What is Chabad?

Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization.
It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today.

The Philosophy

The word "Chabad" is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of:chachmah-wisdom, binah-comprehension and da'at-knowledge. The movement's system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of G‑d's Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of Creation, and the importance and unique mission of each Creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his and her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.

The word "Lubavitch" is the name of the town in White Russia where the movement was based for more than a century. Appropriately, the word Lubavitch in Russian means the "city of brotherly love." The name Lubavitch conveys the essence of the responsibility and love engendered by the Chabad philosophy toward every single Jew.

The Movement

Following its inception 250 years ago, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement swept through Russia and spread in surrounding countries as well. It provided scholars with answers that eluded them and simple farmers with a love that had been denied of them. Eventually the philosophy of Chabad-Lubavitch and its adherents reached almost every corner of the world and affected almost every facet of Jewish life.


The movement is guided by the teachings of its seven leaders ("Rebbes"), beginning with Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, of righteous memory (1745-1812). These leaders expounded upon the most refined and delicate aspects of Jewish mysticism, creating a corpus of study thousands of books strong. They personified the age-old, Biblical qualities of piety and leadership. They concerned themselves not only with Chabad-Lubavitch, but with the totality of Jewish life, spiritual and physical. No person or detail was too small or insignificant for their love and dedication.  
In our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory (1902-1994), known simply as "the Rebbe," guided post-holocaust Jewry to safety from the ravages of that devastation.

The Rebbe saw the need to reach Jews throughout the world and to give them a way to connect with their heritage each on their level. The Rebbe sent out Shluchim (emissaries) to places acroos the globe enpowering them as his messengers to spread this dream.


The origins of today's Chabad-Lubavitch organization can be traced to the early 1940's when the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of blessed memory (1880-1950), appointed his son-in-law and later successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, to head the newly-founded educational and social service arms of the movement.

Motivated by his profound love for every Jew and spurred by his boundless optimism and self-sacrifice, the Rebbe set into motion a dazzling array of programs, services and institutions to serve every Jew.

Some 45 years ago the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, began establishing Chabad Houses worldwide. These centers were set up to serve as regional headquarters for Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries as well an educational social centre. The purpose of a Chabad House is to serve the community by offering a wide range of multi-faceted activities and indeed be the creative engine room for Jewish activities in the entire region.

Chabad Houses serve as a centre that provides Jewish education on all levels. Depending on the location and community make up, the activities vary. Where necessary it is instrumental in establishing full schools for students of all ages. It also provides formally structured after school classes, Bar and Bat Mitzvah classes etc. A full array of informal education, geared toward Jewish festival appreciation and Jewish identity awareness through youth groups etc. Chabad Houses are world renowned for their sophisticated adult education programs, providing individual and group classes in all areas of Jewish thought.

Today 4,000 full-time emissary families apply 250 year-old principles and philosophy to direct more than 2,700 institutions (and a workforce that numbers in the tens of thousands) dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish people worldwide.