The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hassids and Hipsters: A Redux in Art and Thought

Last night we went to a Gallery of Elke Reva Sudin's work - "Hipsters and Hassids" in Der Arbiter Ring in Manhattan (The Workmen's Circle - a place that brought up memories of my Grandfather . . . for it was at the Arbiter Ring that he learned Yiddish)  - click on the link to see it all . . .

In the words of Elke from her blog:

Hipsters and Hassids are two polar opposite communities that live side by side in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Hipsters are young, trendy, and artsy while Hassids are religious Jews who follow a specific tradition that they hold to strictly. Even though they look completely different on the outside, Hipsters and Hassids share many difficulties in common on the inside.

Much of the art played on the symmetry or dissonance of the two cultures . . . The Chassidim austere in black, the hipsters colored like flamboyant colors and wild designs - and yet the Chassidic group going as a family or community - the hipsters alone even when they are together - pensively smoking cigarettes. [Enjoy: How to dress like a hipster]

When we came at 10:00 not all the art had been hung up yet . .

They hamburgers, we eat pastrami on rye, they drink Milkshakes (or smoothies or . . .) we drink . . . Doctor Browns?
Unhealthy food unites.

The crowd definitely weighed in on the side of the hipsters. Even the Chassidim there (besides for those that truly stradled both worlds) wanted to be hipsters.

I often wonder if we Lubavitchers really have any class. There's something insincere about the adoption of some of the Hipster culture -  How many truly follow the mental waves and vibes of the Yuppies of Parkslope and the Hipsters of Greenpoint . . . and how many in a quest for individuality in our Neo-Chassidic society have opted for another form of ubiquity - being unique . . . like everyone else.

Here's the test for all would be Chassidic Hipsters - if you a Chossid that is Hip or a Hipster that is Hassidic . . . Satmar and the Hipsters fight over the bike lanes in Williamsburg. The Hipster want to bike, the Chassidim don't want to be exposed to the tight-fitting and skimpy dress of the bikers. Legal issues aside . . . who is right?

The classic game of Frogger this time played out as a scantly clad (if not entirely pixelated) hipsters trying to bike across Bedford Ave and it's swarms of angry Satmar Chassidim.

A concert and a Purim Schpiel . . .

The Bridge

After catching up with some of the Jewish Twitterati, looking at the pictures . . . and being unable to find Elke to congratulate her on the work, we left the gallery.

Outside the building, a group of hipsters stood, smoking cigarettes clenched between their thumbs and forefingers and pressed against brightly colored lips . . . taking heavy drags and looking out through deeply mascaraed eyes.
  "I don't get it?" one said, Converse All-Star clad left foot pressed against the red bricks of the building. "Is she Chabad or something?"
  "No," said the friend.
  "So then why are the so many F*cking Lubavitchers here?"

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Nemo said...

sarabonne said...

This was interesting, thanks.

Nemo said...

For Mottel, who cares more than anything else about the amount of activity on his blog, here is a transcript of a Facebook conversation:

I think it's time you embraced the modern Lubavitch and quit complaining. Legalities aside, the Chassidim are wrong and the Hipsters should have their bike lane.
9 hours ago •

Dude - do I think Satmar is taking the right course of action? No. While the hispters have no excuse for the borderline antisemitic responses (look at any comment thread on the issue in the Gothamist), the chassidim have NOT helped the issue.

That being said, while I may choose to act, or not act, because of darkei sholom, there remains a valid ... See Morehalachic need to be repulsed by such behavior! One should at the very least no that it is wrong to act in such a way, and that in an ideal world people wouldn't go about in a non-tzniusdike way.
8 hours ago via Email Reply

"I often wonder if we Lubavitchers really have any class."

8 hours ago

A need to be repulsed by such behavior doesn't require the sandblasting of a bike lane. They are living on a major bike thoroughfare in a majority non-Chassidic city. The bike lane is used by everyone, including people who are not scantily clad. Removing it endangers everyone. It also won't prevent the non-tzniusdik riders from passing through. ... See MoreChassidim have to learn that adherence to religious principles does not always require protesting.

If the issue is really traffic and parking -- which I believe it is -- it was rather unwise for them to frame their objection in religious pretexts.
8 hours ago •

Nemo I'm with you 100% - that's why I put the legal i.e. Secular aspects of it aside - as Americans, people in this country etc. they have little basis for their actions.

The litmus test of who is a hassid at heart or a hipster is how you react to Satmar. If you feel the dress is an issue on some level or another (even if you disagree with their actions and methodology entirely) or if you feel Satmar is completely of the mark as there's nothing even theoretically wrong with people in skimpy clothes going down our streets.

Practically I agree that the same law that lets them go with a shtreimel lets the hipsters go kol hamakatzir b'yoserharei ze meshubach and that taking action in the method on exacerbates the situation.

That being said - you look like such a hipster - I kept thinking I saw you by the gallery!
7 hours ago via Email Reply

Aderaba, I think they have a very valid legal and political claim. But from a choosing your battles standpoint this is stupid.
6 hours ago •

Out of curiosity -why did you speak about the inyan here . . . but post a link in my blog's comments?
4 hours ago