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

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Articles

  1. Customer Reviews
  2. Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers
  3. Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers
  4. Electronic resources
  5. Wicked Wonderful Words: "Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers" by Stephanie Wellen Levine

Levine spent a year living in the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, participating in the rhythms of Hasidic girlhood.

Customer Reviews

Drawing on many intimate hours among Hasidim and over 30 in-depth interviews, Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers offers rich portraits of individual Hasidic young women and how they deal with the conflicts between the regimented society in which they live and the pull of mainstream American life. This superbly crafted book offers intimate stories from Hasidic teenagers' lives, providing an intriguing twist to a universal theme: the struggle to grow up and define who we are within the context of culture, family, and life-driving beliefs.

Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s In an age that is at times overly concerned with girls' self-destruction, here is a welcome sign of girls' strength and healthy development. Levine teaches an important and seldom taught lesson: we may find resilience where we least expect it.

Journey of Now

Her unprecedented insight into this hidden culture is an important addition to the growing body of work on girls. Levine has a natural, artful style and writes with a lively and keen vision. At the core, this is a popularly written academic study. The book is eminently readable and undoubtedly fascinating. One intriguing paradox she explores is how these girls created distinct personalities while living in a very closed society. Levine's personal response to the Lubavitcher way of life weaves itself into each chapter and is one of the book's most engaging aspects.

Lees de eerste pagina's. Reviews Schrijf een review. Kies je bindwijze. Direct beschikbaar. Verkoop door bol. Ebook Op verlanglijstje. They were deciding a case about race and not gender. Segregation in the Lubavitcher community, and perhaps among all ultra-Orthodox Jews, is not meant to be oppressive.

Levine tells us that "Lubavitch ideology emphasizes that women's job of caring for the home is holier than study" p. Lubavitcher girls, for the most part, agree with Levine. When I asked one of these young women to consider what her life would be like if she were a boy,, her response was unequivocal: ' Baruch Hashem [thank God] I'm a girl. I don't know how boys stand being in school so long'" p.


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Levine's impression of Lubavitcher young women coincides with my own. For eight summers, , my family and I rented summer bungalows to a group of Lubavitcher Hasidim. We found them very pleasant and open people. There were some teenage girls who spent the summers there; the teenage boys, on the other hand, spent the summers studying elsewhere, although they came to the bungalows at the beginning and end of the summer, before and after their classes.

The girls were poised, spontaneous in their behavior, and for the most part, very beautiful. The girls spoke English among themselves; the boys spoke Yiddish. Reprinted in Never Say Die! Fishman, ed. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers

Lubavitcher young women are indeed livelier and more worldly, linguistically and otherwise, than Lubavitcher young men. Nevertheless, I don't agree with the unlikely feminist-plus-Orthodox coalition that argues for separation of the sexes. Traditional Judaism, unlike other traditional systems of value, has no place for machismo. Men are admired if they are learned, thoughtful, and good at arguing. Even among Jews who are not Orthodox, toughness and bullying are scorned as alien as well as objectively counterproductive. Hasidism restricts the lives of men and women in different ways; it can be argued that Lubavitcher boys are more oppressed than Lubavitcher girls.

Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers

The cheerfulness and intellectuality of Lubavitcher girls does not disprove the argument that segregation is inherently unequal. It merely indicates that the inequality works in favor of the girls. In a world where men and women lead different, separate lives, it is not easy for a woman to study the lives and views of men. Although Levine cites the young woman mentioned above who said, "I don't know how boys stand being in school so long," she doesn't seem interested exploring the contrasts and possible similarities between the lives of the girls and the boys.

Levine's discussions of the girls who are the subjects of her research suffers from the lack of information relating to the boys. We would understand the girls better if we understood the boys a little more than we do. Despite this lack, Levine's descriptions of the girls agree with my own impressions of the Lubavitcher tenants at my bungalow colony years ago. In other respects, however, the Lubavitchers have changed considerably since , the last summer that I spent with them.

Two things have occurred: First, the Russian-speaking women who used to be members of the mothers' generation now belong to the grandmothers' generation. The English-speaking teenagers I knew are now mothers themselves.

Electronic resources

Second, the revered spiritual leader of the community, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Rebbe, has died. A split has arisen between those Lubavitchers who believe that the Rebbe is the Messiah and will return and those who do not hold any such belief. There is no Jewish tradition of total allegiance to a human being, nor is there a Jewish precedent of a leader who returns from the dead; nevertheless, a majority of the Lubavitchers seem to believe that the Rebbe will be resurrected see David Berger's "The Rebbe, the Jews, and the Messiah," Commentary , September , pp.

I used to look upon the Lubavitchers as basically mainstream Orthodox Jews. The belief that the Rebbe is the Messiah separates Lubavitch from the mainstream. So does the aging of the generation that was educated in Soviet public schools.

Wicked Wonderful Words: "Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers" by Stephanie Wellen Levine

The Lubavitchers of the parents' generation whom I had known loved Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky. No doubt they still do. Many Jews of many backgrounds have enjoyed music and literature. Although there is nothing explicitly Jewish about loving arts and letters, it is has been an aspect of Jewish life wherever Jews have been emancipated from the ghetto.


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  • Eye-opening journey into Lubavitch womens world.
  • I had never heard that "the Rebbe had condemned all non-Jewish music as corrosive to the soul, particularly rock songs, whose lyrics are often deeply offensive to Hasidic sensibilities" p. Banning music is something I associate with the Ayatollah Khomeini, not with something a rabbi might do. But the Rebbe's death introduced more prohibitions than anything he had said during his life.