Why do the vast majority of Americans believe that all Modern Day Jews where once Chasidic came to America shaved off their beards threw away their black coats and assimilated into modern society as present day so-called secular Jews? (and believe it or not that belief is shared by many Jews who remain ignorant of their own history and heritage). . Why aren’t todays modern day Christians painted with the same broad brush thought as stemming from the Amish? To believe either one the above remains a false perspective.
The Chasidic Movement started around circa 1770 in The Ukraine and it comprised half of all The East European Jews but not half of the Jews who have immigrated to the U.S.A. Those non Chasidic Jewish group arrived to American Shores before WW I which was basically was between the years of 1876 to 1922. That group for the most part did not contain any Chasidium. Another Group of Jews “The German Jews” immigrated to America from 1840 -1855. Before that in Colonial times basically only Spanish Portuguese Jews resided in the U.S(Sephardic) You may have found a small sprinkling of Chasidium living in America before 1945 however the Chasidic population by in large was not living the U.S A. & it was only after the Holocaust that took place after WWII that the bulk of The Chasidum immigrated to the U.S.
When the Chasidic movement started the Vilna Goan who was the Chief Religious Authority among Jews forbid regular Jews from both marrying and having any contact with this those of new Jewish sect.
The Chasidium have different tenents than other Jews such as having a Grand Rabbi (Rebbi) or Tzadik .When they initialized this concept of “The Rebbe”It was then that the Chasidium that left the mainstream of Judaism not the other way around..All though many Jews are perhaps secular or less or even nonreligious in todays modern society.We Believe that they are around the same overall degree of practicing and observant than their Christian counterparts.That is it in a nut shell condensed for this brief article
MOSES LERMAN BLOG ADMINISTRATOR & EDITOR