Chabad Vs Aish Ha Torah

I notice that Aish HaTorah people seem to be very sensitive about any criticism of Aish and to personally hold it against you if you criticize the company. On the other hand, Lubavitchers are about the most selfless people around and about as unruffled by criticism as humans can be.

Are my perceptions accurate? And if they are, why is this so?

My theory is that Aish HaTorah must feel a part of Ashkenazi Haredi Judaism and threats to that status are unsettling and anxiety-producing. The analogy I think of is the class anxiety of those who straddle two classes and don’t want to drop. So a bloke between lower and middle class and a bloke hovering between middle and upper class will demonstrate many signs of class anxiety, such as explaining that a garden gnome is ironic. This bloke was not upper class but had those aspirations and wanted to make clear that he was not middle class, while somebody at home in being upper class would feel no need to point out that the garden gnome was ironic and would instead say, “I love that gnome. He’s part of the family.” (Watching the English by Kate Frost)

Chabad is cool with doing its own thing because they had/have a charismatic leader in the rebbe. They don’t particularly care what outsiders think.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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