2008 Keys 2 Canada travel blog

man walking to Temple

boys on the way home from Temple

for blocks and blocks the community was on the move and dressed...

an older residential neighborhood outside the Hasidic community

New Jersey is a lot less urban than I'd expected

Hasidic in Jersey - Saturday, June 14

Monday we have an appointment in Lakewood to have some work done on the RV, so today we decided to take a ride and scope out the town. The first thing you notice is that people here drive just like they do in Florida - with their horns.

Well DUH! If it wasn't for people from New York and New Jersey, Florida would still belong to Spain. The good news is that it's great to be hearing those Yankee accents again. No confederates here.

A mile from the campground we began to see them - ultraorthodox Hasidic Jews dressed for Temple. Some were coming - others were going, but coming or going they were dressed mostly in black - and this on a 90 degree day.

In addition to their sharp black suits the men all wore hats, from the little yarmulke skullcaps to large black hats that look almost like Stetson's, and appear to be just a few sizes too large for the head of the wearer.

All wear immaculate white shirts, and the mature men sport a variety of beards and hair styles that are conspicuously different from anyone else on the street. Women are usually walking in groups separate from the men, and they too are dressed mostly in black, sometimes with a white trim, jacket or print on the dress. They are clean and neat, and they walk the cityscape with pride and a strong sense of identity.

They seem formed into large and cohesive communities, which is understandable of people long subjected to prejudice and bigotry. For years New York has been home to the largest community of Hasidic Jews in the country, but now prices and crowding are causing them to venture out to states like New Jersey.

Seeing them certainly made our day more interesting, and occasionally one of them standing on a corner would stare back at us as if they'd never seen a California license plate before. And maybe they haven't. :-)

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