...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"I've got shiksappeal!" Part 1

Today at Powell's (Yes! Becca and I went up to Portland to do some shopping, but only for a few hours, which is why I didn't contact any one up there) I bought Holy Days: The Life of a Hasidic Family. While I was browsing the Hasidic section (er, shelf) I came across an old glossy book about the history of Hasidism. I didn't get it, because it was kind of expensive and not exactly what I'm interested in--I'm more into books about the lives of Hasids today and especially in the US, not so much the historical evolution of the tradition or the ninety thousand "Tales of the Hasidic Masters" kinds of books. Towards the end of this glossy book, though, there were brief descriptions of the four main Hasidic groups in the US back when this was written (maybe the 1970s?) My guess is that the author was most sympathetic to the Lubavitchers, who were written up glowingly. About the Satmars, the author talked about how antagonistic they are towards other Jews, how they drove a Modern Orthodox rabbi from his home, how they're anti-Zionist and their Rebbe ordered Israeli Satmars not to vote in elections, and how they hate the Lubavitchers. He finished off with something like:

"One does not glimpse much of the love of the Baal Shem Tov ["Master of the Good Name," the 18th century (I think) founder of the Hasidic movement in Eastern Europe] within the Satmar community today."

Whoa! Passive-agressive Hasidic snark. Now that, I can really get behind.

Amy asked a really good question in the comments on my last post: Why am I so drawn to Hasidism, especially since I'm not Jewish? I'll be thinking about that tomorrow and I'll try to get back to you on that soon.