"There's nothing more heartwarming than a Jewish businessman coming out and seeing Mitzvah vans coming down the street.."
"Mitzvah Tanks," the mobile homes that Lubavitch Jews use as moving religious information centers in order to spread the faith."
"The Mitzvah Tanks are not really tanks but rental RV's. They aren't driven by soldiers wielding guns but Hasidic Jews wielding matzo. They aren't on a battlefield of war but a "battlefield of life," promoting goodness and kindness, not death and destruction."
Source:AolNews - March 26, 2010
"Under Rabbi Schneerson, the Lubavitch group has altered the Hasidic pattern by looking outward. They have sent vans ("mitzvah tanks") into Manhattan and the suburbs, offering, to Jews only, religious books and items and a place to pray. They have recruited many young Jews at colleges in New York and California, offering intellectual programs, drug clinics and outreach houses."
Source: New York Times - June 1977
The Lubavitch Hasidim call them the “mitzvah tanks” …Trolling for Jews who want to rediscover their religious roots.."
Source: New York Times - April 13, 1992
Every weekday morning a cavalcade of vans fans out across New York City seeking parking places on the busiest street corners and thoroughfares. Earnest young men with flowing beards emerge, wearing yarmulkes, plain white shirts and dark trousers, and as they take positions around the vans, loudspeakers on board start to play Hasidic folk music. "Good morning. Are you Jewish?" the youths ask passers-by. If the answer is yes and a prospect is willing, he is then escorted into the back of the truck… They teach their guests to use to tefillin -- two small leather boxes containing Biblical passages and bound by thongs to the head and arm to symbolize the ties of reverence… "These trucks," says Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, a Lubavitcher official, "are our tanks against assimilation."
Source: Newsweek - July 15, 1974
In a recent survey conducted by one of the major Israeli newspapers, it was pointed out that the first contact for most was not a seminar or Torah class, but rather the observance of a mitzvah either through an experience at the Kotel or an encounter with a Mitzvah Tank (putting on the tfillin or lighting Shabbat candles)."
Source: The Canadian Jewish News - June 4, 1998
Nonobservant Jews who show up for Chabad public menorah lightings, or who put on tefillin by the side of the road at the behest of a Chabadnik manning a mitzvah tank, say that they feel "accepted" rather than threatened. Shlomo Katz , 19, of Los Angeles, says he was drawn away from his father's modern Orthodox synagogue to the local Chabad shul because of the latter's "unconditional outpouring of love."
Source: Moment Magazine - August 2000
They said it wouldn't hurt; so I thought I'd try it," said Jerry Sterling, a 23-year-old student at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle campus.
Sterling, a nonpracticing Jew, had just stepped from a brightly decorated camper called a "Mitzvah Mobile," named for the Hebrew word "commandment" or "good deed." The camper -- operated by five Hasidic rabbinical student -- had been traveling the streets of Chicago for the last six days in an effort to awaken Jews to Jewish customs and identity.
The arrival of the mobile in Chicago is part of a nation-wide campaign by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect called the Lubavitcher Hasidim, based in New York. The sect has no formal organization in Chicago and the students operating the "Mitzvah Mobile" are all from the sect's New York seminary."
Source: Chicago Tribune - March 17, 1975
Chabadniks have become a familiar site on the street corners of major Western cities, standing before trailers dubbed "mitzvah tanks" and urging Jewish passersby to don phylacteries and light Sabbath candles. Chabad's unparalleled outreach program aimed at non-observant Jews has won it the respect and financial support of many outside Orthodoxy, who see the movement as an antidote to assimilation. Supporters have ranged from former Israeli president Zalman Shazar to rock musician Bob Dylan."