Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family

Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family

by Lis Harris
     
 

A beloved contemporary classic, Holy Days is a personal account of New York's Hasidic community, its beliefs, its mysteries, and its encounter with secularism in the present age. Combining a historical understanding of the Hasidic movement with a journalist's discerning eye, Harris captures in rich detail the day-to-day life of this traditional and often misunderstood…  See more details below

Overview

A beloved contemporary classic, Holy Days is a personal account of New York's Hasidic community, its beliefs, its mysteries, and its encounter with secularism in the present age. Combining a historical understanding of the Hasidic movement with a journalist's discerning eye, Harris captures in rich detail the day-to-day life of this traditional and often misunderstood community. Harris chronicles the personal transformation she experienced as she grew closer to the largely hidden men and women of the Hasidic world.

Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
A personal encounter with the lives of several members of the Lubavitch Hasidic community. The book deals with the customs and is an admiring portrait of their way of life.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hasidism, the Jewish revivalist movement begun in 18th century Poland, encourages prayer, mysticism, singing and sanctification of daily life. The Lubavitchers, the largest of some 40 Hasidic sects, today live mostly in Brooklyn's Crown Heights. There Harris befriended a Lubavitcher couple and penetrated a sect known for its strict adherence to Old World customs, its deep suspicion of outsiders and secretiveness. To some, the Lubavitchers seem frozen in the past; to Harris, a sympathetic observer, they ``live in a kind of perpetual Biblical present'' by linking everyday events in their personal lives to a spiritual heritage that is very much alive. Appropriately, Harris shifts back and forth in time, from the Crown Heights household where she was for years a regular visitor, to the exploits of Israel ben Eliezer, founder of Hasidism, and other Eastern European wise men who were inspired by kabbalistic teachings. This work of cultural anthropology helps readers to understand the Lubavitchers while gaining respect for their carefully guarded traditions. First serial to the New Yorker; Jewish Book Club main selection. November
Library Journal - Library Journal
The author is a staff writer for the New Yorker who approached a family of the Lubavitcher sect with the purpose of writing about their holidays, everyday observances, and place in the commu nity. The result of her year-long effort is a warm, informative, highly readable book (the material was serialized Sep tember 1985 in the New Yorker) . Harris joins the Konigsberg family in Crown Heights at Purim and returns for every major and minor holiday, and of course for many a weekly Shabbat. But we get much more than just Holy Days from her: there are also lucid descriptions and explanations of rituals for all family events (with death getting only a pass ing mention) and we learn a great deal about the history of the Lubavitch movement and its leaders, its relation ship to other Hasidic sects and its stance toward Israel. Gerda Haas, Bates Coll. Lib., Lewiston, Me.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671462963
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/30/1985
Pages:
266

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