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...

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...

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...

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...

I gave a tour of Hasidic Williamsburg to a group of Mennonites, which are similar to Amish but maybe in some ways less insular. I think. That's how they explained it to me. Notice me in the jacket without a pretty hand sewn dress! I look so bad. So much like a shiksa, a bad Jewish girl. But wait. They are all not even Jewish! 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....

The shtreimel (שטריימל) is made of real beaver fur and is usually first received by a man from his bride’s family — the hat can be very expensive so this is a wedding gift. The man wears the shtreimel only once he gets married, and even then, on shabbes, holidays and other special occasions. Believe it or not, there is quite 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...

A photo of a March 2017 poster asks people to notify the "Organization of Technology" if they have any information with regards to women (using the language "mothers") who have smartphones. ​Here's the announcement with translation: NOTICE As during these days the "Vaad Hatechnelogia" (Organization of Technology) is finishing to eradicate the smartphones owned by the mothers of students of our holy schools- It...