New World Hasidim

Ethnographic Studies of Hasidic Jews in America

Edited by Janet S. Belcove-Shalin

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Anthropology and Judaic Studies
Paperback : 9780791422465, 285 pages, February 1995
Hardcover : 9780791422458, 285 pages, February 1995

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Table of contents



Samuel C. Heilman

Introduction: New World Hasidim
Janet S. Belcove-Shalin

1. Boundaries and Self-Presentation among the Hasidim: A Study in Identity Maintenance
William Shaffir

2. HaBaD & Habban: "770's" Impact on a Yemenite Jewish Community in Israel
Laurence D. Loeb

3. The Language of the Heart: Music in Lubavitcher Life
Ellen Koskoff

4. Varieties of Fundamentalist Experience: Lubavitch Hasidic and Fundamentalist Christian Approaches to Contemporary Family Life
Lynn Davidman and Janet Stocks

5. Engendering Orthodoxy: Newly Orthodox Women and Hasidism
Debra R. Kaufman

6. Agents or Victims of Religious Ideology?: Approaches to locating Hasidic Women in Feminist Studies
Bonnie Morris

7. The Economic Revitalization of the Hasidic Community of Williamsburg
George Kranzler

8. Home In Exile: Hasidim in the New World
Janet S. Belcove Shalin

9. The Bobover Hasidim Piremshpiyl:From Folk Drama for Purim to a Ritual of Transcending the Holocaust
Shifra Epstein

10. The Charismatic Leader of the Hasidic Community:The Zaddiq, the Rebbe
Solomon Poll



A collection of essays that examines the culture, politics, and social structure of Hasidic Jewish life.


Hasidim has long been the subject of historical, philosophical, and literary accounts, but it is only in recent years that it has begun to attract the close attention of social scientists. This book highlights contemporary ethnographic perspectives that convey the richness and complexity of Hasidic life. Political engagement, gender roles, ritual life, proselytizing activities, and community revitalization are just some of the topics covered in this study that casts light on one of the more enigmatic religious communities of contemporary America.

Janet S. Belcove-Shalin is Senior Research Associate in the Southwestern Social Science Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


"While there are a few studies of the Hasidim in North America, the range of this book is unmatched in the more recent literature. The essays cover most of the major issues and problems such as the questions of Jewish women in the Hasidim, Jewish culture, politics and social structure, and comparative fundamentalism. It is a substantial contribution of Jewish Studies and anthropology. " — Sander L. Gilman, Cornell University

"Hasidim in the United States is clearly an important subject. There is increasing interest in the Hasidic community among other Jews, scholars of religion, and residents of large urban areas. This book is an excellent anthology of current research on Hasidic communities in the United States. " — Zalman Alpert, Yeshiva University