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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jerusalem Post: For Chabad.org, failure is not an option

For Chabad.org, failure is not an option
By Matthew Wagner
Published April 22, 2009

"These days I look upon you as my own personal rabbi," wrote Roger H., in an e-mail to the Ask the Rabbi team at Chabad.org, a popular Internet site for Jewish content. "You have never forgotten me and every time you write I feel as if my soul has been kindled anew."

In this post-modern age of virtual reality, in which Jews are not the only world citizens and extreme individualism has resulted in the disintegration of communities, a good Internet site sometimes stands in for a concrete synagogue and a flesh-and blood rabbi, especially in places where there are none.

But the very real financial crisis that has pounded the world economy world has threatened Chabad.org, which supplies Jewish-related news, spiritual and moral support, in-depth information on Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, and a myriad of other services - including how to find kosher food in, say, China - in six languages.

One of the world's most important Internet sites for traditional Jewish content, outreach, and on-line interaction is struggling for cash, Chabad.org director Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin said this week.

"From the perspective of our funding, yes, we're contending with significant challenges," he said.

"On the other hand, failure is not an option. No matter what hardships we endure, we know we must persevere. There are simply way too many Jews whose Jewish involvement is riding on our work."

Click here to read the rest of the article.


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