• • HISTORY In the fall of 1992, with the guidance of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, Rabbi Yehuda & Miriam Shemtov were given the opportunity to expand the work of the Philadelphia Lubavitch Center by beginning to serve the spiritual needs of the fast growing Jewish population in the Philadelphia suburbs, focusing first on the Bucks County Community. Bucks County was a fast growing suburb, attracting thousands and thousands of Jews. To be sure, there were already established day schools and synagogues addressing the needs of the affiliated Jewish community. However, there was a need to reach out to an overwhelming majority of the population which was uncommitted and under affiliated. Rabbi & Mrs. Shemtov came with an agenda of Ahavat Yisrael, unconditional love for every Jew, to assist, help and infuse the community with the exciting programming and Jewish experience that have become synonymous with this vital organization. Through innovative programming such as public menorah lightings, Chanukah and Passover Wonderland, community lecture series, winter & summer day camps, holiday workshops for children, Lubavitch of Bucks County quickly became a household name, reshaping the landscape of the Jewish experience in Bucks County.
After a successful launching of Lubavitch of Bucks County, the community was blessed with a very special addition to the dynamic force behind the organization. In 1999 Rabbi Aryeh & Rosie Weinstein joined the spiritual staff of the center. Since their arrival, the educational programming for men and women has grown immeasurably. Adult education classes, Aura Women’s groups, Bar and Bat Mitzvah Clubs have become highly popular within the community and beyond. Rabbi & Rosie quickly became welcomed and sought after counselors and spiritual guides for many hundreds of people throughout the area.
In 2004, with the opening of the beautiful Glazier Jewish Center, our 18,000 square feet headquarters in Newtown, Rabbi Mendy & Rechama Lezell joined our staff with the objective of developing the growing youth division. Our new facility created great new opportunities, and immediately the winter and summer day camps, along with the very popular Aleph Bet, and other youth programs began to grow and expand by leaps and bounds. Today, thanks to their tireless efforts, Lubavitch of Bucks County has the fastest growing youth programming in the county.
At the same time, as the Bucks County community began to expand northward to the Doylestown area, Rabbi Mendel & Dassi Prus were brought aboard to develop our satellite offices in the Doylestown area while solidifying our county wide educational programming.
All the while, a special affiliated organization was formed and began to grow rapidly. The Friendship Circle, a unique program which connects children with special needs and teen-age volunteers, began to grow and gain popularity as parents of all denominations began to see the great value this service has to offer their children.
To effectively meet the growing demand on the Friendship Circle, Rabbi Beryl & Chevi Frankel joined our staff to help coordinate the efforts of the Friendship Circle.
• • FAQ See many frequently asked questions and answers below. If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Q. What is Lubavitch?
A. Lubavitch of Bucks County is one of more than 2,500 branches of today's largest international organization involved with Jewish education and outreach programs.
Chabad and Lubavitch are in fact synonomous terms referrring to the same organization. Embracing the philosophy of the Chabad Lubavitch Movement, which originated in the town of Lubavitch in White Russia during the 18th century, Lubavitch's underlying doctrine is "Ahavat Yisrael" (love for a fellow Jew). Lubavitch recognizes no differences between Jews; its goal is to serve the spiritual and physical needs of each Jew regardless of affiliation, wherever he or she may be, with understanding and with love.
By means of a rare combination that blends traditional Judaism with modern day techniques, Lubavitch has found the formula to develop a rapport with the most alienated of Jews and to enhance their outlook. By arousing an intellectual and/or emotional interest in our faith, Lubavitch has become the catalyst to connect Jews with their Jewish roots and revive the sparks of Jewish consciousness in the hearts and minds of each Jew.
There are no prerequisites for getting involved with Lubavitch, whether you are affiliated or not, have much Jewish background or none, you are always welcome to try one or all of our programs. We are here to serve you and we will do our best to help you and your family. You do not have to be a member at Lubavitch, you do not even have to agree with everything Lubavitch says or does - you just have to be Jewish - and you automatically belong.
Q: Do you have to be Orthodox to participate in programs offered by Lubavitch?
A: Lubavitch is inclusive and non-judgmental, and our programs are open to all Jews. In fact, the majority of people who participate in programs at Lubavitch are not Orthodox. The teachings of Lubavitch are imbued with the renowned Chassidic spirit and joy, but in no way is the commitment to an Orthodox lifestyle a prerequisite to one's acceptance at Lubavitch functions.
Q: Is the goal of Lubavitch to make me Orthodox?
A: Lubavitch is not out to make one Orthodox. Lubavitch 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. Lubavitch invites you to explore the complex areas of Jewish religion, tradition, and practice in an open-minded and non-judgmental atmosphere. All of Lubavitch’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 Lubavitch consider Reform, Conservative, or non-practicing Jews as "real" Jews?
A: A Jew is a Jew is a Jew – period. Lubavitch 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. We have one Torah, we are one People, and we have one G‑d. Lubavitch endeavors to bring unity among the Jewish community through our common bond of Jewish faith and observance.
Q: Does Lubavitch support Israel?
A: Lubavitch is deeply involved in defending Israel and its right to exist, throughout all its boundaries. Many Lubavitchers serve in the IDF and others contribute practical and spiritual support to the troops. Lubavitch has over 200 centers in Israel, as well as dozens of educational facilities around the country. Lubavitch trained Rabbis often complete their training is Israeli yeshivot. The Rebbe himself encouraged support of the UJA.
Q: Is the Lubavitch of Bucks County financed by its headquarters in New York?
A: It is Lubavitch policy that each center is supported by the community it serves. All funding for local Lubavitch programs is solicited locally. No funds are received from Lubavitch World Headquarters nor are any locally raised funds sent to Lubavitch World Headquarters in New York. All funds donated remain right here in our community.
Q: Do women occupy a secondary position in Lubavitch philosophy?
A: Secondary? No! The high standing of Jewish women in Lubavitch is central to the survival of Judaism. As the cornerstone of Jewish family life, the woman can 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. Lubavitch is working to correct those misconceptions.
• • TOP TEN REASONS
Click here to view the top 10 reasons to come in and visit us.