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...

They kiss. The Hasidic couple, of my community’s arranged marriage variety, has their first kiss in the private room. Someone recorded a Hasidic male teacher preparing the boy for marriage. The teacher is talking to a sheltered, nineteen year old boy who had no prior contact with women. The whole thing is difficult to listen to - for emotional reasons - but here...

Yes. Okay, it wasn’t my hand he wasn’t shaking; it was that of the first lady of the United States. Laura Bush’s. My hand had nothing to do with it, but since my husband was the one making the scene, I was offended. Blushing-red offended. This is what happened. Through some inexplicable chain of events, my Hasidic husband and I, at the...

Best rephrase the question. Are Hasidic Jewish men allowed to sleep in bed with their wives while on their menstrual period? No. Hasidic couples in my neck of the woods get a wedding gift from their parents of an expensive bedroom set with two beds. Here are some pretty jaw dropping furniture sets from Chasuna Depot. See? Hasidic couples have separate beds. One night chest in the middle....

I'm a tour guide in the mostly-Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, and am surprised by the number of answers denying your experience instead of admitting that while it might not exist in their community, this does happen. Our tour groups go into several shops and we have often seen something like this in one way or another. For instance a...

As a tour guide in Hasidic Williamsburg, I've gotten used to being asked this question. The first time I explained how Hasidim are educated - with all emphasis on religious learning - and I got this question, I didn't expect it. Having grown up Hasidic I wasn't used to thinking of education in the strictly vocational way that secular people...

I am one of fifteen. I'm the fifth. We have no twins. I grew up with the cycle of the once in two years birth of a sibling creating a pattern in our lives as predictable, exciting, stressful and rythmic as the holidays. Every year in December our house was turned aglow with Chanukah, every year we built a Sukkah for...

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...

The other day, I passed the Ladies Bikur Cholim and tried to look inside. I've always known a little bit about Bikur Cholim: it is an all volunteer organization that helps the poor and the elderly. I knew that it provides free services not only to community members in need, but also to the sick outside of the community. They...

I saw this the other day. The sign on this bus reads: "This 'air condition' on this bus was sponsored by the 'Ladies Auxiliary' of our congregation." I had to stop and take a picture, because I've never seen a part of a bus donated! And because I needed an air condition too, and I thought maybe this may be my answer. But...