“The World of Hasidim and Their Battles with America” by Joseph Berger is an interesting read. I love reading books about other faiths.
The Hasidic parts of Crown Heights, Williamsburg, and Boro Park are lively islands of traditional Jewishness in the midst of larger, racially diverse, working and middle class neighborhoods. The stores have signs in Yiddish and Hebrew; the men wear long beards and long black garb, while the women wear wigs or scarves and modest.
Orthodox life is bounded by daily and seasonal religious cycles of obligations and events, including observance of the Sabbath and holidays, and, for men, ongoing religious study and prayer three times daily. The Orthodox ideal is to live a life in which every moment reflects a consciousness of God.
In some ways it’s admirable the way they build their lives for the glory of God. In some ways it appears to be out of place with the hustle and bustle of everyday life in America. Mr. Berger does a wonderful job in describing families and their daily routines. A few years ago, Oprah took camera into the closed community and it was fascinating.
What does it do well: It explains in detail what the practices and traditions are
What do you want more of: I would have loved to get more in depth into some of the religious traditions and their courting practices.
If you have ever wondered what the traditions are I would most definitely recommend that you give the book a try.