The world underwent dramatic changes between the 1950s and 1970s, changes that were felt on college campuses around the globe. College transformed from a cultural bastion, where the leaders of the future were nurtured, into a rite of passage for the masses; from a genteel academic institution into the battleground of the counterculture. Much as shluchim find it difficult to compare today’s campus atmosphere to the ‘60s, the shluchim of the ‘60s faced new challenges in their shlichus.
Dealing with a rebellious younger generation is a challenge that has plagued generations of Jewish leaders, especially since the onset of the enlightenment. Many 20th century leaders felt that the only way to rope freedom-seeking youth into the disciplined observance of Yiddishkeit was to present it in a modern way, by de-emphasizing any shtetel-aspect and toiling to reconcile the Yiddishkeit’s age-old views with current philosophy and science. Once someone had tasted freedom, there was no putting them back into the shtetel. (As the Rebbe noted, this was an approach taken by true leaders of Yiddishkeit.)
Although this was not the Rebbe’s philosophy, these leaders were at least trying to help the youth; many others gave up on their children entirely. The prevailing view in America at the time was that Judaism was destined to dwindle into extinction over the next few decades.
The Rebbe’s approach was radically counter-intuitive. He had tremendous passion and belief in the power of youth. There was no need to quash the rebellion in order to cause submission to Yiddishkeit. If the youth were presented with a passionate and articulate view of authentic Yiddishkeit, they would recognize the truth for what it is, and get involved with energy and passion, surpassing their parents.
A groundbreaking new publication by A Chassidisher Derher and Chabad on Campus International—based on years of research, dozens of hours of interviews and scores of never-before-published documents—sheds new light on the Rebbe’s approach to spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus on college campuses: “Shlichus on Campus—The Rebbe’s vision for Chabad-Lubavitch activity on college campuses; its story and history.”
“Inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,” says Rabbi Yossi Gordon of Chabad on Campus International, “Chabad on Campus provides Jewish students around the world with an authentic and joyful approach to Judaism. Our deep, unconditional love for every Jew is reflected in our values and our actions, thereby creating Chabad’s distinctive culture of community, kindness and enlightenment.”
Originally printed for distribution at the 2018 Chabad on Campus International Kinus, “Shlichus on Campus” is now available for purchase. The 200 page book includes:
History—Early years of Chabad on Campus and the legendary Pegisha program;
Shluchim Speak—First-hand stories, words of inspiration and practical advice from veteran shluchim on campus;
Practical Guidance—The Rebbe’s advice and instructions to shluchim on campus, as related by the shluchim themselves;
Profiles—The Rebbe’s unique relationship with Jewish professors, detailed in the lives of four such individuals;
Yechidus—Transcripts of the Rebbe’s talks with college students and their teachers.
From the Archive—A Treasure trove of authentic historic documents, brochures and photographs of the early years of Chabad’s work on campus.
Click here to order your copy today.