining magnate Rabbi Joseph Gutnick.

Shabtai Bloch

In 1998 a Chabad activist, Shabtai Bloch (born circa 1950) described by the New York Times as a "central figure in the rigorously Orthodox Chabad movement"[132] was arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of planning an attack on then Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to Israeli army radio he had been a "central figure in the rigorously Orthodox Chabad movement." Bloch had planned to attack Netanyahu in the city of Safed, while the Prime Minister was visiting soldiers wounded in Lebanon. Bloch had been the leader of Chabad activists in Safed, and had planned to protest an Israeli troop withdrawal from parts of the West Bank that Netanyahu had authorised. Bloch had been active in Netanyahu's 1996 election campaign on behalf of Chabad and felt betrayed by the Prime Minister, according to the New York Times.[133] According to the Jerusalem Post, Bloch was one of the leaders of the Chabad movement in Israel.[134] He was released after 10 days under house arrest.[135]

Kfar Chabad attack

While attending the wedding of an associate at the Chabad community of Kfar Chabad in 2005, Binyamin Netanyahu was attacked by a crowd, who threw objects at him and slashed the tires of his armoured car while shouting "Murderer, your day will come", according to Yedioth Ahronoth. A plate was thrown at Mr. Netanyahu, then the Finance Minister.[136] Shimon Peres responded to the incident saying "The attempt to attack Netanyahu was done only because of his views. It is incumbent upon us to condemn this trend."[137]

Gaza withdrawal

During the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, Saadia Hirschkop, an 18 year old Chabad adherent from Crown Heights, then studying at the Chabad yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, was found in possession of weapons and put under administrative detention by Israeli authorities along with two other far-right activists.[138] They were accused of planning terror attacks against Arabs in an effort to derail the withdrawal plan. Hirschkop agreed to be deported to the United States.[139]

Shalom Dov Wolpo

Shalom Dov Wolpo called for the state execution of the prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert and a number of senior ministers at a gathering of senior Israeli rabbis in Tel Aviv. He argued that they should be "hanged from the gallows" for giving "these Nazis [Palestinian terrorists] weapons and money".[140][141]

Menahem Mazuz opened an investigation into the comments.[140] In comments to the Jerusalem Post, Meretz MK Haim Oron called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to prevent the Chabad movement from providing religious services on IDF bases until it distances itself from Wolpe. Binyamin Netanyahu and Chabad spokesperson Menachem Brod also condemned the comments.[140] Brod argued:

His irresponsible statements cause the utmost damage to the Greater Israel cause because he gives the mistaken impression that those who are opposed to territorial compromise and to the division of Jerusalem are a bunch of crazies.[140]

His comments were also condemned by a number of religious MKs and by the Orthodox Union[142] The row threatens to split the movement, with the messianists faction at risk of being distanced from the rest of the Chabad movement.[143]

Wolpo has a long history of controversy in Chabad that in the past has resulted being chastised by the Rebbe in an unprecedented fashion. In Iyar 5744, 1984 the Rebbe told Rabbi Wolpo in reference to his repeated statements about Moshiach, "I am warning him to stop speaking, writing to spread or print anything about the ideas of Moshiach. In his name or in the name of others, or in whatever "kuntz" or style and way. And if G-d forbid he does something he should know clearly he is making a battle against me.". However seven years later he did publish his book with the Rebbe's blessings and instructions editing regarding the manner of publication and seeking rabbinic approbations.[144]

Israeli Rabbinate conversion case

In December 2007 the case of a Chabad educated man attempting to convert to Judaism came before a senior conversion Beit Din to authorize his conversion.[145] During an interview before the panel of 3 rabbis the man espoused messianist views. The panel escalated the case to a group of four of Israel's most senior rabbis, two of whom were Modern Orthodox and two of whom were Haredi for arbitration. The Haredi rabbis were inclined to approve the conversion, while the Modern Orthodox pair were not, ruling that a exponent of messianist beliefs cannot be converted to Orthodox Judaism. The deadlock is to be resolved by leaving the final decision to Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel.[145]

While Binyamin Ish-Shalom an educator at the centre that prepared the man for conversion argued that the beliefs were legitmate, a State Conversion Authority quoted the two opposing rabbis as arguing that Chabad messianism was "beyond the pale of normative Judaism":[146]

They [messianic Chabad Hassidim] attribute to him supernatural powers years after he passed away. That is not Judaism. It's something else.[146]

Responding to the case Shmuley Boteach criticised the rulings, arguing that messianism was not heretical. Seth Farber took a contrary position:[147]

This critical message of this rabbinical court is that observance is insufficient. Beliefs also are a necessary component to enter the faith. Has Orthodoxy deteriorated to the point where it is radical to argue that belief is a sin qua non of our faith community? Is observance of halachah as a dry legal code the only thing that matters any more?[147]


A dispute of the construction of a mikveh in the West Bank settlement of Elkana led to a case being heard before the Israeli supreme court to determine whether or not Chabad were part of Orthodox Judaism. Chabad residents demanded the local religious council build a double- mikveh, per their requirements, but the religious council refused. All attempts to reach a compromise failed. The attorney for the local religious council made a statement on their behalf: "The local hassidim from Chabad are from a messianic cult and want to force the community to build the mikveh according to their specifications." The rabbi of Elkana who had made the decision defended his position: "I have ruled according to our custom on the mikveh issue. We are not a Chabad community and my ruling followed the rulings of outstanding rabbis throughout the generations."[148]


Montreal mikveh dispute

In 1982 a new mikveh was completed in Montreal intended for use by women and for conversions from Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews.[149] The mikveh was paid for by all quarters of the Jewish community. Rabbi Itche Meir Gurary, a local Chabad rabbi became director of the mikveh. The orthodox community used other, exclusively orthodox mikvehs to perform conversions, but pluralist stream were only able to use the community mikveh. In March 2007 Gurary announced that the mikveh would no longer be open for conversions. Reform and conservative Jews complained that this was merely a pretext to keep Conservative and Reform converts out.[149] Conservative Rabbi Lionel Moses argued:

This is a Chabad-based cabal, this is a community mikva built with community money...this co-operation still exists between modern Orthodox and non-Orthodox rabbis, and they have gone to bat for us. This is clearly a move by Chabad to interfere with community harmony.[149]

Gurary responded that the non-Orthodox had "overstayed their welcome. If I let them in, I would have to compromise on cleanliness." Adding that non-Orthodox congregations should construct their own Mikvas.[149]

Chabad Youth Organisation

The death of the director of the Chabad Youth Organisation in Israel, the de facto hub of the vast majority of Chabad's activities in Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Madaintchek led to a power struggle between messianist and moderates over the control of the group. The messianists were led by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Wilshansky, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Chabad Yeshiva in Safed, while the moderates were led by Rabbi Yosef Aharonov. Wilshansky took Aharonov to court to prevent him making material changes CYO's foundation documents, signatory rights, directors, and membership, or making any other fundamental changes. The petitioners claim that this is an attempt to illegally take over the group and Chabad in Israel in general.[150]

Yosef George Segal was a Chabad employee who was accused more than a year ago by Young Chabad officials of embezzling $4.5 million from the organization.[151]

Yosef Aharonov and three others are accused of embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering. The arrests and a November 13 raid on the community of Kfar Chabad follow an eight-month investigation by the Israel Tax Authority and the Central District Fraud Squad.

Arkady Gaydamak, an Israeli-Russian billionaire and a potential Jerusalem mayoral candidate, is accused of donating $256,000 to the money-laundering facilities allegedly run out of Kfar Chabad, according to Israel's Channel 10. He and other prominent businessmen are currently under investigation.[151][152][153][154][155]

Control of 770 Eastern Parkway

The synagogue is currently being run by a team of Gabbaim who are elected by members of the Crown Heights community every three years. For many years these people have been exclusively messianist and have set the tone for the building. In 2005, following the plaque disturbance (see below), the Gabbaim, who had incorporated themselves as "Congregation Lubavitch Inc." went to court challenging the right of Agudas Chasidei Chabad and Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch to control the building and the synagogue. In 2006 ACC and MLC won the case over ownership of the building[156] and served CLI with an eviction notice, and in December 2007 the New York Supreme Court upheld the eviction. CLI is expected to appeal this decision.[157]

2004 disturbances

On December 15, 2004 a disturbance erupted in Crown Heights between anti-messianists and messianists that led to nine arrests after the official movement attempted to install a plaque, noting that Schneerson was dead. Gil Schwartz explained the reasoning of the messianists: "He's alive - they are writing that the rebbe is dead!"[158] Another messianist, Meyer Romano, the next day said: "The Rebbe is Superman and [Rabbi] Yehuda Krinsky is Lex Luthor, you understand?"[159]

2006 disturbances

Further disturbances following the Annual emissaries conference in November 2006 led to a number of injuries and damage to the property according to the senior emissary Dovid Eliezire as quoted in the Jewish Week.[157] He wrote an article on the events that was published in Chabad periodicals and online.[160]

2007 ruling

On December 27, 2007 Judge Ira Harkavy of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Gabbaim did not have the right to control the synagogue and gave the Chabad organisations that own the building the right to evict the Gabbaim.[157] The Gabbaim expressed their intent to appeal, pending the transfer of a $500,000 bond and an undertaking to maintain the synagogue in the meantime.[157] According to the Jewish Week, it remains unclear how the owners will exercise the rights the court has given them and some are predicting serious violence if any attempts are made to enforce the ruling. Edward Rudofsky, attorney for the community, warned of violence:

If people are provoked, I guess you can provoke anybody to the point where they don’t do what they should do and would do under normal circumstances. If they’re provoked enough I don’t want to speculate what will happen. I don’t want to sound like I’m condoning it, because I’m not.[157]


  1. ^ Lawsuit over Chabad Building Puts Rebbe's Living Legacy on Trial The Jewish Daily Forward, Nathaniel Popper, March 16, 2007
  2. ^ a b For a detailed account of this see Schochet, Jacob Immanuel, The arrest and Liberation of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, 1964 (4th printing 1999) ISBN 0-8266-0418-8.
  3. ^ See The Hasidic Movement and the Gaon of Vilna by Elijah Judah Schochet. For a full treatment of this subject see The Great Maggid by Jacob Immanuel Schochet, 3rd ed. 1990,ch. X, ISBN 0-8266-0414-5.
  4. ^ An Encounter with the Alter Rebbe - Program One Hundred Sixty Eight - Living Torah
  5. ^ See Schochet, Jacob Immanuel, The Arrest and Liberation of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi; On Learning Chassidus, Brooklyn, 1959, p.24
  6. ^ a b c d "Should Napoleon be victorious...": Politics and Spirituality in Early Modern Jewish Messianism. Hillel Levine, Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought 16-17, 2001
  7. ^ Kerem Habad, Kfar Habad, 1992, pp. 17-21, 29-31 (Documents from the Prosecutor Generals archive in St. Petersburg.
  8. ^ Napoleon u-Tekufato, Mevorach, pp. 182-183
  9. ^ Napoleon and the Jews, Kobler, F., New York, 1976
  10. ^ "Is Judaism a Theocracy?" by Yanki Tauber
  11. ^ a b c d "New book reveals darker chapters in Hasidic history", Allan Nadler, The Forward, August 25, 2006
  12. ^ Ehrlich, Leadership in the HaBaD Movement, pp. 160–192, esp. pp. 167–172.
  13. ^ Rescued from the Reich, Bryan Mark Rigg, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  14. ^ Press & Commentary, Bryan Mark Rigg, July 1, 2005
  15. ^ The Messiah of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidim Past and Present, M. Avrum Ehrlich, Chapter 13, notes, KTAV Publishing, ISBN 0-88125-836-9
  16. ^ a b "Two Memorials Mark Nazi Atrocities in Former Soviet Union", The Jewish Press, August 31, 2007, p. 10
  17. ^ B. Sobel, The M’lochim
  18. ^ Ehrlich, Leadership in the HaBaD Movement, pp. 269–271
  19. ^ Jerome R. Mintz, Hasidic People, pp. 21–26
  20. ^ Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 2, pp. 510-511.
  21. ^ 2:38a
  22. ^ Bikkurim, 3:3.
  23. ^ Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh end sec. 25.
  24. ^ Devarim 11:15. The footnote there references Likkutei Torah, Vayikra 50a, where it says: With this we will understand that which appears surprising at first glance concerning the meaning of [the section] “And it will be if you will listen diligently” [Devarim 11:13], which Moshe said. How did he say, “I [Moshe] will give the grass” as if he is the one giving, G-d forbid, as the commentators ask. For since in Mishneh Torah [Devarim] Moshe is like one speaking for himself [as opposed to repeating the words dictated to him by G–d] ... if so it should have been written “And G–d will give the grass. Rather, the explanation is that the Shechinah is speaking from the throat of Moshe [Zohar 3:232a, ibid. 3:7a][Full citation needed], and the spirit of G–d [within him] was what spoke [the words] “I [Moshe] will give the grass,” not that he himself was the giver, G-d forbid. The reason for this is along the lines of what was explained earlier that through the Giving of the Torah the [Jewish people] attained the level of marriage [with G–d], which is the inclusion and complete bittul [nullification] to Atzmus Ohr Ein Sof [the Essence of G–d’s infinite light], until their souls literally flew out from them. Moshe Rabeinu was constantly in a similar state, as it is said, “Go [Moshe] and tell them, return to your tents, and you stand here with Me” [Devarim 5:30]. For he took up no space, and he was not an independent entity [from G–d] at all. Therefore he was able to say “I will give,” for the word of G–d was speaking in him from within his throat.
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  27. ^ a b Frumer, Assaf. Kol Hanikra Bishmi (Hebrew)
  28. ^ Tanya, Likutei Amarim chapter 2
  29. ^ "Lubavitcher Children Belong In Lubavitcher Schools!", Avrohom Pariz, Tammuz 5721
  30. ^ a b God as surgeon, Yehuda Bauer, Haaretz, June 13, 2007
  31. ^ "How the Rebbe understood the Holocaust"
  32. ^ See Mechtavim v'Ma'amorim [Letters and Speeches of Rabbi Shach in Hebrew. Bnei Brak, Israel. 03-574-5006]: Volume 1, Letter 6 (page 15), Letter 8 (page 19). Volume 3, Statements on pages 100-101, Letter on page 102. Volume 4, letter 349 (page 69), letter 351 (page 71). Volume 5, letter 533 (page 137), letter 535 (page 139), speech 569 (page 173), statement 570 (page 174); see [1]
  33. ^ The Independent (London), November 10, 2001, by David Landau[dead link]
  34. ^ Berel Wein, Faith and Fate: The Story of the Jewish People in the 20th century, Shaar Press, 2001, p. 340.
  35. ^ Allan Nadler. "A Historian's Polemic Against The Madness of False Messianism"
  36. ^ Summer of the Messiah (Jerusalem Report) February 14, 2001
  37. ^ Likutei Sichos vol. 2, pp. 510-511.
  38. ^ David Berger. The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization (Portland), 2001, p. 7.
  39. ^ The Messiah of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidim Past and Present, M. Avrum Ehrlich, Chapter 10, notes, KTAV Publishing, ISBN 0881258369
  40. ^ Berel Wein, Faith and Fate: The Story of the Jewish People in the 20th century, Shaar Press, 2001, p. 340.
  41. ^ Michtavim U'Maamaromim 5:533, p. 137
  42. ^ Michtavim U'Maamorim 2:23, p. 31, 1986 edition
  43. ^ Michtavim U'Maamaromim 5:534, p. 138
  44. ^ Michtavim U'maamarim, volume 1, edition 2, p. 49, Letter of Protest signed by Rabbis Shach and Kanievsky
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  46. ^ From Berlin to Slobodka by Rabbi Dr. Hillel Goldberg, KTAV 1989 (pages 187–188)
  47. ^ Mibeis Hagenozim, B. Levin, Kehot 2009, p.88-92
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  49. ^ Mibeis Hagenozim, B. Levin, Kehot 2009, pp. 88-98.
  50. ^ Mibeis Hagenozim, B. Levin, Kehot 2009, p.89.
  51. ^ Mishpacha, April 2008
  52. ^ Welcome to Shmais News Service - Chabad News Lubavitch News Crown Heights News
  53. ^ New York Times Case Transcript, January 7, 1987
  54. ^ Agudas Chasidei Chabad of U.S. v. Gourary, 833 F.2d 431 (C.A.2 (N.Y.), 1987)
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  56. ^ Heinon, Herb, "Bigger than Death," Jerusalem Post, August 15, 1997
  57. ^ Jolkovsky, Binyamin L., "The "Messiah Wars" heat up: Online gets out-of-line", Jewish World Review, February 19, 1998
  58. ^ Segall, Rebecca, "Holy Daze The problems of young Lubavitcher Hasidim in a world without the Rebbe," The Village Voice, September 30, 2000
  59. ^ a b c d e f g h Preliminary hearing, Commercial Division, Part 2 of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, 29 October 2003
  60. ^ How a Hefty Fee for an Ex-Governor Went Unnoticed, Tom Robbins, The Village Voice, July 23–29, 2003
  61. ^ a b c d Judge Hits Hasidic Group's Estate Claim, Bob Liff, The Daily News, October 02, 2000
  62. ^ Lubavitch Yeshiva case over, Shamais News Service, September 25, 2000
  63. ^ "Decision of interest: Weinstock Estate", New York Law Journal, November 13, 2003
  64. ^ Jewish conflict turns violent: Community, Chabad vie to control Prague's Old-New Synagogue, Dinah A. Spritzer, The Prague Post, April 21, 2005[dead link]
  65. ^ a b "Sidon is reappointed as Prague chief rabbi", Spritzer, Dinah A., Jewish Telegraphic Agency, December 9, 2005
  66. ^ "Little Jerusalem shul battle heats up", Lev Krichevsky, Jerusalem Post, April 13, 2005
  67. ^ International Religious Freedom Report, US Embassy, Vilnius, 2005[dead link]
  68. ^ a b c d e f Developments in Vilna's Jewish Community in the Past 15 Years, Yated Ne'eman, December 12, 2004
  69. ^ Quarrels keep Vilnius synagogue closed, Milda Seputyte, The Baltic Times, September 02, 2004
  70. ^ Vilnius Shul Duel Heats Up Over Restitution, Michael J. Jordan, JTA, June 4, 2007
  71. ^ a b c d e Rival Russian Jewish Leaders Lend Backing to Putin, Nathaniel Popper, The Forward, November 14, 2003[dead link]
  72. ^ a b c d No love lost, Yossi Mehlman, Haaretz, December 11, 2005
  73. ^ Chabad Prize to Putin Spurring Debate Over Russian's Actions, Eric J. Greenberg, The Forward, February 4, 2005
  74. ^ "Jewish media baron arrested in Moscow", Elli Wohlgelernter, Jerusalem Post, June 14, 2000
  75. ^ Cracked De Beers, Phyllis Berman & Lea Goldman, September 15, 2003
  76. ^ "Putin, Making a Gesture to Jews, Slips into a Factional Morass", Michael Wines, New York Times, September 19, 2000
  77. ^ "Russia: Why was Moscow's Chief Rabbi deported?", Geraldine Fagan, Forum 18 News Service, October 6, 2005
  78. ^ Chief Rabbi of Russia Named to Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, FJC News, October 6, 2005
  79. ^ "Putin Names Rabbi To Advisory Body", The Jewish Week, October 7, 2005
  80. ^ Editorial, Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2005
  81. ^ a b c "Hostile Takeover In Moscow? Critics of Chabad-led umbrella group angry as shul changes hands; AJCongress dragged into controversy", Walter Ruby, Jewish Week, April 1, 2005
  82. ^ "Critics of Chabad-led umbrella group angry as shul changes hands; AJCongress dragged into controversy", Walter Ruby, Jewish Week, April 1, 2005
  83. ^ a b c Ukrainian community split over chief rabbi Phoenix Jewish News, Vladimir Matveyev, October 28, 2005
  84. ^ Recent election of third chief rabbi in Ukraine splits Jewish community, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 24, 2005
  85. ^ Chabad dispute escalates, Baltimore Jewish Times, October 21, 2005
  86. ^ Going going Gaon, Zeddy Lawrence, Going Going Gaon, December 24, 2007
  87. ^ a b c Lubavitch gets financial house in order, London Jewish News, January 3, 2008
  88. ^ "Club debacle sets off alarm bells", Geoffrey Alderman, Jewish Chronicle, January 4, 2008[dead link]
  89. ^ "Chabad rabbis remain defiant", Simon Rocker, Jewish Chronicle, January 4, 2008[dead link]
  90. ^ a b The Council of Jewish Rabbis Conference, Yated Ne'eman, July 23, 2005
  91. ^ "Battling for Europe's Jews (part 2) -In capital of European Union, Chabad wields great influence", Philip Carmel, JTA, April 20, 2005
  92. ^ "Mall Menorah Smackdown Dueling rabbis struggle over who gets to spread the faith to newcomers in the gentrifying area around Atlantic Yards", Debra Nussbaum Cohen, New York Times Magazine, January 2, 2007
  93. ^ a b c "Cha-bad blood:Menorah lighting ceremony reveals rift in local Lubavitcher communities", Andrea Barrist Stern, Woodstock Times, December 23, 2005[dead link]
  94. ^ "Chabad family feuds", Monroe Sunday Record, May 28, 2006
  95. ^ Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, Stephen G. Bloom, 2001 ISBN 0-15-100652-0
  96. ^ "In Rural Iowa, Residents Learn The Ways Of Their Orthodox Jewish Neighbors", Rogers Worthington, Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1992
  97. ^ A Jewish Sect Comes To Iowa To Kick-Start A Factory And Finds A New Home, Stephen G. Bloom, Chicago Tribune, January 28, 1996
  98. ^ a b "Woman shot has yet to see a dime - A Chapel Hill rabbi was ordered in a civil lawsuit to pay the Iowa victim more than $1.4 million", James Miller, The Herald Sun (Durham, NC), May 18, 2001
  99. ^ 1 suspect in Decorah robbery pleads guilty, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City), February 4, 1992
  100. ^ "Winneshiek jail escapees [sic] caught", The Gazette (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City), March 9, 1992
  101. ^ "Robber who shot clerk", The Gazette (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City), March 12, 1992
  102. ^ "White Bread and Bagels: A Jewish writer wonders where he fits in when locals and Hasids clash in an Iowa town", Gerald Shapiro, San Francisco Chronicle, December 24, 2000
  103. ^ "Lew sentenced to 10 years", The Gazette (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City), November 26, 1992
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  105. ^ a b c "Robber Rabbi arrested again", Jewish Journal, June 7, 2001
  106. ^ Rabbi's criminal record raises questions in community, Yonat Shimron, The News & Observer, May 18, 2001
  107. ^ a b c d Judge drops assault charge, Yonat Shimron, The News & Observer, August 11, 2001
  108. ^ "Rabbi leaves position", Yonat Shimron, The News & Observer, November 24, 2001
  109. ^ An anthology of laws and customs pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth distributed by Chabad of Puerto Rico, copyright Pinny Lew 2005[dead link]
  110. ^ Mark A. Kaplan v. City of Burlington and Robert Whalen (12/12/89)United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, No. 89-7042; 891 F.2d 1024
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  112. ^ New Twist to Old Fight: Menorah in Vermont Park, Sally Johnson, New York Times, December 20, 1987
  113. ^ Lubavitch Chabad House, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 917 F.2d 341 (C.A.7 (Ill.), 1990)
  114. ^ Lubavitch of Iowa, Inc. v. Walters, 808 F.2d 656 (C.A.8 (Iowa), 1986)
  115. ^ Congregation Lubavitch v. City of Cincinnati, 923 F.2d 458 (C.A.6 (Ohio), 1991)
  116. ^ Chabad-Lubavitch of Georgia v. Miller, 5 F.3d 1383 (C.A.11 (Ga.), 1993)
  117. ^ "White Plains Council Blocks Electric Menorah for Park", Lisa W. Foderaro, December 3, 1991
  118. ^ "Menorah displays stir jewish rift", Miami Herald, June 14, 1987
  119. ^ "Supreme Court rules on public chanukiot", Joe Berkofsky, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, December 6, 2002
  120. ^ a b "Christmas trees put back at SeaTac airport", Gene Johnson, Associated Press, December 13, 2006
  121. ^ Jew cleared in beard-cutting case, Philadelphia Daily News, May 25, 1984
  122. ^ "Attack on Rabbi brings anguish to Borough Park", Ari L. Goldman, New York Times, June 22, 1983
  123. ^ Letters to the Editor, Time, August 1, 1983
  124. ^ a b "City refuses Chabad's request to remain in Hollywood Hills", John Holland,, June 6, 2003
  125. ^ Seattle Chabad website.
  126. ^ Four global money laundering operatives sentenced, Daily News of Los Angeles, March 18, 1989
  127. ^ Suspects from Los Angeles among those indicted in New Jersey, Los Angeles Daily News, March 26, 1988,
  128. ^ Feeling Right at Kfar Habad, Arieh O'Sullivan, Jerusalem Post, May 18, 1999
  129. ^ "Thousands of delegates promise: 'We shall not forgive'", Dikla Gal-Ed, Makor Rishon, March 14, 2007[dead link]
  130. ^ Meretz wants probe of Likud violations of 'Likud violations' of Party Funding, Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post, July 4, 1996
  131. ^ Chabad to remain apolitical in elections, Mathew Wagner, Jerusalem Post March 2, 2006[dead link]
  132. ^ "Israeli Accused of Plot Against Netanyahu", New York Times, November 20, 1998
  133. ^ "Israeli Accused of Plot Against Netanyahu", New York Times, November 20, 1998
  134. ^ "GSS arrests man suspected of planning to attack PM", Danna Harman, Jerusalem Post, November 20, 1998
  135. ^ "Chabad Under Fire: Israeli activist released to house arrest", Lawrence Kohler Esses, The Jewish Week, November 27, 1998
  136. ^ "Netanyahu's response to wedding assault: Referendum", Gill Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, February 13, 2005
  137. ^ "Netanyahu attacked at party", Al Jazeera, February 12, 2005
  138. ^ Protesting Gaza pullout, Netanyahu resigns post, Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2005
  139. ^ "Army collecting weapons from Jewish settlers", USA Today, August 10, 2005
  140. ^ a b c d "Mazuz checking Chabad rabbi's 'traitor Olmert' statements for incitement", Dan Izenberg, Jerusalem Post, January 3, 2008[dead link]
  141. ^ Rabbi wants Olmert hanged, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 3, 2008[dead link]
  142. ^ "Knesset Members and OU Condemn Rabbi Wolpe's 'Gallows' Remark", Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, Arutz Sheva News, January 4, 2008
  143. ^ "Rabbi's incitement against Olmert threatens to split Chabad", Nathan Jeffay, Haaretz, January 10, 2008
  144. ^ [2]
  145. ^ a b Rabbinical Conversion Court refuses to convert Chabad messianist (Hebrew), Avishai ben Hayiim, Maariv, December 26, 2007[dead link]
  146. ^ a b Gentile Lubavitcher refused conversion, Matthew Wagner, January 2, 2008[dead link]
  147. ^ a b Was the decision correct?, Jewish Chronicle, January 18, 2008[dead link]
  148. ^ Is Chabad part of Orthodox Judaism?, Aviram Zino, Yediot Aharonot, May 29, 2006
  149. ^ a b c d Community mikveh closes to people converting, David Lazarus, Canadian Jewiish News, March 21, 2007[dead link]
  150. ^ Lawsuit exposes Chabad power struggle in Israel, Yitzhak Danon and Itamar Levin, Globes, 15 February 2006
  151. ^ a b Israeli Chabad leaders arrested, JTA, 26 November 2007[dead link]
  152. ^ Chabad heads suspected of major embezzlement, Mathew Wagner, Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2007[dead link]
  153. ^ Chabad leaders arrested for alleged theft, money-laundering, Nurit Roth and Roni Singer-Heruti, Haaretz, November 15, 2007
  154. ^ Senior Chabad official suspected of evading millions in taxes, Eli Senyor, Yediot Aharonot, 11.14.07
  155. ^ Chabad Leaders in Israel Arrested on Fraud Charges, Anthony Weiss, The Forward, Nov 21, 2007
  156. ^ Who controls Lubavitch headquarters?, David Berger, Jerusalem Post, April 22, 2006
  157. ^ a b c d e Lubavitch Non-Messianists Win Court Battle, The Jewish Week, Debra Nussbaum Cohen, January 2, 2008[dead link]
  158. ^ Cuff 9 in rabbi row, The New York Daily News, December 16, 2004
  159. ^ Rough and Rebbe Brawler - I fight for Superman, Denise Buffa, New York Post, December 17, 2004
  160. ^ The Tragedy at 770, Dovid Eliezrie

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