I've been attending the Chabad for while, because I don't have the money to attend the other non-reform synagogues, such as Modern Orthodox/Orthodox synagogues where I live due to their very high fees. A Yom Kippur service, e.g., at the Sefardic synagogue can run you hundreds of dollars in addition to 1000s of synagogue fees a year that are due. If you think I am exaggerating, the yearly dues at the synagogue I was attending were $2000+ (not including holiday services and other events). A lot of Jews where I live also have what I call the "shun system", where they will let you come and attend, but people will be unfriendly to you and ignore you because they see you are not paying the high fees, like them. Not every synagogue where I live is like this, but sadly, a lot of the synagogues are in wealthy areas of the city, as the Jewish community is wealthy, so almost everyone in the community pays the dues in addition to pledging large amounts of additional money. I ended up leaving the synagogue , because I felt looked down by the other members for lacking income. The area I live has not been a happy experience for me. It seems like most Jews here are conceited and everyone is just out for themselves. Also, most Jews here are very secular and will support all liberal causes, despite the fact that some will claim to be conservative.
Well, I was attending a Chabad where I live and told the Rabbi that I am a Kahanist and conservative. He said, "you're a Kahane guy?" He invited me to his home for dinner, which I respected , but I just felt the conversation with him was a bit tense. There was a lot of things that made me feel uncomfortable about him, but he told me everything said in his home was acceptable. I said if anything sounds controversial, then I could refrain from saying it, as I told him my purpose to attend his synagouge was to grow in Judaism and join a diverse community. I actually like the people who attend the synagogue and it for being so small has a very diverse ethnic makeup, including Bukharian, Yemenite, Mizrachi, Persian and Ashkenazi Jews. However, I felt a sour feeling from the Rabbi and it makes me sad, but now I feel I should no longer attend his synagogue. What upset me, was that I came to attend his Rosh Hashanna service and he just ignored me. He saw me , looked at me , then looked the other way and walked by me. Instead, he would greet all the other people next to me, saying "Shana Tova", but not me. I felt hurt. Then I called him to ask about Yom Kippur services, if I need to reserve a spot and which would be best to attend, since I live too far away from the synagogue to spend the entire day/night there. He didn't bother calling me back. I guess I got the message, that my kind isn't liked here. I told him I am a Kahanist, ZIonist, Right-Wing on most issues, but I respect and love all Jewish people. I also told him I Felt connected to the Mizrachi culture. Maybe, this caused some dissension? I just felt overall not liked by the Rabbi.
After doing some research about this Rabbi, I found out some disturbing news. It turns out the Rabbi even writes on his Chabad page that his grandfather was the founder of Neturei Karta, the most diabolic and anti-Semitic groups to come into existence. I dare not call them Jews. On that note, I won't say the name of the grandfather, but anybody who wants to research the foundations of this organization will find out. Of course, I know I cannot blame his grandfather for his actions, but why he boasts that he is his grandfather and calls him a "great Torah SCholar" on his web page baffles me.
Also, I have started to question some ethics of Chabad as I keep attending. The fact that they provide a place for Jews to worship without breaking the bank account is noble. However, I have been hearing rumors of many Chabadniks being anti-Israel. The Chabad rabbi I have had for a while I know is Zionistic and not anti-Israel. However, I wonder about some of the others. Note, the Zionist Chabad rabbi I am talking about is not the same rabbi who I believe does not like me. This is another rabbi.
Also, there seems to be a great love and appreciation for the blood-sucking Tzar of Russia. I get tired of hearing some of rabbis talk about how great and G-d fearing was the Tzar. After doing more historical research, I have found out that the founding fathers of the Chabad actually aided the Tzar in the battle against Napoleon and were major contributors to helping Russia in the victory, serving as spies and performing intelligence operations. Did it matter that Napoleon respected the Jewish people and wanted to help them re-build the Temple in Jerusalem, whereas the Tzar would treat us like inferior rodents who murdered his g_d? Did it matter that the Tzar would send his soldiers to our villages to steal our wealth, rape our women , murder and torture our people? This is something you will not hear these Chabad rabbis ever speak about. Instead, they like to boast about how the Tzar protected us and feared G-d. It makes my blood boil. I almost walked out of the Shabbat service one day after hearing it.
Then there is the issue with Messiah worship and teaching their kids Yiddish instead of Hebrew. Some Chabad rabbis won't let their kids speak in Hebrew, except during prayer, and then only Ashkenazi Hebrew.
Well, I do keep all my criticisms of Chabad to myself. But, I question the integrity of the organization at times. I guess I wonder why the Rabbi doesn't like me? Is it because I said I was a Kahanist? He seem to get disturbed when I told him I was a conservative and that I didn't care for the city I lived because of how liberal it is. For example, the city near where I live has a high rate of homosexuality and voted 80% liberal. You will see gay men walking down the streets kissing and holding hands. I was hoping a Rabbi, a spiritual teacher, could be open to my thoughts and concerns.
Sorry, if I sound of a low spirit, cynical or depressed. I have had not the happiest time where I Live. I feel rather rejected by my own people and just like a lost sheep wandering in a valley of wolves. I don't realy know where to go. I am too right-wing, conservative for the reform synagogues, although after talking to some of them, they seem to be the most eager to welcome me, despite my lack of finances. Sadly, most of them will have female or homosexual rabbis and chazzans and I would not be able to stomach that, nor can I appreciate their new age and modernized style of worship. I am a traditional person and dream of a traditional life with my Jewish spiritual family.