KEFAR ḤABAD (Heb. כְּפַר חַבָּ״ד), village in central Israel near the Lydda–Tel Aviv railway, established by Ḥabad Ḥasidim in 1949. Founded on the initiative of the Lubavitch rabbi Joseph Isaac Shneersohn, Kefar Ḥabad was initially intended for Ḥabad immigrants from Russia. The original settlers were later augmented by families from North Africa. At the end of 1969, it had 1,540 inhabitants, in the mid-1990s the population was approximately 3,460, and in 2002 it was 4,220. It became a center for Ḥabad Ḥasidim in Israel and the location of many religious and educational institutions. In addition to its yeshivot and a teachers' seminary for girls, Kefar Ḥabad also sponsored institutions for vocational education including a printing school dedicated in memory of the five children and their teacher murdered in the village in 1955 by fedayeen raiders while at evening prayers. Kefar Ḥabad is the focal point for Ḥabad celebrations, such as Yod-Tet Kislev, the anniversary of the release of the founder of Ḥabad, Rabbi *Shneur Zalman of Lyady, from a Czarist prison in 1798. A community center known as the "House of the President," in honor of President Zalman *Shazar, serves as a meeting place for the youth of Kefar Ḥabad and its neighboring settlements. In 1970, an absorption center for new immigrants was opened there. Many of the settlers engage in farming of field crops, poultry, and dairy cattle.
Challenge: An Encounter with Lubavitch-Chabad (1970), 136–50.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.