Hasidic Jews in New York
Project info

While I lived in New York I had an opportunity to observe and photograph Hasidic Jews living in the Big Apple and their relationship with the rest of the city. Hasidism, from the Hebrew literally "loving kindness", is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularization and internalization of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith. The emphasis on the Immanent Divine presence in everything gave replaced historical mystical (cabalistic) and ethical (musar) asceticism and admonishment with optimism, encouragement, and daily fervour. Much of Hasidic dress was historically the clothing of all Eastern-European Jews, but Hasidim have preserved more of these styles to the present day. Furthermore, Hasidim have attributed religious origins to specific Hasidic items of clothing. Modern Hasidim tend to wear Hasidic dress as worn just prior to World War II. My personal interest was to see how such conservative and seemingly hermetic community blends with the rest of New York and what is their relationship with it. Interestingly enough, Hasidic Jews have to share previously entirely theirs neighborhood of Williamsburg with completely different in all possible ways Big Apples' hipsters these days. It is in these kind of rare places that we can actually experience the history coexisting and overlapping with the present or the future. Quite literally, community of Hasidic Jews mixes in the street with predominantly white bohemian white hipsters and also working class Hispanics, Easter-Europeans or Afro-Americans and, if they venture into town, with the rest of this huge metropolis in which, allegedly, every country in the world is represented by at least one person.