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NYC- Borough Park, Brooklyn
Orthodox Jews in their Diaspora
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By Kai-Uwe Nielsen
NYC - Borough Park, Brooklyn
Orthodox Jews in their Diaspora

New York is the synonym for the multiple culture in one city. As a melting pot and safety habour for immigrants from all countries this american city was always a capital of Jewish life in the United States of America. In the 19th century the stream of jewish immigrants became very strong, especially after their persecution in Eastern Europe and Russia after 1880. During this period and the persecution under Stalin in Russia many groups of orthodox Jews inter alia, the Chassidim or the Mitnagdim escaped to New York.
Today the Jewish community of New York is not very homogeneous since there is also a great group of liberal minded Jews. Their parents and antecedents were exiled and displaced from Hitler’s Germany and were the few which could survive the horrible Shoah only with good luck and by leaving behind of their home-countries
New York there there are around 2.000.000 inhabitants with jewish roots, but only the orthodox Jews are recognisable in the street scene. Today there are four districts in NYC with a high proportion of recognisable Jewish life. Especially Borough Park on Brooklyn is very interesting, since the community of the Chassidim make their living here. In the late 90’ the documentary photographers Weiss and Neumeister have made an impressive report about this lifeworld (Weiss, Maud B. - Neumeister, Michel: Die Frommen in New York - Die Welt der Satmarer Chassidim, München 1995). The district of Borough Park is formed by the Ft. Hamiton Parkway, the Bay Parkway, the 65th St. and the Ocean Parkway. Borough Park is deeply imbued through the world of the Chassidim. The Peot, the curling sidelocks, and the omnipresent Rebbe characterise the streetscape. On every street corner one finds Jewish restaurants and grocers with Kaschrut, the kascher food. But also milliners and tailors are found often. The black Kaftan and the black hat are the most significant garments for the male Chassidim, seldom the Kippa. Their married wifes wear the Scheitel, a wig, that distinguished them from unmarried girls and sometimes the Kupka, a hood from the old days in Poland.
The photo report shown on this website was made before the Feast of Tabernacles, the Sukkot. On the streets there are sold the Etrog, a bergamot-like lemmon, and the Lulaw, a palm, that is part of the bouquet for Sukkot. This feast is somewhat like the Thanksgiving for the Jewish Community and reminds the forty years of migration through the desserts. As seen on the advertising signs on More….

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