​There is an interesting conversation on the frum internet forum imamother.com about our tours. The questioner wants to know how insiders feel about what we do. This is a question we get asked most often by our tourists and it is something we grapple with ourselves. Here is the most succinct version of the ethical dilemma: "Frida Vizel is a former...

I’ve worked in the Hasidic (Satmar) community since I was seventeen. Not to give my age away, but that’s some fifteen years and counting. These are all the Hungarian Hasidim from Williamsburg and sattelites; not the more Americanized ChabadHasidim. There are some Hasidic men with whom I’ve had a professional relationship for my entire adult life, and yet I’ve never had a...

I’m a tour guide in Hasidic Williamsburg, and visitors to this community often wonder about the economy. What’s interesting is that on the one hand, the children on Lee Avenue are often dressed to the nines in matching outfits, babies are pushed in designer strollers, and you will not see a homeless person at any street corner. Yet statistically, the...

There's been a lot in the news recently about how Hasidic women dress for swim. This comes amid a controversy in Williamsburg over if the Metropolitan Pool should offer hours especially for women, catering to Hasidic women who will not swim in a coed pool. Yesterday the city announced that it will keep the women's hours, albeit only four instead...

A Chikenpox outbreak among Hasidic children of Williamsburg had the NYC Department of Health launch an ad campaign in Yiddish newspapers to promote timely vaccination. ​Another NYC ad, by the Department of Emergency Management, promotes readiness in the event of a hurricane. ​Too bad the ad uses a Yiddish word for hurricane (הוראגאנען) that readers won't understand, as contemporary Hasidic Yiddish uses...

Bike registrations are annually organized for Williamsburg Hassidic children by Shomrim, a Hasidic neighborhood safety patrol volunteer organization. At the registration drive, identification numbers are ingrained into children's bikes and scooters and a registry of the IDs and andcorresponding owners' information is kept by the NYPD to be used in the event of suspected bike theft, according to thus poster...

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 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...

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,...

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 Jewish Federation of North America released a poverty study in 2011 (and updated it in 2013) about the Jewish population in New York City. According to their finding “Hasidic households have the second-largest number of poor households and the third-highest incidence of poverty of any group.” Russian-speaking seniors came in first as the largest group of poor Jewish households in New York. In an...

https://youtu.be/sX2rm-jLLFY Among my circles, we often discuss the inaccurate portrayals of Hasidim in media. From books to movies, or especially movies, it seems secular media can’t get it right. The minor details; the garb, the clumsy Yiddish, are often most jarring to natives. I thought it would be interesting to look at media closely and try to point out what I...

One of my favorite books that describe contemporary Hasidic life -- and probably one of the least known -- is Teacha; Storeis from a Yeshiva. The book only gives us a sliver of a glimpse into the community, through the eyes of Gerry Albarelli, a non-Jew who was hired to be a teacher in the Satmar boy’s school. Albarelli writes...

The book is a compilation of several fictional stories about a few individuals in the ultra-orthodox community. The stories are unoriginal; about a couple meeting through a shidduch, a meddlesome mother in law, a young yeshiva boy who has an affair with a black girl and a middle-aged woman who runs off from the community. The stories are cut up...

This picture, of a plaque on Hewes Street in Williamsburg that not only protests the state of Israel but reads "Free Palestine," made its rounds on the Hasidic Whatsapp. The reason this was newsworthy even to Hasidim is because while anti-zionist Israel may be the attitude amongst many sects, the general sympathies among Hasidim are still not pro-Palestine, especially because...

Translation: The Committee for Saving Williamsburg; Notice and Warning: It has come to our attention that a resident of our city has sold 2 properties on 176/178 Division Avenue to someone from outside "our city" for a high price, which puts the project in danger of being built for artists, god-forbid. The rabbis have written in their proclamation on the first of cheshvon 5764: “We...