Hasidic Williamsburg: A Contemporary American Hasidic Community

Overview

Hasidic Williamsburg recounts the dramatic emergence of this unique community in the face of major crises. It is the story of the loyalty of its members to their rebbes and their teachings and to the milieu they created in an old Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Based on his previous book Williamsburg: A Jewish Community in Transition, which reported the transformation of this moderately Orthodox Jewish community and its rise to prominence after the influx of numbers of refugees from Nazi persecution ...
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Hasidic Williamsburg: A Contemporary American Hasidic Community

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Overview

Hasidic Williamsburg recounts the dramatic emergence of this unique community in the face of major crises. It is the story of the loyalty of its members to their rebbes and their teachings and to the milieu they created in an old Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Based on his previous book Williamsburg: A Jewish Community in Transition, which reported the transformation of this moderately Orthodox Jewish community and its rise to prominence after the influx of numbers of refugees from Nazi persecution and the Holocaust, George Kranzler presents the findings of a decade of research into the survival and life-style of Hasidic Williamsburg as a functioning community. Hasidic Williamsburg portrays the desperate struggle and relentless efforts of its leaders, foremost among them the Rebbe of Satmar and other prominent hasidic rebbes, to stem the progressive disintegration of the Jewish neighborhood. It presents their valiant attempts to provide the vital resources for its survival in the face of persistent poverty and other grave problems and to develop programs that would secure the future of this unique hasidic community. Kranzler concludes with the assertion that at the beginning of the '90s its inhabitants are hopeful of being able to weather the present crisis and to continue to function as one of pluralist America's viable religious communities.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this thorough and well-documented study, Kranzler builds on his 1961 book, Williamsburg: A Jewish Community in Transition. In his earlier report, he concluded, somewhat pessimistically, that this old Brooklyn Jewish neighborhood might not survive. Now, Kranzler reports that in the three decades since his first study the Hasidic community has stabilized. The author attributes this reversal of fortune to the central role of both observant religious values and the Hasidic ideology. He covers such topics as Jewish residential patterns, efforts at economic revitalization, the role of education, the family structure, and women in the Hasidic community. Kranzler also describes the principal institutions of Satmar Hasidic life. In this way, he both updates and complements Solomon Poll's The Hasidic Community of Williamsburg 1962. Recommended for Judaic studies collections and larger popular collections.-Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568212425
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

George Gershon Kranzler, professor emeritus, received his doctorate from Columbia University. He was a pioneer of Jewish day school education in this country and served as principal of elementary and high schools for over 25 years. From 1966 to 1986 he was professor of sociology at Towson State University and taught at Johns Hopkins University.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1 Residential Patterns: The Jewish Triangle 1
The Study Area: The Jewish Triangle 9
The Public Housing Projects 16
Ethnic Minorities 21
The Hasidic Community 23
2 The Economic Revitalization of the Hasidic Community of Williamsburg: The Spirit of Enterprise 29
3 Patterns of Education: Jewish Education with a Future 53
Differences between the Hasidic Schools and the Orthodox Nonhasidic Day Schools and Yeshivot 56
Teachers and Administrators 64
Special Education 66
Adult Education 69
Public and Parochial Schools in Williamsburg 71
4 The Structure of the Family: No Generation Gap 75
Rav: The Case History of an American Hasidic Family 98
5 Social Structure and Community Leadership 105
Status Symbols 127
Social Mobility 130
6 New Patterns of the Synagogue 137
The Role of the Rabbi 141
Types of Services 146
Customs and Mores 149
The Role of Women in the Synagogue 153
Ashkenazic Synagogues in the New Williamsburg 158
7 The Women of Hasidic Williamsburg 167
Methodological Note 167
Family Patterns 169
The Divorced and Widowed 200
The Single Women 203
8 Patterns of Political Activism: The Dynamics of a New Spirit 207
The Spirit of Political Activism 208
The Political Structure 215
Jewish Political and Interhasidic Activism 222
Interhasidic Relations 227
9 Patterns of Social Welfare: The Spirit of a Community 233
Social Welfare Programs in the Hasidic Community of Williamsburg 237
Summary Conclusion 259
Appendix A: The Voice of Williamsburg: Mass Media in a Hasidic Community 261
Appendix B: The Saint and Sage of Williamsburg: The Satmar Rebbe 267
Appendix C: Maps and Tables 285
Notes 291
Glossary 297
References 309
Acknowledgments 313
Index 315
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