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Hasidic Judaism

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Hasidic Judaism was born out of European Orthodox Judaism in the 18th century. The word "Hasidim" is Hebrew for "the pious ones". Although the specific beliefs differ between the several movements that make up the Hasidic world, all share a culture that is distinct from the modern secular world, and from non-Haredi Judaism. This culture includes a specific language - Yiddish - and style of dress.

Different Hasidic groups

The Hasidic world consists of tens of Hasidic groups of varying sizes. The largest of these groups comprise up to 100,000 adherents whereas the smallest may consist of only a few families. Each group is led by a Rebbe.

The position of Rebbe is usually inherited by a Rebbe's oldest son; when a Rebbe does not have sons or they are not available, usually a son-in-law or brother takes over. Most Hasidic groups originate from the students of the Baal Shem Tov, who is seen as the founder of Hasidic Judaism.

A selection of various groups is given here in alphabetical order. Only those groups which are currently in existence are listed.

Larger Hasidic groups


For more information, see: Belz (Hasidic group).

Belz originated in Poland and is currently headquarted in Jerusalem, where the recently completed Belzer main synagogue is the city's largest synagogue and a major landmark. Belz is led by the rabbinical dynasty of Rokeach; the current Rebbe is Rabbi Yissochor Dov Rokeach.


For more information, see: Bobov.

Bobov originated in Poland and is currently located in Brooklyn, NY. It is led by the Halberstam rabbinical dynasty, though it recently split into two separate groups: one led by Rabbi Ben-Zion Halberstam, the other led by Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger.


For more information, see: Breslov.

Breslov was founded by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who was its only Rebbe. Breslover Hasidim believe that nobody can ever replace their first leader, and therefore no new Rebbe was ever appointed.


For more information, see: Chabad-Lubavitch.

Chabad Lubavitch is a vast international educational, outreach, community-building movement of Hasidic Judaism. Due to its focus on outreach, it is probably the most well-known Jewish movement. In over 40 years, they have sent throughout the world about 5,000 young men called Shluchim, who are all accompanied by equally motivated spouses with typically large families, all of whom aim to fulfill their mandate of Jewish outreach, education, and revival. They look for and recruit people who want to join them, and they are major players in the Teshuva movement, which encourages Jews alienated from their religion to become more Jewishly aware and religiously observant. The number of adherents is estimated to be around 50,000. Due to its intensive relations with the outside world, Chabad has become known as a somewhat more liberal movement. While using the internet is considered absolutely forbidden in most of the Hasidic world, in Chabad using the internet is much more accepted. Also, English is the main language of communication, instead of Yiddish. The main stronghold of Chabad-Lubavitch is the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, NY.


For more information, see: Ger (Hasidic group).

Ger is one of the largest Hasidic movements and is headquartered in Jerusalem. It originates in Poland and is led by the rabbinical dynasty Alter. The current Gerrer Rebbe is Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter. Ger is known for having a less negative attitude to Zionism, actively participating in Israeli political life via the Agudas Yisroel party, which is controlled by the Gerrer Rebbe. Gerrer Hasidim do not actively promote the use of Yiddish; it is no longer taught in Gerrer educational institutions, in favor of Modern Hebrew.


For more information, see: Satmar.

Satmar originates in the formerly Hungarian and currently Romanian town of Satu Mare. It is believed to be the largest Hasidic movement currently in existence, numbering about 100,000 adherents, and is well-known as being virulently opposed to Zionism - both secular and religious. According to some sources, the number of adherents is as big as 120,000.[1] Major centers of Satmar are the Williamsburg and Boro Park, Brooklyn, NY; Kiryas Joel, NY; London; Jerusalem; Montreal; Buenos Aires; Antwerp, and several other places around the world. Satmar plays a major role in the Edah HaChareidis.


For more information, see: Sanz-Klausenburg.

The previous and founding Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, requested that after his death, his sons should split the movement into two branches: one in the Kiryat Sanz area of Netanya, Israel, which is led by his son, Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Halberstam; and one in Borough Park, Brooklyn, NY, led by his son, Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Halberstam. The Israeli branch owns a large complex including Laniado Hospital, the main hospital for Netanya, founded by the previous Rebbe.


For more information, see: Skver.

Skver originates in Ukraine and its current headquarter is in New Square, NY. It is led by the Twersky rabbinical dynasty and currently led by Rabbi Dovid Twersky. Skver is knowing for strictly adhering to its own specific customs (minhagim).


For more information, see: Vizhnitz.

Vizhnitz originated in Ukraine. The group is currently divided into two separate parts: Vizhnitz-Monsey (NY), led by Rabbi Mordechai Hager, and Vizhnitz-Bnei Brak (Israel), led by Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager.

Smaller Hasidic groups


For more information, see: Aleksander (Hasidic group).

Aleksander is a small group, currently headed by two Rebbes: Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Meir Singer in Borough Park, Brooklyn, NY, and Rabbi Yisroel Danziger in Bnei Brak, Israel. There is also an Aleksander synagogue in Jerusalem.


For more information, see: Amshinov.

Amshinov consists of two groups: one located in New York and one in the Bait VaGan neighborhood of Jerusalem.


For more information, see: Bergsass.

The Bergsasser Rebbe is located in Elad, Israel.


For more information, see: Biala.

Biala consists of numerous small groups, each led by a Rebbe.


For more information, see: Boston (Hasidic group).

The Bostoner Rebbe lives in Jerusalem during the summer months.


For more information, see: Boyan.

Boyan is headquartered in Jerusalem.


For more information, see: Chernobyl (Hasidic group).

Chernobyl has a sizable yeshiva in Bnei Brak.


For more information, see: Cleveland (Hasidic group).

Cleveland consists of two parts: Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel Rosenbaum is the Clevelander Rebbe of Williamsburg, NY, and Rabbi Yitzchok Rosenbaum is the Clevelander Rebbe of Ra'anana, Israel.


For more information, see: Dushinsky.

Dushinsky is headquartered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis.


For more information, see: Erlau.

Kaliv / Kalov

For more information, see: Kaliv.
For more information, see: Kalov.

Kaliv is headquarted in the Ezras Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem and is led by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub; Kalov is headquartered in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, and is led by Rabbi Moshe Taub.


For more information, see: Karlin-Stolin.

Karlin-Stolin is headquartered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. The Rebbe, however, lives in Givat Ze'ev most of the time.


For more information, see: Kosov.


For more information, see: Kotsk.


For more information, see: Lelov.


For more information, see: Machnovka.

Machnovka is a split-off from Belz. It is headquartered in Bnei Brak.


For more information, see: Mattersdorf (Hasidic group).

Mishkenois HoRoim

For more information, see: Mishkenois HoRoim.

Mishkenois HoRoim is headquartered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is known as being virulently anti-Zionist.


For more information, see: Modzitz.


For more information, see: Munkacz (Hasidic group).


For more information, see: Nadvorna.

Nadvorna consists of numerous small groups, each led by a Rebbe. The largest and most important is Biala-Bnei Brak.


For more information, see: Narol.


For more information, see: Novominsk.

The Novominsker Rebbe is traditionally the president of Agudath Israel of America.


For more information, see: Pinsk-Karlin.

Pinsk-Karlin is headquartered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem.


For more information, see: Pittsburgh (Hasidic group).


For more information, see: Pshevorsk.

Pshevorsk is headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium.


For more information, see: Pupa.

There are Shotzer Rebbes in London and Antwerp.


For more information, see: Rachmastrivka.

Rachmastrivka is headquarted in the Ezras Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem.


For more information, see: Sadigura.

Sadigura is headquartered in the Shmuel HaNavi neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is led by the Friedmann rabbinical dynasty.


For more information, see: Sanz-Tshokowe.

Sanz-Tshokowe is a small Hasidic group located in the Geulah neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is led by the Halberstam rabbinical dynasty.


For more information, see: Sanz-Zhmigrod.

There are Zhmigroder Rebbes in America, Antwerp, and Bnei Brak.


For more information, see: Seret-Vizhnitz.

Seret-Vizhnitz split away from Vizhnitz a long time ago, in Europe already. The group is currently headquarted in Haifa, Israel.

Shomer Emunim

For more information, see: Shomer Emunim.

Shomer Emunim, founded by Rabbi Aharon Roth, is currently located in Bnei Brak. There is also a synagogue in Jerusalem. Other groups that emerged from Shomer Emunim are Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok.


For more information, see: Shotz.

There are Shotzer Rebbes in London and in Antwerp, Belgium.


For more information, see: Slonim.

Slonim consists of two groups, one located in Bnei Brak and one in Jerusalem.


For more information, see: Skulen.


For more information, see: Spinka.


For more information, see: Stropkov.

Stropkov is headquartered in the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem, close to the city's Central Bus Station.

Toldos Aharon

For more information, see: Toldos Aharon.

Toldos Aharon is headquartered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is a split-off from Shomer Emunim and affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis.

Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok

For more information, see: Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok.

Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok is headquartered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is a split-off from Toldos Aharon and affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis.


For more information, see: Tshortkov.

Tshortkov has a small synagogue in Meah Shearim.


  1. "Satmar Grand Rebbe Moses Teitelbaum dies" -25 April 2006,

Further reading

  • Jerome R Mintz. Hassidic People: A Place in the New World. Harvard University Press. 1992 ISBN 0674381157

External links