This bagleiten video is from June 30, 2016 in Williamsburg, Bedford Avenue corner Ross Street, on the streets around the residence of the Satmar Rebbe Zalmen Leib Teitelbaum.

On the evenings culminating any of the three holidays, Passover, Shovuos and Sukkus, Wiliamsburg streets around the primary Satmar shull of each of Satmer’s two factions swell into crowds for the bagleiten procession, a ceremonial final walk home by the the rebbe, who’s accompanied by men dancing to blasting music and women spectating from behind police barricades.  This marks the end of the holiday with the rebbe.

The bagleiten ends with the rebbe’s short address to his followers from the balcony of his residence, in which he’s summarizing a spiritual takeaway of the holiday, calling for invigorated spiritual focus in the individual’s and families’ lives, and for standing guard against influences hampering such commitments. The address is traditionally followed by a call-and-response of Yechi adoneinu moreinu verabeinu (long live our master, teacher and rabbi), after which the men resume dancing for a while.

A screenshot taken from a Whatsapp group titled in Yiddish “Satmer Worldwide” is circulating on Whatsapp, the social media platform of choice for many Hasidim. It suggests that as part of the ongoing campaign amongst Hasidim to limit their use of internet and smartphones for non-commercial ends, the focus has now turned to the widespread use of Whatsapp and Whatsapp-groups.

​This “Satmer Worldwide” group’s purpose seems to have been the sharing and discussing of internal news of interest to Satmer Hasidim (Aroinim faction), usually involving the rebbe, his institutions and the community. The members of the group were men who take a stronger interest in or are more active with internal affaris than the average Satmer member does.

​The Yiddish message reads: “Per the rebbe’s request that we commit to not busy ourselves with Whatsapp groups, we’re going to leave this group. With God’s help, we shall meet one another at simchas.

Today’s front page of the weekly Satmer Yiddish newspaper, Der Blatt, representing the same Satmer faction, reports about the rebbe’s public address during last week’s Shovuos holiday, alerting his followers to the ills he associated with Whatssapp groups, homiletically connecting them to the three cardinal sins, namely the exposure to and dissemination of nonconformist sentiment, immodest content, and gossip.

Listen to the Satmar Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum explaining in Yiddish the ease with which exponential sharing is possible through such groups (i.e., social media). This recording was from the last Shovuos Tish, which extends well past the end of the holiday, which explains why a recording (prohibited during the holiday)

Update: A whatsapp-shaming ad campaign is now ongoing by Vaad Letahreinu, the official Satmer committee for the regulation of Internet and technology:

Are you planning on passing by Hasidic Williamsburg on this weekend? The following tips might contribute to your fuller understanding of the neighborhood on these days.

1.. This year, the two-day Shvies holiday is technically observed on Sunday and Monday the 12th and 13th of June, but since the holiday is immediately preceded by Saturday, the weekly Shabbos day of rest, all holiday preparations, commerce and shopping will end on Friday the 11th at sunset, effectively creating a three-day holiday marathon of Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

2. Days of rest, whether it’s the weekly Shabbos or the 13 hardcore holiday days, means for Orthodox Jews (which includes Hasidim, of course) no use of cars and an increase of pedestrians.. Men (and in the morning, some women) will walk to and from shull for prayer services, families walking to and from relatives for the meals and take afternoon strolls on the streets, to the park and even onto the Williamsburg Bridge or the waterfront in North Williamsburg..

3. Pedestrian traffic on Saturday until sundown will be lighter than on Sunday and Monday. That is because Shabbos to Orthodox Jews (which, again, includes Hasidim) has the additional restriction of “carrying,” a restriction holidays like Shvies don’t have. “Carrying” in the context of Halacha (rabbinic law) has no relation to the arithmetic technique you hated but eventually mastered in elementary school. Instead, it refers to the prohibition against one carrying in the streets any object other than the clothing one is actually wearing. Prohibitive carrying especially impacts mothers with young children who can’t leave the house carrying the child or pushing a stroller. And so on holidays, unlike Shabbos, the entire family – with the newborn and toddler and caretaker and stroller or double stroller – can conveniently leave the home together to visit families or just stroll the streets. (I shall note that some families do “carry” in Williamsburg on Shabbos, while most done’t. This is the result of a decade-long divide that exists in Williamsburg over an ancient, Halachicly-sanctioned loophole (Eiruv) to the carrying prohibition, a controversy that is beyond the scope of this post.)

4. Late Saturday night until dawn, pedestrian traffic, mostly men, will be unusually busier than would other nights and early mornings. That’s due to an all-night shull service called, Tikkun Leil Shavuot, men attend, or chose to hang out around, on the first night of Shvies.

Pre-Shovues shopping days in Williamsburg: Video captures a custom unique to Shovues and it isn’t about creamy cheesecakes.

To local florists in Hasidic Williamsbrug, business this week is busy. Very busy. The Shovues holiday substitutes for lost opportunities on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, two holidays Hasidim generally don’t celebrate.

In the days leading up to Shovues, families and acquaintances will exchange the language of flowers. And by the time the holiday arrives – and shopping and commerce have come to a total halt in Hasidic Williamsburg – greenery and floral decorations will augment the holiday spirit in dining rooms at home, where holiday meals with family will be feasted, and around the bimah and aron hakodesh in synagogue halls, where holiday prayers and services will be held.

Note in the video how local religious schools also benefit from the increased demand, setting up competing ad-hoc florist bazaars.

Video courtesy of VINNews, 2013

Blog post by Yoelish