Hasidic Judaism

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What is Hasidic Judaism? A Brief History of the Movement

What is Hasidic Judaism? Watch our new explainer video to learn the history of the Hasidic movement, from the Ba’al Shem Tov to creating an distinct community of mystical and observant Jews.

The Hasidic movement was formed in the mid 1800s by Jewish mystics in Eastern Europe, most notably the Ba’al Shem Tov, who was a traveled Kabbalistic, providing spiritual advice to those he met. He introduced mystic rituals where everything became spiritual. His students (i.e. Dov Ber) would later create the movement of Hasidism. But many Jews at that time were opposed to this new emerging movement. The Hasids were prayer enthusiasts. When they prayed, they would jump, clap, somersault, and even cry.

Despite opposition, the Hasidim continued to grow, engulfing most of Eastern Europe. They became part of the community, by serving as spiritual advisers, koshering meats, attending to the ill and deceased, and more. They continued to thrive until the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union and World War II either killed them or drove them to seek refuge elsewhere. Some Hasids that escaped, traveled to America and began the rival of the movement which we see today most prominently on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.

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