It was no surprise to read Francine Klagsbrun write that her friend, searching for a welcoming synagogue where he could pray for High Holy Days services, found an open and warm reception at the local Chabad in Westchester (“Synagogues Should Be More Welcoming,” Opinion, Jan. 13).
What was surprising to read was her immediate statement afterward, tempering her praise of Chabad with the fact that she finds it “cult-like” and registering her disappointment with its refusal to recognize non-Orthodox movements and its lack of egalitarianism.
I am 25 years old and only became familiar with Chabad when I married my ba’al teshuva husband, who became fully observant through Chabad three years ago. Since then, I have never found the movement to be anything less than wholly accepting of people at all different levels of observance and of all different factions of Judaism. I am also unsure what Klagsbrun means by egalitarianism, for I always find that everyone is treated with the exact same friendliness and inclusion at Chabad. I have issues with certain aspects, to be sure, but I would never publicly call the entire movement cult-like in a newspaper.