According to The Muhlenberg Weekly's article Analyzing Chabad's Role on Campus: New Option Geared for Jewish Students Proves Controversial, Chabad first appeared on campus this school year and the reaction has been mixed.
“Many students have shared with me that they feel sad that, with the arrival of Chabad, they see the shifts in what had been a unified Jewish community,” said Rabbi Simon, and added that students have also shared that Chabad’s proximity to the campus “has been really divisive.”Chabad's modus operandi is to send shluchim, or missionaries, to set up outposts on college campuses, and in towns and cities all over the globe in order to attract Jews to greater Jewish observance. The group is decidedly not pluralistic, and teaches Judaism solely from an orthodox perspective. They do not recognize non-orthodox denominations as legitimate, and the late rebbe Menachem Schneerson--the last Lubavitcher rebbe, had stated in a letter that "My considered opinion . . . is [that] the doctrines and ideology of the Conservative and Reform movements can only be classed in the category of heretical movements which have plagued our people at one time or another, only to disappear again, having no basis in our everlasting Torah."2
Aaron Brandt ‘17, the president of Muhlenberg College Hillel and a former attendee of an Orthodox day school, agrees, and offered a potential explanation for the divisiveness. “Chabad has been attempting to attract students who are already active members of the Hillel community, rather than students who have not yet found their place in Jewish life since coming to college.”1
|Rebbe Schneerson: Other expressions of Judaism are heretical.|
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Apart from providing the organization with legitimacy, [a charter] may also provide privileges such as access to campus rooms, media equipment and reduced rates in the school newspaper. In private colleges where issues of church and state do not come into play, financial aid may be offered. Ask administrators about including a flyer with the registration, housing or dining information sent to the student's home. It may be appropriate to ask parents to enroll their children as members of Chabad House for $10 or $18 a year.4Setting up outposts on college campuses provides Chabad missionaries with the perfect environment in which to proselytize. Not only is there a sizable and changing Jewish student population that they can groom for present or future observance and/or yeshiva study, but there are campus resources which can be harnessed to further their agenda, as well as students and parents who will serve as a source of funding--sometimes long past graduation. Chabad isn't innocently coming to Muhlenberg College to provide something that's missing from Hillel's diverse offerings--unless you consider indoctrination to be innocent.
For more about Chabad on this blog: and use the Search this Blog function for more:
Is Chabad Ultra-Orthodox?
Chabad's Double Standard: Outrage Over Being Duped
Who *are* the People in Chabad.org's Fundraising Letter?
What BuzzFeed Forgot to Tell You About the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Chabad
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1. Kantor, Gregory. Analyzing Chabad's Role on Campus: New Option Geared for Jewish Students Proves Controversial. The Mulhlenberg Weekly. March 3, 2016.
2. Schneerson, Menachem M. The Conservative and Reform Ideology. Correspondence by Rabbi Menachen M. Schneerson, The Lubavitcher Rebbe. July 21, 1959. qtd. on Chabad.org.
3. Cohen, Rabbi Eliyahu. "The Campus Approach."Shlichus: Meeting the Outreach Challenge. Nshei Ubnos Chabad, 1991. p117.