It is weird how little the rest of the world knows about Hasidic Judaism. Living in their own world, detached from the rest of the people and at the same time living side by side with other nations and adepts of other religions, the adepts of Hasidic Judaism have been a mystery for the Western world for years. With the help of his book, Boychiks in the hood, Robert Eisenberg has managed to shed some light on the mysterious branch of Judaism.
We will write a custom Essay on Boychiks in the Hood: Something That the World Needs to Know about the Jewish Culture specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The classification of the Hasidic Judaists provided by Eisenberg is quite impressive. Of all the types that he mentions, there are four ones deserving special attention. The first one to be mentioned is secular Zionism. Needless to say, this is a secular type of modern Jews, even though they are related to the Zionist teachings.
However, the author also describes a number of religious types of Jews that he has come across in his travels around the world. First and foremost, the Satman Jews must be mentioned, mainly because of the impact that they have had on the development of the Jewish culture, as well as on the world perception of the latter. According to what Eisenberg says, “What Pat Buchanan is to the Republican Party, Satmans are to other Hasidim” (Eisenberg, 1996, 2).
Another type of religious Jews that Eisenberg mentions in his book is the so-called Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic population, or Haredi. Finally, among the present-day types of religious Jewish communities, the Lubavitchers, also known as Chabad, should be mentioned. Though there are no major distinctions between the traditional Judaism and the Lubavitcher sect, it is noteworthy that the first adepts of the given branch of Judaism believe that joy and love is the only possible way to cognize the wisdom of Torah.
Taking the most detailed account of how modern Jewish communities are organized, Eisenberg has come up with his idea of what the future of some of these Jewish communities might be. Unfortunately, some of the forecasts leave much to be desired. For example, the fate of the Harvard Haredi community seems not quite clear at present, given the instances of racism towards the Jewish population that have been spotted several times over the past few years.
Another example of a Jewish community that might possibly face complexities in the future is the diaspora of the Lake Oybegone in Postville, Iowa. Living in a Jewish suburb on the outskirts of Everycity, this community seems extremely cosmopolitan, which can possibly lead to the loss of national identity. Mixing with other cultures, the members of the community might lose their roots, Eisenberg warns.
Another Jewish community that is bound to face rapid changes is the Minnesota Jewish diaspora. Finally, the essay “Bungalow Summer” describing the Jewish diaspora in the Catskills, New York, must be mentioned. Seeing how the given community is completely ultraorthodox, one can expect that it will most likely cling on to the traditional way of life, and that it will not face major transformations even when the rest of the Jewish communities in the U. S. will have to change.
As for the European Jewish communities, the ones in Uman and Dombrova (Poland) can be described. The Uman community is most likely to develop further on; however, the acculturation and, therefore, the fusion with the Ukrainian culture are inevitable. The Dombrova diaspora, however, is likely to become even lesser in number, since the Dombrova ghetto is practically isolated from the rest of Poland.
Moreover, Eisenberg claims that the Jewish population is going to increase; hopefully, this will mean that the Jewish people will become closer to each other and that all over the world, Jewish people will be able to become a much stronger community. As Eisenberg explains, in the future, it can be expected that the Jewish communities in the United States, as well as in the USA, will develop into larger and more influential diasporas. To be more exact, the following changes can be expected. It can be considered that the
Finally, it is necessary to mention that at present, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is obviously experiencing a rapid and increased growth, which can be attributed to the fact that the ideas of Torah have been widely accepted by more and more people not only in the USA, but also all over the world.
That said, it is clear that the Yiddish language is the final frontier that must be held to keep the national integrity intact and at the same time encourage even more people to accept the postulates of Hasidism. It is also worth mentioning that, according to Eisenberg, Ultra-Orthodox Jews use Yiddish as their national language, which means that they relate to Yiddish and that it has become a part of their vision of national culture.
Of course, the fact that the book about the modern Jewish culture was written by a person who has relatively little to do with the given culture might get a few sidelong glances.
The style, details and, which is the most important, passion, which the boom as written with, however, make Boychiks in the hood an interesting read at least; at most, these characteristics turn the book into a peculiar perspective on the life of the modern Jews, their culture and traditions. Though the book has its flaws, one must give the author credit for his attempt to offer his broad audience an introspective into the Jewish culture. Therefore, Boychiks in the hood is definitely worth checking out.
Eisenberg, R. (1996). Boychiks in the hood: Travels in the Hasidic underground. New York, NY: Harper Collins.