"The Messiah of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidism Past and Present is the story of the expansion of the Habad - Lubavitch school of hasidic Judaism under the leadership of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Schneerson was the last in a dynasty of hasidic leaders who came to New York after the Holocaust. From a small band of refugees, he built a large, powerful international community of rabbis, emissaries and fervent disciples who committed their lives to his teachings and armed with his instructions lay the foundations of Habad's messianic agenda. With a strong focus on outreach amongst Jews as a necessary condition for the "redemption", it succeeded in becoming the most influential religious group in the last fifty years of modern Judaism." "Many Lubavitch Hasidim viewed Rabbi Schneerson as the messiah and because of this, his death brought about a crisis of faith and leadership within the movement. The change in the movement, the factions and splinter groups developing variant theologies to explain the death of their messiah are subjects explored by Ehrlich together with the socio-religious undercurrents composing the movement's identity."--Jacket.