An Issue with Lubavitch

The new issue of the Jewish college student magazine New Voices just released its new issue, focusing on the world of Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic Jews. Most of the articles are well-written and researched, characteristic of the magazine in general — not in the way of knocking college students, but it’s pretty incredible that a staff of writers with this much time and talent hasn’t been bought out by King Bloomberg. In the past, they’ve tackled such touchy subjects as Tefillin Barbie, internet gambling, and sex life after college. Now, they’re taking on the Rebbe.

In an article on an Iraq War vet who grew up Chabad, Sholom Keller talks about why he hated yeshiva — “It was fourteen hours of learning a day, you know? I had no use for it….we would go about it in this very pedantic way. You can’t take that approach to the study of God.”

And, of course, the requisite article (two, in fact) on the Rubashkin/Agriprocessors travesty.

New Voices’ take on all this is thoughtful and meted with journalistic integrity, although, as JTA notes, Chabad’s interest on campus sometimes runs counter to the interests of the publishers of New Voices, calling to mind a scenario of possibly questionable journalism.

And the gamut of articles is pretty much entirely negative, even calling into question the appointment of a Chabad rabbi’s nomination as chaplain at Princeton. (Becasue, what, Chabad rabbis can’t be eligible to represent Jews?)

It might have been worthwhile to find someone to defend the movement, or to have an interview with a Chabad rabbi about Chabad instead of an interview with a Reform rabbi about Chabad’s influence…or even just to ask Frum Satire (who isn’t Chabad, but always has crushes on girls who are) to do one of his random and hilarious commentaries on how 770 is like one big frat party and, as he puts it, “Free places to stay around the globe.”

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