What exactly is Chabad all about?

Is it a synagogue, a school, or an outreach organization? Does it service the observant or the non-observant Jewish community? Who are the people at Chabad?

These and similar questions are constantly asked about Chabad. Many, voice these questions verbally, while others ponder about it and remain uncertain - is Chabad for my family and for me?

First of all, some definitions: Chabad is synonymous with Lubavitch. Chabad describes the philosophy of the movement, whereas Lubavitch is the name of the town in Russia where the Chabad Rebbes lived and taught for 102 years. Chabad is an acronym for three Hebrew words - Chochmah, Binah, and Daas - wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

This acronym signifies the philosophy of the movement, which states that in addition to serving G‑d through joy, simple faith, trust, and sincerity, one must try, in accordance with ones abilities, to know G‑d through intellectual comprehension, thus generating feelings of love and fear of G‑d. Chabad philosophy expounds rationally the profound mystical concepts of G‑d, Torah, and Israel.

Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidism is guided by the renowned leader, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He is the teacher and mentor of countless Jews throughout the world. It is with his direction that so much has been accomplished in reaching out to Jews. It would take volumes to describe the scope of his activities and what Chabad-Lubavitch under his leadership and inspiration has accomplished over the past 50 years. Suffice to say that he is the one person, more so than any other individual, that has stirred the consciousness of millions of Jews.

The Rebbe sends Shluchim (emissaries) to all parts of the world to provide the Jewish community with its spiritual needs. Commonly known as Chabad Houses, or Chabad Centers, these spiritual outposts are beacons of light to their community and serve as a focal point for activities dedicated to the spiritual welfare of its community.

Chabad maintains local offices and representatives in almost every country and major city around the globe. There is hardly a Jewish community the world over which has not been affected directly or indirectly by Chabad. Placing stress on education and Jewish welfare it has, as part of its mandate, organized a network of schools and social centers throughout the world. These include: day schools, vocational schools, Mommy & me and Hebrew schools hundreds of Chabad Houses and Chabad Centers, Peace-Corps programs, programs for orphans, widows, prisons, and drug addicts, settlements and education for Soviet Jewry, Mitzvah Campaigns, Synagogues, Mikvahs and much more.

Many young talented couples have made it their life to help other Jews. In this path, Rabbi Yossi & Mrs. Goldie Grossbaum and their family established the Chabad Jewish Community Center in Folsom.

In light of the above, we can say that Chabad is a movement, a philosophy, an ideal, and an organization. Each Chabad Center is part of the same movement and shares the same philosophy. They differ only depending on the need of the respective communities.

There are no prerequisites for getting involved with Chabad. Whether one is affiliated with a synagogue or not, whether one has much Jewish background or none, one is always welcome to try one or all of our programs. You do not have to be a member at Chabad, you do not even have to agree with everything Chabad says or does - you just have to be Jewish - and you automatically belong.

Lubavitch, although only the name of a town, signifies the philosophy of Chabad as well. Lubavitch means City of Love, and aptly describes the most renowned feature of the Chabad movement - its love and concern for the material and spiritual welfare of every Jew. It is the primary motivation for the phenomena of Chabad activities, which carries its followers to the far corners of the earth in search of helping another Jew.

"A Jew is a Jew"  
Chabad does not recognize the labels of Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew - period. We have gotten too carried away with the adjectives - the noun is universal - Jew. We have one Torah, we are one People, and we have one G‑d. Chabad endeavors to bring unity among the Jewish community through our common bond of Jewish faith and observance.