Today marks the 19th year anniversary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s passing. Although the Rebbe is no longer physically alive – his teachings, wisdom, social work, educational programs, religious revival and other forms of humanitarian work are more alive than ever before.

My views are not always consistent with Chabad or all variants of Orthodox Judaism. Even though I consider myself a fully observant Jew, I have always been critical of organized religion, and the groupthink it can breed.

I have been asked, therefore, “why I follow the Rebbe.”

It is not because of supposed miracles. It is not because of believing I will be blessed with health, wealth or happiness. It is not because I believe in necromancing or attaining a special connection with the other side. It is not because of his incredible scholarship. It is not because I believe he is watching or guarding from heaven. It is not because some believe he is a messiah.

It is because of his love for humanity. It is because of the positive impact he had on the world. It is because of the impact he had on my family and who I am today! It is because of his non-dogmatic approach to teaching. It is because he empowered people to be independent and self-sustaining in their faith. It is because he was a leader that created leaders not just mindless followers.