Remember that time when you can go and celebrate ChunJie, Christmass and Hanukka in Kunming? Isn't it lovely that all the cultures come together, visit one another, learn from one another, share their cultural heritage with other people from around the globe? No more! Chabad is in town!
So what is Chabad?
Chabad is a sect in Judaism, some would say, a different religion all together, because of their messianic agenda and almost christian-like communities structure. most people see them as part of the ultra-orthodox Jews like in the communities you can find in Brooklyn. actually, their main base is still there. It started in Russia but really gained power during the rein of the all mighty Rebbe Zalman Shnieor, who implied various times before his death that he is the Messiah. to he's follower's shock, he died in 1994. Rebbe Shnieor AKA the Rebbe from Leibuvich thought that the key for redemption is to save the Jews around the world from mixing with the gentiles(like you, yes you!), and he started a project of opening up "Chabad houses" around the globe, now counting around 4000. The Chabad House suppose to give jews around the world a place where they can remember that they are the "chosen ones", that the whole world should bow to our feet, and that we suppose to wait, with extreme enthusiasm, to the very-soon-to-be second coming of the bearded weird guy from Leibov.
The Chabad houses in the far east are very popular with young Israelis, although far from religious life usually, Israelis find that the free food, a fake sense of home(because most of us are not religious), and the charismatic Rabbi makes it a good place to be during Jewish festivals.
The Israeli community here in Kunming used to have a lot of Shabat(Friday night) dinners where we would invite our friends to share some food and wine, Israeli style. I'm sorry to inform you that this can't go on no more, because Chabad Houses do not allow non-Jews to participate in their activities(Don't worry, the food sucks. how good can be a humus that was flown all the way from Israel? yachs). In Hong Kong, where a lot of Jewish businessman are married to Chinese, the wife has to stay home, because the rabbi, well, doesn't like this. sorry.
What you can do, is to challenge your Israeli classmate, roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, and ask him:"why do you go there? why do you go to place that in Israel you won't get even near it? are you afraid I'm going to mix with your pure Jewish blood? is it the humus? the tehina?" and see the reaction.
Tomorrow afternoon is Jewish new year's, and the Chabad house is going to hold it's first banquet. I'm not going, as I prefer to be discriminated than the discriminator, I live very near the Chabad house(Same Xiao qu). you are all welcome to an apple with honey, some good music(music is not allowed during religious festival, you know, fun), and good friends.
Happy new year and Shana Tova