Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Jewish Outreach, are we Reaching Far Enough?

While on a walk today I noticed the local Chabad group had their mini-sukkah set up at one of the Columbia University gates, offering passing Jews the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvot of lulav and sukkah, if they hadn't been able to do so before now. All I could think was, why are the Lubavitchers the only Jewish group that does things like this? I can't say that I agree with their theological positions, but I really do admire the way they reach out to unafilliated and possibly disenfranchised Jews, giving them the chance to try something like waving the lulav, laying Tefillin or sitting in a sukkah. And--despite horror stories to the contrary--I've never known a Lubavitcher to be anything but polite when manning these mitzvah stations. I can't say how many Jews they actually encourage to be more observant through these methods, but I have to believe its doing some kind of good. I just don't understand why we generally don't see other streams of Judaism doing things like this despite all our big talk about Jewish outreach.

I made a point of approaching the young Chabad in charge of the mini-sukkah to shake his hand and thank him for the work he is doing. Because trying to bring Jews closer to God can never be a bad thing.


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.