Is what you think about Chabad of Bellingham myth or fact? You may be surprised. If the above link to 'About Us'  has not answered your questions, take a few minutes to browse through these FAQs and you'll have an even better understanding of what Chabad of Bellingham is all about.

Q: Do you have to be Orthodox to participate in programs offered by Chabad?
Is it the goal of Chabad to make me Orthodox?
Does Chabad consider Reform, Conservative, or non-practicing Jews as full Jews?
Q: What position do women hold in the Chabad community?
Q: Does Chabad accept converts?
Does Chabad support Israel?
Q: Are the Washington State Chabad Centers financed by headquarters?

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 large 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 it the goal of Chabad to make me orthodox?
A: No! 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 at their own pace. Each individual makes his or her own respective religious lifestyle decisions. 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 full Jews?
A: Without question! Chabad disdains any labeling of Jews. ‘A Jew is a Jew is a Jew', and labels only divide and create barriers between us. Jewish Law has traditionally considered anyone born of a Jewish mother or converted in accordance with Jewish law to be a Jew, regardless of his or her degree of observance. The Lubavitcher Rebbe often delivered a rebuke to any orthodox elements in the USA and Israel for inferring anything else.

Q: What position do women hold in the Chabad community?
A: Just look at the Chabad women here in Washington State! The high standing of Jewish women in the worldwide Chabad community is central to its success. 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 been used to turn many people away from an appreciation of Torah and a traditional Jewish lifestyle. Chabad is working hard to correct those misconceptions.

Q: Does Chabad accept converts?
A: Chabad follows traditional Jewish Law which states that any non-Jew who feels sincerely convinced of the beauty and relevance of Torah, who is prepared to follow the traditions of the Torah, and therefore, wishes to join the community of the Jewish people, is welcomed as a convert. The conversion process requires immersion in a kosher mikvah, circumcision for men, and most importantly, acceptance of the disciplines and practices of Judaism - all under authorized rabbinic supervision.

Q: Does Chabad support Israel?
A: Chabad is deeply involved in defending Israel and its right to exist, throughout all its boundaries. Many Chabad students 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. Lubavitch-trained Rabbis often complete their training is Israeli yeshivot. The Rebbe himself encouraged support of the UJA.

Q: Are the Washington State Chabad Centers financed by headquarters?
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 money is sent to international Chabad headquarters in New York. All funds donated remain right here in our community.