The Chabad Jewish Center of Metairie, located at 4141 W. Esplanade Ave, was established as a branch of Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana in the summer of 1990 in response to development in suburban New Orleans. Directed by Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Nemes, Chabad Center aptly serves the needs of the suburban New Orleans Jewish community. In the spring of 1999 construction of the modern facility, dedicated in memory of Gerson Katz, was completed, enabling the center to enhance its ability to expand its programs and activities.
Chabad Jewish Center, hosts a wide range of educational and social service programs attracting diverse participation from across the New Orleans Jewish community. Our primary base of support is the hundreds of New Orleanians who contribute regularly to the Chabad Jewish Center and our programs.
A Question & Answer Primer
Q. What is Chabad?
A. Chabad of Metairie 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). Chabad 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, Chabad 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, Chabad 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 Chabad, 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 Chabad, you do not even have to agree with everything Chabad 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 Chabad?
A: Chabad is inclusive and non-judgmental, and our programs are open to all Jews. In fact, the majority of people who participate in programs at Chabad are not Orthodox. The teachings of Chabad 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 Chabad functions.
Q: Is the goal of Chabad to make me Orthodox?
A: Chabad is not out to make one Orthodox. Chabad 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. Chabad invites you to explore the complex areas of Jewish religion, tradition, and practice in an open-minded and non-judgmental atmosphere. All of Chabad’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 Chabad consider Reform, Conservative, or non-practicing Jews as "real" Jews?
A: A Jew is a Jew is a Jew – period. Chabad 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. Chabad endeavors to bring unity among the Jewish community through our common bond of Jewish faith and observance.
Q: Does Chabad support Israel?
A: Chabad is deeply involved in defending Israel and its right to exist, throughout all its boundaries. Many Chabadniks serve in the IDF and others contribute practical and spiritual support to the troops. Chabad has over 200 centers in Israel, as well as dozens of educational facilities around the country. Chabad trained Rabbis often complete their training is Israeli yeshivot. The Rebbe himself encouraged support of the UJA.
Q: Is the Chabad of Metairie financed by its headquarters in New York?
A: It is Chabad policy that each center is supported by the community it serves. All funding for local Chabad programs is solicited locally. No funds are received from Headquarters nor are any locally raised funds sent to Headquarters in New York. All funds donated remain right here in our community.
Q: Do women occupy a secondary position in Chabad philosophy?
A: Secondary? No! The high standing of Jewish women in Chabad 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. Chabad is working to correct those misconceptions.
Chabad Jewish Center of Suburban New Orleans • 4141 West Esplanade Avenue • Metairie, LA 70002 • 504-454-2910