Twenty-three percent of the Orthodox synagogues in the United States are Chabad-Lubavitch, says a recent survey by the American Jewish Committee.
The study, by Jim Schwartz, Jeffrey Scheckner and Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, reports that with 346 congregations, Chabad-Lubavitch has a widespread presence across the United States.
“We are not suprised by this. It is merely a manifestation of the success and determination of Chabad-Lubavitch to reach out to Jewish communities and establish Jewish institutions wherever there are Jews,” said Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky of Lubavitch World Headquarters, in response to the study. “This is just another indication that Lubavitch is really making a difference and that its reach in the United States and around the world, is probably one of the best kept secrets in the Jewish world today.”
Last done in 1936, the new study also points to the disproportionate number of Orthodox synagogues overall. Whereas only 8-10 percent of the Jewish population identifies as Orthodox, fully 40 percent of the 3,728 congregations are Orthodox.
While no definitive analysis of the study has been put forth, Lawrence Grossman, editor of the AJC American Jewish Year Book which will publish the full study in its 2002 edition, said recently in an interview with the JTA that Chabad is highly motivated to spread Judaism and remains “very different than any other group in terms of their morale.” This census, he says, “puts them on the map.”