Is what you think about Chabad MYTH or FACT? You may be surprised. Take a few minutes to browse through these FAQ and you'll have a better understanding of what Chabad is all about.

Q: What is Chabad?

A: Chabad is a worldwide movement that spreads Jewish awareness to all Jews, men and women, old and young. Its roots are in White Russia in a small town by the name of Lubavitch. The word Chabad is an acronym for Chachmah, Binah, Daas, which means wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The idea is to turn intellect to action. Simply put, Chabad's message is "don't just think it, do it". This is exactly what Chabad does. Chabad Houses can be found in every part of the world, such as, Tasmania, Russia , Hawaii, and Bangkok and in each one of those places Chabad is doing everything it can to help Jews lead a more meaningful Jewish life. Today, there are over 3600 Chabad centers in 70 countries.

Q: Do you have to be Orthodox or religious to participate in programs offered by Chabad?

A: Chabad is inclusive and non-judgmental, and our programs are open to all Jews. In fact, the majority of people who participate in programs at Chabad are not Orthodox. The teachings of Chabad are imbued with the renowned spirit and joy, but in no way is the commitment to an Orthodox lifestyle a prerequisite to one's acceptance at Chabad functions. One of the exciting things about Chabad is one can meet people from all walks of life. There are usually one to two degrees of separation between you and someone who attends Chabad programs.

Q: Is the goal of Chabad to make me Orthodox?

A: Chabad is not out to make anyone Orthodox. Chabad is an educational organization dedicated to helping every Jew, regardless of background, affiliation, or personal level of observance, to increase their level of Jewish knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. Chabad invites you to explore the complex areas of Jewish religion, tradition, and practice in an open-minded and non-judgmental atmosphere. All of Chabad's classes, programs, and services are designed to heighten the awareness and lend valuable insight into one's heritage, traditions, religious practice, laws and rituals. Each individual is invited to participate, study, and learn. Each individual makes his or her own respective religious lifestyle decisions at his or her own pace. Each mitzvah stands on its own as an important step in ones personal growth.

Q: Does Chabad consider Reform, Conservative, or non-practicing Jews as "real" Jews?

A: A Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Labels are for clothing not people. Chabad avoids labeling other Jews, since it tends to divide and create barriers between us. Jewish Law has traditionally considered anyone born of a Jewish mother or converted in accordance with Halacha to be a Jew, regardless of his or her degree of observance. Read the article "Was Moses Orthodox?" for more.

Q: Is Chabad financed by its headquarters in New York?

A: It is Chabad policy that each center is 100% financially independent, and supported by the community it serves. All funding for local Chabad programs is solicited locally. No money is sent to international Chabad headquarters in New York. All funds donated to Chabad of Wilmette remain right here in our community.

Q: Does Chabad support Israel?

A: Chabad is deeply involved in defending Israel and its right to exist, throughout all its boundaries. Many Chabadniks serve in the IDF and others contribute practical and spiritual support to the troops. Chabad has over 250 centers throughout the length and breadth of Israel. Many Chabad trained Rabbis complete their training in Israeli yeshivot. The Rebbe was intimately involved with and guided Israel's top defense, intelligence, and government leaders, and encouraged support of the UJA. Click here for our Israel mini site.

In response to current Arab violence and terror, Chabad's Victim of Terror program offers support and comfort to victims of terror and their families by providing financial, spiritual and emotional assistance as needed. Chabad has a network of emergency response teams that intervene with victims and their families within hours after an attack and continues with long term, community-based assistance and activities provided by Chabad Houses located in the victim's community. During the summer of 2013, Israeli Consulates were closed due to a strike, for Israelis abroad who needed help, the Ministry had some advice: Find your nearest Chabad House.

Our community organizes regular trips and missions to Israel. For more information the Land & the Spirit Israel Experience click here.  

Q: Do women occupy a secondary position in Chabad philosophy?

A: Different, yes. Secondary? No! The high standing of Jewish women in Chabad is central to the survival of Judaism. Historically women have served as leaders, prophetesses, educators, and yes, mothers. Jewish women are the cornerstone of the Jewish family-whether they have another career outside the home or not. In turn, the Jewish family is the cornerstone of Jewish life and survival.

Through pathways unique to women, Judaism offers women equal potential to attain a profound and meaningful spirituality, one that fulfills her deepest needs and aspirations opening fresh perspectives on self-understanding, growth and Torah knowledge. Ignorance, misconceptions, and outright myths about Jewish women have prevailed until very recently, turning many people away from an appreciation of Torah and a traditional Jewish lifestyle. Chabad is working to correct those misconceptions.