A New Generation
Breakthroughs in Critical Thinking:
A Young Generation Not Defined by the Holocaust
A Little Background:
Williamsburg is a mix of Satmar Hassidim from neighboring countries from the Austrio-Hungarian area which now reside on neighboring streets. Satmars keep the same dress and traditions of their fore fathering Rebbes including wearing streimels, speaking yiddush as their first language, and an all around modesty.
Most other Jewish sects found ways to cope with the new world by assimilating with it to some extent. What makes the Satmars unique is that they acted in the completely opposite direction by making themselves stick to their own way of doing things as to not fall into the trap of assimilation. Their own way of doing things slowly transformed into drastically ignorant ways of coming up with over the top restrictions and blinding themselves to the negativity that is conjured by such actions.
The Satmar Hassidic survivors of the Holocaust came to the United States, a foreign land, to build their lives back. Lee Avenue* is the main street in Satmar Williamsburg’s bustling business thoroughfare.
The next generation grew a course exterior living in the shadow of the Holocaust, growing families by exorbitant numbers and while growing callus to the outside world. This is shown in part by their daunting apartment complexes* which have very plain exteriors with bars over the windows, cages,which hold their youngens inside.
Whats going on now:
The current generation of Satmars, who dont have the same weight on their shoulders are quietly innovating creative thinking. Along the same line of young people outside of the ultra-orthadox world, these men and women are critically thinking in a way that their parents and grand-parents had never imagined. Most of what is going on is so quiet that many have not made their thoughts known even to their own families. It is based around a realization that their way of living is incongruent with the outside world and even Jewish ideals. The shifts are most often subtle, with exceptions for more drastic acts of heresy and leaving of the community.
Those learning from experience have difficult coping with the world around them. There is nothing taught within the Satmar community how to handle the outside world. No distinction between what is good and bad outside of Rabbinical Law.
It is well established that other Hassidic sects are more progressive (Chabad, Bresslov, etc) and being integrated in the oustide world is not a contradiction anymore. My facination is with the young people paving a path for being progressive without losing their religion and heritage within the Satmar Hassidic world because it is much more of an uphill battle.
My position, and my art, is to be a bridge for the Satmar Hassidim to understand and utilize the outside world without being negatively influenced by it, and help the outside world understand them.