Chabad Lubavitch, the world's largest Hasidic Orthodox Jewish organization, puts a massive footprint on the Internet with Chabad.Org. The well-designed homepage interweaves graphics and mouseover menus for a range of topics: beliefs, holidays, Sabbath, kosher, parenting, feminine spirituality, etc.
But unlike more insular Hasidic groups, Chabad Lubavitch also gets into more current topics, like terrorism, gun control, business ethics and prayer in schools. A harrowing piece tells of life in Sderot, Israel, the favorite target of Palestinian rocket crews.
Another scary story -- scary for its unfairness -- tells of a Jewish woman who escaped her abusive Arab husband with the help of Yad L'Achim, an organization that maintains safe houses around Israel. The piece says nothing about abusive Jewish husbands, a point some readers made in their responses.
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Thornhill, Ontario, offers a Kabbalistic view of the economic meltdown. His sound file, lasting nearly an hour and a half, teaches that every physical reality is preceded by a thought or belief.
There's a lot on the group's last chief Rabbi, Menachem Mendel Schneerson -- who was believed by some in the movement to be the Messiah, at least until he died in 1994. But another segment honors the late Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kazen, who founded Chabad.org way back in 1993.
Throughout the site, inhouse jargon like minyan is explained with those cool little pop-up boxes. On Chabad.org, each box also links to a knowledge base with articles that deal with each concept.