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Resisting the World: Hasidic and Amish Life Essay

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The most fascinating branches of a religion are often the most extreme, the most different from the mainstream denomination. Two such groups are Hasidic Jews and the Amish, a sect of Christianity. Shown a picture of a member of one of these sects, the average person would not be able to identify to which group he belonged. However, though “their shared style of dress does indeed reflect shared values of piety, extreme traditionalism, and separation,” these groups are extremely different(“A Brief Introduction”). Beyond the obvious difference of ideology in that Hasidism is based in Orthodox Judaism and Amish tradition in Christianity, to say nothing of the diverse groups within these separatist umbrellas, there are stark differences in origins, beliefs, practices, and the way that each group interacts with the secular world.
Hasidism grew out of Orthodox Judaism in Central and Eastern Europe in the late eighteenth century. It served as a “call to spiritual renewal and protest against prevailing religious establishment” (“A Brief History”). Hasidim means “the pious ones in Hebrew. The group formed around a stricter adherence to Jewish law than many of the surrounding religious centers. Hasidism began migrating to America after World War II as Holocaust survivors looked for a fresh start. In a higher degree than many immigrant groups, Hasidic immigrants to America sought to maintain their community and reestablish their former lives. This allowed them to keep many traditions of per-Holocaust Eastern European Judaism alive in the new world. Traditions that in most cases carry on to the modern day Hasid, such as the use of Yiddish as a dominant language. Hasidic communities settled and have remained in population centers, most notabl...


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...his unique way of life.


Works Cited
Berger, Joseph. "Dressing With Faith, Not Heat, in Mind." New York Times. New York Times, 28 June 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
"A Brief Introduction to Hasidism." A Life Apart: Hasidism in America. Ed. Dov B. Katz. PBS, 1998. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. .
Kraybill, Donald B., Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher. The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.
Mintz, Jerome R. Hasidic People: A Place in the New World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992. Print.
"A Niche within Modernity." A Life Apart: Hasidism in America. Ed. Dov B. Katz. PBS, 1998. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. .
Trollinger, Susan L. Selling the Amish: The Tourism of Nostalgia. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. Print.






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