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Brooklyn, NY - Hasidic Jews Give Amish Tour of Their Neighborhoods

Published on: March 31, 2009 03:12 PM
Last updated on: March 31, 2009 03:55 PM
By: AP
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Walking trough Crown HeightsWalking trough Crown Heights

Brooklyn, NY - The city’s ultra-Orthodox Jews took the Pennsylvania Amish on a walking tour of their world today, saying their communities are naturally drawn to each other with a commitment to simpler lifestyles.

“It’s reinforcing to the Amish community to see us Jews living the way the Bible says Jews are supposed to live, and have lived since the time of Moses and Abraham,” says Israel Ber Kaplan, program director for the Chassidic Discovery Center in Brooklyn. “The Amish are also living their lives as the Bible speaks to them.”

Dozens of Amish residents from Lancaster County, Pa., toured a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights - the second year in a row the community invited the Amish to learn more about their culture.

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Rabbi Beryl Epstein called the tour “living Judaism.”

The neighborhood is home to an ultra-Orthodox Lubavitcher sect born about 200 years ago in Poland.

Today’s Lubavitchers wear black hats and beards of their 18th-century Russian and Polish forebears, speak Yiddish and shun amenities like electricity on the Sabbath.

The Amish also traditionally live off the land and without electricity and other modern amenities.

Residents did double-takes on the Brooklyn streets as the two groups walked side by side, touring a Jewish library and a “matzo factory,” where round, unleavened bread was being made for the Passover holiday.

Amish or Orthodox Jewish?Amish or Orthodox Jewish?

Hasidic children in Crown Heights begin their formal schooling at age 3, and by age 5 are studying many hours a day. At the headquarters on Brooklyn’s Eastern Boulevard each day, dozens of men gather to pore over religious books, with little boys dashing around as their fathers fervently debate fine points of the texts - sometimes sounding more like spirited poker players than religious faithful.

John Lapp and his wife, Priscilla, brought their three children on the tour. He said the ties to the communities might be more surface than substance.


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Read Comments (60)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:31 PM Milhouse Says:

If you want to know how to tell them apart in pictures, look at the mustache. Amish shave theirs, chassidim don't.

2

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:27 PM robroy560 Says:

Interesting.. there are some parallels. However, some amish are heavily into working with their hands. I read a really interesting story about hirign them for construction. Pretty cool considering they don't use nails. On the other hand, the Lubatvichers use cars, cell phones, computers, etc.

3

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:26 PM curios Says:

is the pic of the Hasidic people or the Amish.

4

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:22 PM Anonymous Says:

such ahavas achim - beautiful...we are now ready 4 mashiach!
how did they reach ch - via horse & buggy?

5

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:16 PM Ben Says:

Watch some guy run over for a Brochoh! the Amisher Rebbe.....

6

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:38 PM Sure... Says:

Am I supposed to believe this???

The Amish are so not interested in other cultures.

7

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:34 PM me Says:

"He says both communities are drawn to each other because they are known for old-fashioned dress and resistance to modern amenities. "
If a Litvak would say that he'd be called anti-Chassidish.

8

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:33 PM Anonymous Says:

I wonder if they spoke Yiddish to each other? Their Hoch Deutsch is very similar to our Yiddish. They respect religious people and do not attempt to prosleytize us. We should do more with them politically and commercially.

9

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:33 PM CBS Says:



whoever thought of doing this should receive a Nobel peace prize.

10

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:42 PM SP Says:

The Amish were prosecuted by the Prussians. The Prussians had large handle-bar mustaches. The Amish in defiance did exactly the opposite; namely, grow the beard and shave the mustache.

11

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
curios Says:

is the pic of the Hasidic people or the Amish.

You are serious? Amish, you can tell by the Beaver hat!

12

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:34 PM talmudist Says:

I'd love to take a tour of crown Heights seeing how Chasidim give the Amish a tour.

13

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:12 PM Amish=Protestant Says:

The amish are Protestant. Their way of thinking and laws are all mixed up. They have no source or reasoning for their way of life, it was made up by people a long time ago. We have a source and reason for who we are and what we do. They are a bunch of goyim who are not similar to the jews at all, except for trying to separate themselves from the rest of the world. That is no reason to compare them to Jews. They can come into our communities and see how we live but we shouldnt do anything more with them "politically and commercially"!

14

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:06 PM Yossi Says:

The heimish meet the Amish

15

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:15 PM Anonymous Says:

very weird- I don't see the parallel at all- assuming you can see past the beard- interesting to note, chabad doesn't even trim mostache (even though most chassidim do) and the amish shave their mostache.

16

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:10 PM TANNA KAMMA Says:

wHY corrupt the Amish with a visit to BP. sometimes I wonder if in 2009 we shouldnt be doing like them and going back to 100 yrs ago lifestyle...

17

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:06 PM Elisheva Says:

This is good. In Ohio there are many Amish. Sometimes observant Jews are mistaken for Amish! A lot of them have modernized a lot, including driving cars.

18

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:59 PM Use Your Head Says:

The Lubavitchers are probably the chassidic group least similar to the Amish, ironically. They should have toured Williamsburg....

19

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:56 PM Mendy in CH Says:

i just saw them on my block! Pretty cool you have the info.

20

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:51 PM Anonymous Says:

is the picture chassidesh or amish?

21

 Mar 31, 2009 at 02:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Sure... Says:

Am I supposed to believe this???

The Amish are so not interested in other cultures.

The Amish are very interested in other cultures and most hospitable to strangers, as long as they do not force their mondern views upon them.

22

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:31 PM Reality Says:

Reply to #13  
Amish=Protestant Says:

The amish are Protestant. Their way of thinking and laws are all mixed up. They have no source or reasoning for their way of life, it was made up by people a long time ago. We have a source and reason for who we are and what we do. They are a bunch of goyim who are not similar to the jews at all, except for trying to separate themselves from the rest of the world. That is no reason to compare them to Jews. They can come into our communities and see how we live but we shouldnt do anything more with them "politically and commercially"!

Very well said and very true.

23

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:29 PM Tzu"mish"ed Says:

I can just see some new products springing up in Crown Heights. "Eimishe" Gefilte Fish. Does anyone know if they have their own "Lancastery Lukshen Kugel" recipe? Do the eat gebrokts? Do the Amish, mish on Pesach? I love this "Mish"ugaas - It's so CH. What a-Mish-mash.

24

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

is the picture chassidesh or amish?

What do you think? did you just land on this planet?

25

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Vus tit men nisht for a little PR, OMG

26

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:44 PM Babishka Says:

I have seen Amish in Crown Heights, they definitely stand out because of the goyishe zurah and the ladies' little caps. The question is why would they want to visit Brooklyn? Rural Pennsylvania is beautiful, but Brooklyn?? Maybe the country folk just want to see the big city.

27

 Mar 31, 2009 at 03:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Amish=Protestant Says:

The amish are Protestant. Their way of thinking and laws are all mixed up. They have no source or reasoning for their way of life, it was made up by people a long time ago. We have a source and reason for who we are and what we do. They are a bunch of goyim who are not similar to the jews at all, except for trying to separate themselves from the rest of the world. That is no reason to compare them to Jews. They can come into our communities and see how we live but we shouldnt do anything more with them "politically and commercially"!

You are correct. Believe it or not we have more in common with muslims then with protestants.

28

 Mar 31, 2009 at 04:07 PM Anonymous Says:

How did they get here? DId they drive their Horse, or are they from the sect ( modern) that allows one to go into a car?

29

 Mar 31, 2009 at 04:03 PM jewish mother Says:

Amish are Protestant Christians who have nothing in common with Jews other than the black coats and hats and the reverie for the Old German language. When I was growing up we took a yearly trip to Lancaster PA to buy everyone shoes. We saved a fortune that way. The shoes lasted forever.

30

 Mar 31, 2009 at 04:13 PM Joe Says:

Amish or Hamish that is the question!

31

 Mar 31, 2009 at 04:19 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

How did they get here? DId they drive their Horse, or are they from the sect ( modern) that allows one to go into a car?

Almost all Amish allow riding in a car that is owned and driven by an "English". Their objection to cars is because of the temptations owning a car can lead to.

The basis of Amish life is "al tischaber lorosho". Rather than trying to be mekarev others, they shut themselves off, and if someone does something wrong they put him in cherem. That's why they're constantly splitting into many little subgroups, each of which holds the others in cherem.

They're also extreme pacifists, who don't hold from "habo lehorgecho hashkem lehorgo". They would let themselves be killed rather than fight back. That's very alien to yiddishkeit.

32

 Mar 31, 2009 at 04:43 PM The Frisco Kid Says:

Pardon me but doth thou speak English??


OY GEVALT!

33

 Mar 31, 2009 at 04:41 PM dust isn't chametz Says:

I once got into a religious debate with an Amish man in a bus terminal. They want to convert Jews to Christianity if they are given the opportunity. About 20% of their kids go off the derech and they rarely get more than an 8th grade education. They will in cars but do not drive themselves. They love junk food and many have weight problems. They are into home birth unless they are having c-sections. Just try to turn on the bathroom light in their houses and guess what- no electricity. They have propane and you have to light it. They sew and garden and raise animals. Their kids date for a few years before marriage because divorce in not allowed. They are not into shidduchim. Their kids meet at singles events while still teenagers. They let the teenagers be wild for awhile before committing themselves to Amishism and getting baptized as adults. If the girls get pregnant they have to marry the boy; otherwise they are shomer negiah. Their weddings are big, self cooked, without photographers, music , or white gowns. They don't wear jewelry but I think they do use a wedding ring. Mennonites are an offshoot and do use cars and electricity and I went to college with a couple of them. The girls grow their hair forever. Other than the fact that they have lots of kids and have communities away from the rest of the world, and speak a language similar to yiddish, they have nothing in common with frum Jews. Years ago I showed some of them some Torah cards and they were absolutely enthralled. Getting to know them is useful if you want to hire their girls as live-ins.

34

 Mar 31, 2009 at 05:06 PM snoodwearer Says:

Milhouse said

one more thing NOT in common with lubavitch. Sounds more like Willytown to me.

They don't speak hoch deutsch. Germans speak Hoch Deutsch. Amish speak Pensylvania Dutch (unless I'm confusing the name of the language w the name of the religion)

35

 Mar 31, 2009 at 05:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
Milhouse Says:

Almost all Amish allow riding in a car that is owned and driven by an "English". Their objection to cars is because of the temptations owning a car can lead to.

The basis of Amish life is "al tischaber lorosho". Rather than trying to be mekarev others, they shut themselves off, and if someone does something wrong they put him in cherem. That's why they're constantly splitting into many little subgroups, each of which holds the others in cherem.

They're also extreme pacifists, who don't hold from "habo lehorgecho hashkem lehorgo". They would let themselves be killed rather than fight back. That's very alien to yiddishkeit.

All very true. But they are powereful in politics in the counties where they live.

36

 Mar 31, 2009 at 05:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Use Your Head Says:

The Lubavitchers are probably the chassidic group least similar to the Amish, ironically. They should have toured Williamsburg....

“ The Lubavitchers are probably the chassidic group least similar to the Amish, ironically. They should have toured Williamsburg....”

That is soooo very true.

37

 Mar 31, 2009 at 05:35 PM Lubavitch ? Says:

Why did the AP write that Lubavitch don't use electricity on Shobbos? Who told them that? Lubavitch love electricity on Shobbos as much as the Litvaks !!!

38

 Mar 31, 2009 at 05:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Tzu"mish"ed Says:

I can just see some new products springing up in Crown Heights. "Eimishe" Gefilte Fish. Does anyone know if they have their own "Lancastery Lukshen Kugel" recipe? Do the eat gebrokts? Do the Amish, mish on Pesach? I love this "Mish"ugaas - It's so CH. What a-Mish-mash.

I guess has sumting to do with mish'ach

39

 Mar 31, 2009 at 06:26 PM ch'er Says:

i watched the whole thing it was so funny!

40

 Mar 31, 2009 at 07:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #34  
snoodwearer Says:

Milhouse said

one more thing NOT in common with lubavitch. Sounds more like Willytown to me.

They don't speak hoch deutsch. Germans speak Hoch Deutsch. Amish speak Pensylvania Dutch (unless I'm confusing the name of the language w the name of the religion)

The Amish speak Platt Deutsch - Low German. Yiddish is closer to Middle High German - similar to the dialect spoken around Stuttgart nowadays.

41

 Mar 31, 2009 at 07:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Amish=Protestant Says:

The amish are Protestant. Their way of thinking and laws are all mixed up. They have no source or reasoning for their way of life, it was made up by people a long time ago. We have a source and reason for who we are and what we do. They are a bunch of goyim who are not similar to the jews at all, except for trying to separate themselves from the rest of the world. That is no reason to compare them to Jews. They can come into our communities and see how we live but we shouldnt do anything more with them "politically and commercially"!

Can you please mention one source for a shtraimel, fur hat or long suit?

42

 Mar 31, 2009 at 06:39 PM Avraham Says:

The place of birth of the Lubavitch movement is the former Russian Empire - not Poland (not even that part which was part of the Russian Empire). Moreover, Lubavitch currently is located outside of Belarus within the Russian Federation, but this is a side point. The ignorance of some reports is just mind-boggling.

43

 Mar 31, 2009 at 06:10 PM lubab Says:

(repy to #15) just a little correction, when the rebbe was approched with the question "if we trim or don't trip our mustache's" the rebbe responded to ask alterer chassidim and did not define our minhag.

44

 Mar 31, 2009 at 06:25 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #33  
dust isn't chametz Says:

I once got into a religious debate with an Amish man in a bus terminal. They want to convert Jews to Christianity if they are given the opportunity. About 20% of their kids go off the derech and they rarely get more than an 8th grade education. They will in cars but do not drive themselves. They love junk food and many have weight problems. They are into home birth unless they are having c-sections. Just try to turn on the bathroom light in their houses and guess what- no electricity. They have propane and you have to light it. They sew and garden and raise animals. Their kids date for a few years before marriage because divorce in not allowed. They are not into shidduchim. Their kids meet at singles events while still teenagers. They let the teenagers be wild for awhile before committing themselves to Amishism and getting baptized as adults. If the girls get pregnant they have to marry the boy; otherwise they are shomer negiah. Their weddings are big, self cooked, without photographers, music , or white gowns. They don't wear jewelry but I think they do use a wedding ring. Mennonites are an offshoot and do use cars and electricity and I went to college with a couple of them. The girls grow their hair forever. Other than the fact that they have lots of kids and have communities away from the rest of the world, and speak a language similar to yiddish, they have nothing in common with frum Jews. Years ago I showed some of them some Torah cards and they were absolutely enthralled. Getting to know them is useful if you want to hire their girls as live-ins.

"Mennonites are an offshoot"

You have that backwards. The Amish split off from the Mennonites because the Mennonites were too tolerant of sinners, and didn't like putting people in cherem all the time.

45

 Mar 31, 2009 at 07:53 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #40  
Anonymous Says:

The Amish speak Platt Deutsch - Low German. Yiddish is closer to Middle High German - similar to the dialect spoken around Stuttgart nowadays.

That would explain why I got along so well with my Yiddish in Frankfurt, which is not so far from Stuttgart.

46

 Mar 31, 2009 at 07:54 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #42  
Avraham Says:

The place of birth of the Lubavitch movement is the former Russian Empire - not Poland (not even that part which was part of the Russian Empire). Moreover, Lubavitch currently is located outside of Belarus within the Russian Federation, but this is a side point. The ignorance of some reports is just mind-boggling.

Actually Lubavitch's roots are in White Russia, which used to be Polish.

47

 Mar 31, 2009 at 09:31 PM Proud Chusid Says:

Reply to #7  
me Says:

"He says both communities are drawn to each other because they are known for old-fashioned dress and resistance to modern amenities. "
If a Litvak would say that he'd be called anti-Chassidish.

No they Wouldn't!

48

 Mar 31, 2009 at 09:24 PM Anonymous Says:

In the photo, check out their hats: the one on the left is a Lubavitcher, on the right is the young Amish guy.

49

 Mar 31, 2009 at 10:11 PM ABE Says:

I actually saw them in BP and they looked fascinated! They were looking and pointing at the little chasidishe kids riding on there bikes and playing, they looked like they were hit over the heads! They looked astonished!

50

 Mar 31, 2009 at 10:04 PM Jefferson Says:

Reply to #46  
Milhouse Says:

Actually Lubavitch's roots are in White Russia, which used to be Polish.

nope! sorry.
White Russia used to be part of Lithuania (and is ethnically Lithuanian). that is why the Baal Hatanya was known amongst the other talmidim of the magid as "the litvak".
although the Lithuanian and polish kingdoms were very close.

51

 Mar 31, 2009 at 09:53 PM jacobalbany Says:

Reply to #37  
Lubavitch ? Says:

Why did the AP write that Lubavitch don't use electricity on Shobbos? Who told them that? Lubavitch love electricity on Shobbos as much as the Litvaks !!!

The bigger Q is whether the analogy is appropriate. I say no. Ostensibly most reporters today aren't taught to articulate precisely, although we can be sure the reporter intended to convey that Torah Jews don't interact with or adjust electrical applications on Shabbat; not that they refuse to benefit from electricity. It's not an appropriate analogy because the Amish disdain general benefit from electricity and electrical applications. We merely regulate how we benefit on our holy day, so that our benefit on this day is distinguished.

52

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:01 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #50  
Jefferson Says:

nope! sorry.
White Russia used to be part of Lithuania (and is ethnically Lithuanian). that is why the Baal Hatanya was known amongst the other talmidim of the magid as "the litvak".
although the Lithuanian and polish kingdoms were very close.

Lithuania was not a separate country at the time; it was part of Poland (officially the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but that was like the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland - a formality hiding the fact that the first-named country in each case ruled the others).

53

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:01 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #50  
Jefferson Says:

nope! sorry.
White Russia used to be part of Lithuania (and is ethnically Lithuanian). that is why the Baal Hatanya was known amongst the other talmidim of the magid as "the litvak".
although the Lithuanian and polish kingdoms were very close.

PS: See how it's described in Sefer Hazichronos. Lithuania is not mentioned.

54

 Apr 01, 2009 at 06:32 AM abi gezint Says:

i wunder do they also pay $150 foe their stylish hat?!

55

 Apr 01, 2009 at 08:58 AM Anonymous Says:

A big different between the tow religions, they give an option do the kids by the 16 if they wanted to stay in the religion, it's not that you must accept it.

56

 Apr 01, 2009 at 09:20 AM Anonymous Says:

"Hey, reb yid, how about joining us for mincha?

"Mincha? What's a mincha?"

57

 Apr 01, 2009 at 03:29 PM Amish=Protestant Says:

Reply to #41  
Anonymous Says:

Can you please mention one source for a shtraimel, fur hat or long suit?

Those are minhagim, I was talking about the laws we follow of yiddishkeit!

58

 Apr 01, 2009 at 03:05 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #56  
Anonymous Says:

"Hey, reb yid, how about joining us for mincha?

"Mincha? What's a mincha?"

Don't laugh; I once tried to recruit a Jesuit for a minyan. He *looked* Jewish to me, and he knew exactly what it was that I wanted, and why he couldn't help me.

59

 Apr 02, 2009 at 11:19 PM Anonymous Says:

everybody should go visit amoshtown you can see exactly what you shouldnt do on shabbos

60

 May 22, 2010 at 08:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Amish=Protestant Says:

The amish are Protestant. Their way of thinking and laws are all mixed up. They have no source or reasoning for their way of life, it was made up by people a long time ago. We have a source and reason for who we are and what we do. They are a bunch of goyim who are not similar to the jews at all, except for trying to separate themselves from the rest of the world. That is no reason to compare them to Jews. They can come into our communities and see how we live but we shouldnt do anything more with them "politically and commercially"!

Your comment was without knowledge and or education.The fact that you used the word "goyim" simply proves the above and more.

61

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