As the movement approaches the 20th anniversary of the passing of its Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Chabad-Lubavitch’s adult education initiative is spearheading a course that focuses on key elements of the leader’s teachings.
The new course from the Rohr-Jewish Learning Institute — Paradigm Shift — will be offered at Chabad centers throughout the region, including at Chabad of Park Heights. Instead of the movement dwindling in the two decades since Schneerson’s passing, noted Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon of the Park Heights center, “his teachings and words have taken on a life of their own.”
Chabad-Lubavitch had already emerged as a growing force in American and international Jewish life when Schneerson passed away on the third day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz in 1994, but over the years, thousands more of the movement’s representatives have taken up positions in established and far-flung communities the world over.
Chabad “has changed only in the sense that the outreach has changed in enormous proportions,” explained Lisbon.
The new course begins May 14 and runs once a week for six weeks. Dedicated to Schneerson’s memory, it will focus on six key areas, with each week’s lesson centering on a new area. The first week will focus on the opportunity and goodness that exist under life’s surface. Another week will discuss each person’s personal relationship with God.
As of the second week of May, close to 35 people had signed up for the classes. Lisbon expects at least 20 more to take part.
At the end of the series, Lisbon hopes participants will walk away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of Schneerson’s message. He wants students to understand “how they can change their world and the world around them in a good way,” he said.
As for the success of the movement, which is one of the largest and most recognizable Hasidic organizations in the world, Lisbon attributes it to Chabad’s spirituality.
“I think people today are looking for something of true substance,” he said.
Classes, which begin at 7:30 p.m. and run for 90 minutes, will be held at Chabad of Park Heights. The course will also be offered at Chabad ARIEL, Chabad of Owings Mills and Harford Community College. For more information, visit myjli.com.