This article explores the tension between the inside and the outside in Chabad practice as represented by the digital sphere. Drawing on a close reading of Chabad Web sites, as well as archival and theoretical sources and biblical and rabbinic analysis, Chabad's relationship to media generally and the Internet specifically is explored. I find that Chabad's institutional use of the Internet is as a space to disseminate information rather than create community. The Internet is, for Chabad, a temporary space designed to bring people together in the real world rather than to create a virtual community. The Web site is designed to encourage people to seek out in-person encounters with Chabad Rabbis, whose recruitment techniques rest largely on personal charisma and interactions.
Published in Volume 13, Issue 3, pages 123-137