Chabad.org

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Chabad.org is the flagship website of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. It serves its own members and Jews worldwide.[1] It was one of the first Jewish internet sites[2] and the first and largest virtual congregation.[3]

History

In 1988, Yosef Yitzchak Kazen, a Chabad rabbi, began creating a Chabad-Lubavitch presence in cyberspace. With the advent of computer communication technology, Kazen recognized its potential for reaching an almost limitless audience, unlimited by geographic and other constraints. Kazen digitized thousands of documents into what became the world's first virtual Jewish library, and enabling thousands of people to learn about Judaism for the first time. Chabad.org served as a model for other Jewish organizations that created their own educational websites.[4]

After Kazen's death in 1998, the site was rolled under the umbrella of the Chabad Lubavitch Media Center directed by Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin. Today, the Chabad Lubavitch Media Center maintains the flagship Chabad.org, specialized holiday sites, and over 1,400 customized sites for local Chabad houses.[citation needed]

Jewish knowledge base

Chabad.org has a comprehensive Jewish knowledge base which includes over 100,000 articles of information ranging from basic Judaism to Hasidic philosophy taught from the Chabad point of view. The major categories are the human being, God and man, concepts and ideas, the Torah, the physical world, the Jewish calendar, science and technology, people and events.

There are comprehensive sections on Shabbat, Kosher, Tefillin, Mezuzah, the Jewish way in death and mourning and a concise synagogue companion.

Ask the Rabbi

Chabad.org was the pioneer of “Ask the rabbi” sites. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kazen reached out to thousands of people on Fidonet, an online discussion network, as far back as 1988.[5]

In 1994, Kazen launched the first version of Chabad’s “Ask the Rabbi” website. Today’s version, in which 40 rabbis and educators field questions via e-mail, has answered more than 500,000 questions between 2001–2006, averaging about 270 a day.[6] Many people take advantage of the Web’s anonymity to impart experiences and ask for advice from chabad.org.[6]

In an effort to service a female population, Chabad.org also operates TheJewishWoman.org's “Dear Rachel”, a similar service which is run by women for women.[6]

Features

Chabad.org provides daily, date-specific information relevant to each day from Jewish history, daily Torah study, candle-lighting times, and forthcoming Jewish holidays.

Chabad.org maintains a number of sub-sites, including

  • Weekly Magazine on Torah and contemporary life.
  • A search feature that enables the user to quickly find a Chabad House in any part of the world.
  • An online Jewish library that contains some 100,000 articles.
  • An "Ask the Rabbi" feature.
  • A multimedia portal, Jewish.tv, where users can stream Jewish audio and video .
  • A children's section.
  • A section featuring reports in the media on the activities of Chabad Lubavitch Shluchim ("emissaries").

Statistics

Chabad.org and its affiliated sites claim over 43 million visitors per year, and over 365,000 email subscribers.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ What is the secret, organizational and spiritual, of the Lubavitch movement's success? The New York Times January 22, 2000
  2. ^ Zaleski, Jeffrey P. (June 1997). The Soul of Cyberspace: How New Technology Is Changing Our Spiritual Lives. Harpercollins. ISBN 0-06-251451-2. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  3. ^ Rabbi Yosef Kazen, 44; Internet Visionary[permanent dead link] The Jewish Week 12/11/1998
  4. ^ Yosef Kazen, Hasidic Rabbi And Web Pioneer, Dies at 44 The New York Times December 13, 1998
  5. ^ The Soul of Cyberspace - Current Events
  6. ^ a b c JTA - 'Ask a rabbi' — on the Web: Online rabbis offer answers
  7. ^ Our Impact Chabad.org

Sources

  • JTA News article
  • Wired.com interviews Chabad.org director Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin
  • Chabad launches Jewish women’s site
  • Rabbi Schneerson’s life for a history-gathering project
  • Let my people download! Passover texts available online
  • [ ‘Ask the rabbi’ – online]
  • Yosef Kazen, Hasidic Rabbi And Web Pioneer, Dies at 44 The New York Times December 13, 1998.

External links

  • Chabad.org
  • Chabad.org blog
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