By Stephanie Wellen Levine

From the ardently non secular younger girl who longs for the lifetime of a male pupil to the younger insurgent who visits a strip membership, smokes pot, and agonizes over her lack of religion to the proud Lubavitcher with a wish for a high-powered occupation, Stephanie Wellen Levine presents a unprecedented glimpse into the internal worlds and day-by-day lives of those Hasidic ladies. Lubavitcher Hasidim are well-known for his or her efforts to motivate secular Jews to develop into extra observant and for his or her messianic fervor. Strict fans of Orthodox Judaism, they retain sharp gender-role distinctions.Levine spent a yr residing within the Lubavitch neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, partaking within the rhythms of Hasidic girlhood. Drawing on many intimate hours between Hasidim and over 30 in-depth interviews, Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers deals wealthy photos of person Hasidic younger women and the way they take care of the conflicts among the regimented society during which they dwell and the pull of mainstream American existence. This beautifully crafted booklet deals intimate tales from Hasidic children' lives, delivering an interesting twist to a common subject matter: the fight to develop up and outline who we're in the context of tradition, relations, and life-driving ideals.

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Additional resources for Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey among Hasidic Girls

Sample text

Rabbi Zalman envisioned a lifelong process of spiritual growth, drawing on intellect, emotion, and self-discipline. Within Lubavitch, the Tanya is living, God-infused philosophy, an indisputable guide to our world. In school, girls explore the Tanya (translation: it has been taught), along with more standard Orthodox Jewish subjects like Bible and Jewish law. Their studies reflect the rules, behavior codes, and theology that steer their lives. When they examine the minutiae of the dietary laws or the regulations governing Shabbos, they need the information not just for the test but for their daily existence.

The spiritual foundation that Rabbi Zalman built continued to define Lubavitch through a succession of several beloved Rebbes. The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn (the most recent Rebbe’s father-in-law), escaped to the United States in 1940 after the Nazis invaded Poland, his home at the time, and organized Lubavitch’s current world headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Schneersohn’s story is typical of Hasidim, many of whom first left Europe when World War II demolished their world.

Revolutions inspire angry detractors, and Hasidism attracted its share of bitter foes within the European Jewish power structure. Many adversaries of the movement were of Lithuanian origin; Lithuania was known for rigorous Talmudists deeply invested in the notion of scholarship as the most direct path to God. These misnagdim (opponents) bristled at what they perceived as Hasidism’s excessive valorization of the Rebbe, overemphasis on mysticism, and disrespect for Talmudic scholarship. Eventually, though, the groups reconciled somewhat.

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