This fall there has been an influx of posters from Israeli Haredei activists who are pushing back against the Israeli draft of Orthodox youths. There is no knowing how interested local New York Hasidim are in these issues, but the Israeli activists sure have been churning out posters. I find this poster particularly illustrative for its shocking use of the holocaust...

So many people assume that Hasidim, like other conservative groups, vote on religious values issues. They assume that Hasidim care about gay marriage and abortion, because that's a Christian conservative political issue. I often explain the distinction in Ultra Orthodox Jewish attitudes towards politics and that of the Conservative Right. While the conservative right considers the law as a source...

I saw this poster in Hasidic Williamsburg during the Sukkos season (this time of year) and found it really ironic and interesting. It's emblematic of the paradoxes of modernity and conservatism in contemporary ultra orthodoxy. The poster announces a holiday lecture (in Israel!) on several topics of faith, ie, a conversation on prophetic knowledge and if there are still prophets in the...

Last Friday, I stopped into a deli and bought a copy of the Hasidic Yiddish paper. The September 21st Der Yid was the hefty Sukkos edition, so thick it felt like holding five newspapers stacked together. I got the paper for the Kavanaugh story on the latest allegations of sexual assault against him. I wanted to see how the Hasidic paper...

Among Satmar Hasidic Jews, women never smoke. It’s really unheard of. But quite common for men, even though it’s officially frowned upon. Smoking is seen as deviant and often a way men try to be “cool”, but it’s not the kind of transgression that can push someone out of the fold. The reason Hasidic men often smoke probably goes back to...

It’s really a question of: if the NYC Department of Education cares, what can they do? Hasidic groups have a long history of fighting changes to their education, going back to the nineteenth century Europe. As soon as modernity reached Europe, Jewish “reformers” tried to urge the government to intervene with the lifestyle of these “unwordly” Jews and to demand certain...

Intro note: to understand what restrictions there are on the internet for Hasidim, you have to understand how restrictions work in the Hasidic community. Unlike, say, in China, where the government can point-blank block domains, Hasidim who live in New York City cannot simply physically be blocked from using the internet. Instead, customs are enforced among Hasidim through a combination...

The Jewish comedian Jackie Mason who grew up in NYC during the period of most cultural output from New York Jews (he was born in 1931 and was of the Borscht Belt generation), has recently been visiting Gottlieb’s restaurant in the Hasidic community for a bit of deli-style Jewish food. This is where the deli food is moving to: the Hasidic and ultra-orthodox...

It's always interesting to watch the rotation of street posters in the streets of Hasidic Williamsburg. You can get a sense off of them what the most zealous members of the Hasidic community are busying themselves with, and you can see if their campaigns create change. Take the posters about smartphones and the internet. They have been everywhere, warning people...

For us ultra-ultra-ultra (ultra) Orthodox Hasidim, handshaking with the other gender was prohibited. No handshakes, no hugs, not even passing a paper to my boss directly into his hands. I’d put it down on a table, and he’d pick it up. Now that I’m secular, I shake hands - not big deal. (I’m not so big on hugs though; they are...

Someone just sent me a message through my business website. They apologized that they are not exactly messaging about my services (walking tours / food tours). But: could I help them find an apartment in Hasidic Williamsburg? This. This is what I occupy my time with. And requests from photographers to photograph Hasidic kids. I get asked to be connected to Hasidim...

Many Hasidim did. In Williamsburg, he got a large part of the vote. I was there the morning after Trump won. People were glad. They said “it’ll be good now, it’ll be good”. Their optimism was borne out of Their very skewed/limited exposure to news and Trump. The Hasidic papers are heavily censored and won’t cover details like that of the Access...

Oh, yeah. I grew up Hasidic in Kiryas Joel and all four of my grandparents were holocaust survivors, all of my friends were grandchildren of holocaust survivors. Our Yiddish paper ‘Der Tseydung’ ran a column in every weekly paper, telling a different person’s war story. I remember reading some pretty horrifying stuff at the kitchen table, while eating soup, as...

I don’t live in Germany, but I am a tour guide in the Hasidic community in New York, and Germans are definitely my biggest customer demographic. The first time I did a tour for Germans, I felt very torn about it. The Hasidic community is a community of Holocaust survivors. My grandparents had number tattoos, all four of them. My zeidy lost a...

Here is an answer from history:[1] Paraphrased and copied (with some abbreviations) from a paper by Glenn Dynner (who was my teacher at SLC): In 1845, Tsar Nicholas of Russia decreed a ban on traditional Jewish clothing, because “Traditional Jewish attire was now deemed clannish and visibly repugnant, while Jewish hairstyles were said to encourage the spread of the scalp infection known...