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The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of…
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The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch

by Sue Fishkoff

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This book dispersed a number of myths about Chabad for me. It provided lots of information on the infrastructure, people, ideology, history and theology of the movement in a comprehensible format. It was also a human personal encounter of an outsider woman gaining entrance into a world she and I thought of too closed and foreign. For these reasons I need to thank the author. However I learned of a few facts that are missing form the book. Like why didn’t the rebbe ever visited Israel? (Didn’t want to give full legitimacy to the secular state as opposed to the Messianic Israel that is still to come. But he was not against the state itself, he just didn’t want to support tit in such an overt way.) Or how come he could emigrate to the US when only a few thousand Europeans were accepted annually. (His scientific skills were useful for developing bombs.) These omissions made me wonder what else is missing. I have no way of knowing. Just as Buber’s Hasidic tales is painting a lovable, positive only picture without any undersides, this book is also focusing on the positive. It acknowledged some schisms and talks about them, but mostly sides with the Lubavitchers. Not a problem, but my impression of balance is gone.
  break | Feb 7, 2010 |
Interesting discussion on the history, background, and philosophy within Chabad. To truly appreciate what Chabad has done for the Jewish world, one needs to personally visit a Chabad center and service, get to know personally some of the schluchim, and talk to people who have experienced Chabad's chesed. ( )
  nproenza | Jul 25, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805211381, Paperback)

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?” With these words, the relentlessly cheerful, ideologically driven emissaries of Chabad-Lubavitch approach perfect strangers on street corners throughout the world in their ongoing efforts to persuade their fellow Jews to live religiously observant lives. In The Rebbe’s Army, award-winning journalist Sue Fishkoff gives us the first behind-the-scenes look at this small Brooklyn-based group of Hasidim and the extraordinary lengths to which they take their mission of outreach.

They seem to be everywhere—in big cities, small towns, and suburbs throughout the United States, and in sixty-one countries around the world. They light giant Chanukah menorahs in public squares, run “Chabad houses” on college campuses from Berkeley to Cambridge, give weekly bible classes in the Capitol basement
in Washington, D.C., run a nonsectarian drug treatment center in Los Angeles, sponsor the world’s biggest Passover Seder in Nepal, establish synagogues, Hebrew schools, and day-care centers in places that are often indifferent and occasionally hostile to their outreach efforts. They have built a billion-dollar international empire, with their own news service, publishing house, and hundreds of Websites.

Who are these people? How successful are they in making Jews more observant? What influence does their late Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (who some thought was the Messiah), continue to have on his followers? Fishkoff spent a year interviewing Lubavitch emissaries from Anchorage to Miami and has written an engaging and fair-minded account of a Hasidic group whose motives and methodology continue to be the subject of speculation and controversy.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:24 -0400)

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Journalist Fishkoff spent a year interviewing Lubavitch emissaries from Anchorage to Miami to give us the first behind-the-scenes look at this Brooklyn-based group of Hasidim and the extraordinary lengths to which they take their mission of outreach. They seem to be everywhere--in big cities, small towns, and suburbs in sixty-one countries. They have built a billion-dollar international empire, with their own news service, publishing house, and hundreds of Websites. Who are these people? How successful are they in making Jews more observant? What influence does their late Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (who some thought was the Messiah), continue to have on his followers?… (more)

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