In Brooklyn, Stifling Higher Learning Among Hasidic Women

September 2, 2016 – The New York Times

In the mid-1940s, Joel Teitelbaum, an eminent and charismatic rabbi, immigrated to the United States, colonizing a section of Williamsburg in Brooklyn for his Hasidic sect, the Satmar, its name taken from the Hungarian town of Szatmar, where Rabbi Teitelbaum had fought to resist the encroachments of a modernizing society.

A reliance on public assistance is remarkably common among the Hasidim, explained Lani Santo, the executive director of Footsteps, an organization begun in 2003 to help those who decide to leave the ultra-Orthodox world. ‘œEven if you want to be able to have a community that is maintaining its own traditions,’ she told me, ‘œyou still need to be able to have the tools and skills to support your family.’

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