You’ve got to hand it to Chabad. Even while perpetuating a millennia-old tradition, the movement makes quite the effort to keep up with the times. Chabad.org was launched in the mid-90s, when I still used Prodigy for my Internet service, and nowadays I can’t go on Facebook without seeing multiple posts from Chabadniks I friended down the line.
Now, it appears Chabad is testing another Internet innovation popularized by our friends over at BuzzFeed: The listicle.
Alongside stories on Chabad.org like “Berlin Heralds a New Home for Jewish Student Activities” and “An Inspiring Anthology of Lessons From the Rebbe,” you’ll find this article: “Sixteen Epic Moments from the Annual International Conference of Chabad Emissaries.”
It’s a valiant effort, but there are a few small problems. Some of the items aren’t epic. Others aren’t even moments. And most importantly, there are no GIFs.
Some of the list passes muster, like the truly epic 4,500-person group photo the rabbis take each year in front of their headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway. Or the montage of Chabadniks under the title, “The most epic start to #Movember in the world.” Or this photo that makes entry to the banquet look like the on-ramp to heaven.
Others fall short. “The message of this year’s conference” isn’t a moment. And “The quiet moments of connection between two friends who haven’t seen each other in a year” isn’t epic.
But at a time when the Pew study is the topic of the month and Jewish leaders are scrambling to figure out better engagement techniques, give Chabad credit for trying something new. Next time, just bring the GIFs.