Stealth Hasidim!

A week ago, my SigOth (i.e. Significant Other) and I were at a hasidic bar mitzvah. Afterwards, we were kindly invited to have lunch over at the bar mitzvah boy’s house. As we were getting to know the various members of the extended family and trying to figure out who was what, religiously, my SigOth asked a married couple if they, like the bar mitzvah boy’s parents and grandparents, were hasidim. They answered that they were hasidim but they were ‘under-cover’… that is, while they defined themselves as hasidim, they did not overtly dress or speak like hasidim. They were, in effect, ‘plainclothes’ hasidim.

It occurred to me that we knew a few people like that. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my SigOth and I were also, to a some extent… ‘Stealth Hasidim!’

(Hasidic man with payess and a shtreimel)

You’d never know it to look at us. You won’t see payess, a shreimel or a bekishe being worn… at least not yet… not even a black Borsalino fedora. We look frum, I suppose… but not ‘ultra-Orthodox’ (I hate that term)!

(Hasidic man with shtreimel and bekashe)

So the thought of us being Stealth Hasidim holds an enormous appeal for me!

(Not like us)

For example, we both dress conservatively, but not out of the 18th or 19th century.

(Well, the woman looks about right… but not so much the man)

Aside from a hat (a greek fisherman’s cap, btw, not a black fedora), a yarmulke and a sheitel, I don’t know that a non-Jew would instantly spot us as Orthodox.

(Eeek! Not THAT kind of Orthodox!)

So, Gentile World (i.e. 98.3% of the population out there!), be aware that the nice conservatively dressed people next to you on the sidewalk or the grocery store or the coffee shop may not be who or what they appear. Outwardly, they might be missing the fur hats and side curls and long coats… but inside, they may be not a heck of a lot different from those bearded ‘ultra-Orthodox’ Jews you sometimes see in the movies or on TV.

They may be us! They may be… Stealth Hasidim!

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5 comments on “Stealth Hasidim!

  1. My question is – if you want to be traditional, why not do it like the original Jews with the robes and whatnot. I find the European affectation to be strange. Jews are not from Europe, they’re from the Middle East and traditionally they’d wear clothing similar to the galabiyya or jubba. So what is the fixation on the European look?

    • vampyrefangs says:

      Hasidism began in eastern Europe in the 18th century and grew quickly throughout central and eastern Europe and Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries. That is its tradition. 🙂

  2. Well put! Chassidus is in how one thinks, feels, and acts, not in the specifics of how one dresses. (This is not to say that the shtreimelach, kapotehs, bekishes, etc., have no purpose. They are useful in promoting group identification and loyalty, and in telling the Sharks from the Jets.)

    • olderworker says:

      I’d like to know why the original poster thinks goyim know ANYTHING about such matters! I can tell you that many of my co-workers think another co-worker (an Orthodox Jewish woman who wears a head scarf every day) is a MUSLIM because of her headwear.

      • I think it depends, in part, on where you are. What you describe would probably not be the case in, say, New York or Chicago or LA. (Then again, people in Chicago have been known to mistake Sikhs for Muslims.) And nobody is likely confuse a man with a beard, peyos, and a shtreimel for anything but a Jew. The author’s point, though, is that one can be a Chassidic cake even without the recognizable Chassidic frosting.

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