Religion & Beliefs

The Hitchhikers’ Guide to Ultra-Orthodoxy

Charedi (Israel): Are you clutching a stone in your hand while screaming "Shabbos!" at the top of your lungs on some garbage-filled side street off of Geulah in Yerushalyim? Hmm…let me see what is on the list to ban today? … Read More

By / December 29, 2008

Charedi (Israel): Are you clutching a stone in your hand while screaming "Shabbos!" at the top of your lungs on some garbage-filled side street off of Geulah in Yerushalyim? Hmm…let me see what is on the list to ban today? Women will surely be banned at some point, for now we will just sit them in the back of the bus, and ban them from driving anything besides strollers. We don’t want no heimishe Rosa Parks copycats on this mehadrin bus – get in the back, bitch.

Do you feel the need to burn down your shitty neighborhoods to protest things like the gay parade through Jerusalem or the art exhibit at the new bridge?

Do you read the Hamodia every day for your news? Do you have separate sides of the street for men and women? Do you agree with most of Saudi Arabia‘s laws against women, save for the honor killings? Are you crossing the street to avoid eye contact with women, or just trying to avoid the bleach being thrown out of second story windows in a tar and feather style protest against the color red?

Charedi (America): Let’s hope that the Israeli Charedim never decide to move to America. The American Charedim are much less violent, although I can see this bike lane thing in Williamsburg getting out of hand. (As a cyclist, I find this disheartening.)

Chassidish: When someone says "he’s Chassidish," unless you are amongst fellow Lubavitchers, they are talking about anyone who wears an up hat (the brim is not bendable for protection from women and rain), streimel, bekishe, and are married to those who shave their heads. Just clarifying: Your wife has the latest in Middle Eastern style with her brightly colored white or black turban, it covers her shaved head – smoothed for aerodynamic effect as they tend to drive strollers rather than cars. Your wife also owns one of those horse hair sheitls with the pillbox hats that remind me of World War II nurse’s hats. Your accent has an Eastern Europe tilt, yet you have lived your whole life in Brooklyn.

None of the packaged foods you eat are secular-branded; in fact most of the stuff you use is from heimishe companies, besides for your cell phone – which I am sure they will ban eventually – they have "kosher" phones in Israel already.

If you work on the books it’s for B & H, and if you work off the books it’s in the diamond district, or for some dingy real estate office in a basement in Borough Park that doubles as a shul for a discount on property taxes. Wait, it’s probably a section 8 house… so it’s free anyway.

[Parenthetically: Another thing I never understood - OK, so you went off the Derech, but how does that translate into automatically thinking that Sylvester Stallone is the coolest guy on Earth, and becoming a Yankee fan? I digress.]

Your tzitzis are worn over your shirt and under a vest; they must stick out of the sides to give you that unkempt look. If you’re poor you must drive an American-made minivan held together with bungee cords, and if you’re rich some sort of very large SUV with lots of Hatzolah lights; it should also be noted that no Chassidish car is complete without one of those green Cucumber magnets.

Chassidish Modern: Chassidish and Modern are kind of oxymoronic don’t you think? You have a blog that questions the way you were brought up or exposes the child molesters of your community. If you are a girl, I can guaruntee the local news will do a story on you. You probably read secular books and instead of the Hamodia daily you read the NY Post. (I find it kind of ironic that frummies read that trash.) The Internet may be assur but that doesn’t stop you from checking your hidden Facebook account under the name "Joel S" or something of the sort. Your wife doesn’t really shave her head and her sheitl might even be real hair. I won’t tell anyone but we all know that Ushpizin wasn’t the first movie you saw. You didn’t listen to the Lipa ban and you probably let your wife drive.

When you see women you may even look them in the eye. You participate in riots purely for fun and don’t really care that much about the issue at hand. You don’t always eat meat slaughtered the chassidishe way and have even been to some Lubavitch events. TV is still assur but some of you may have smuggled one in an air conditioner box that you keep behind the mirror in your bedroom.

Tuna Beigel (Flexidish): A Tuna Beigel is someone who is trying to mix in the non-Chassidic world but despite taking ESL classes pronounce Bagel in their native Williamsburg tongue Beigel. You are Chassidish some of the time and regular old Joel the rest of the time. Peyos tucked under your baseball cap to attend movies, concerts and clubs doesn’t fool anyone. Your beard is somewhat trimmed and you may even be clean shaven. Outfit of choice is the polo shirt tucked into khakis, with a constant hand on your Blackberry – you must have a Blackberry and be a volunteer firefighter, by the way.

You talk about scams all the time and are big into the strip club scene which gives secular Jews the line "Yeh, I see all those Chassids in strip clubs." You love gambling and smoking up a storm in front of your local seven eleven. You try and find dates in the casual encounters section of Craigslist and post ads (requesting married frum girls who want to release pressures of everyday life) that sound more like debt consolidation services. If you want to pick up girls in real life you head to Cholent gatherings and any Lubavitch celebration in which they close the streets in Crown Heights. You do not keep kosher or Shabbos but have a wife and kids at home who think you do.