Friday, / November 27, 2020

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?”

Mitzvah Tanks have been a fixture on the streets of New York City for nearly five decades. Today, they can be spotted in many places where Chabad is active. Parked on street corners and near college campuses, these specially decked out RVs carry rabbinical students who invite Jewish pedestrians inside or curbside, with the offer to connect over a mitzvah.

The unconventional approach was a hit in the countercultural heyday of the ‘70s. But in an age of targeted online ads and sophisticated social engagement techniques, why does Chabad continue to canvass for Jews on the street? Does stopping people at random to talk about Judaism even work? And what actually happens inside a Mitzvah Tank? 

Ubiquitous, peculiar, and at times, controversial, Mitzvah Tanks elicit mixed reactions wherever they go. Lubavitch International takes a deep dive into the inimitable world of the repurposed RVs that bring old-school Judaism to high-traffic metropolises around the world.

Does stopping people at random to talk about Judaism even work? And what actually happens inside a Mitzvah Tank? 

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