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50 Shades of Grey - Insights to the Ultra-Orthodox Communities in Israel

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60 Min

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50 Shades of Grey -  Insights to  the Ultra-Orthodox Communities in Israel


Henry Jakubowicz

About the course

There is a famous Israeli artist named Idan Reichel who wrote a song about an Ethiopian woman whos family emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel, but she was already born in Israel and her parents by choice did not teach her Amharic. Of course, her look is Ethiopian, but she was born and raised inside the mainstream Israeli culture. As she was a singer in his band he took her on a journey to Ethiopia and wrote a song and in this song she sings a sentence " Gam ani mi po " ...meaning " Also I am from here " or maybe she meant a part of her is from Ethiopia, even she does not speak the language and does not wear the traditional clothing....she felt a strong a connection, which comes together with many questions...

Very similar feelings I have when visiting the city of Bnei Brak or Jerusalem neighborhoods like Geula and Mea Shearim or Hendon London, Antwerp or Brooklyn....something feels "home"....even I did not grow in a city where we had an ultra-orthodox community, but my father always made us feel that we are part and connected, even if he, himself did not live this lifestyle to the fullest....but we are "are also from here". He told us that my grandfather belonged to the Chassidic Gur and went to visit very specific graveyards in Poland, even he told me that my grandmother was more practical religious in the last grandmother from my mother side grew up in Sziget where many were part of the Chassidic Rebbe of our apartment in Germany we had many pictures of Chasidic people on the wall and the food " Thshulent, Hering, Zvibel & Ei, Gefillte Fish, Gallarate, Kneidelech..." were part of our house routine kitchen, together with Schnitzel, Mc Donald's and Falafel...

In the last years' many TV series dealt with these uniquely dressed people and who keep special rules very strictly like e.g: " Shtissl"  or also "Unorthodox" can book food tasting tours in Bnei Brak and Chassidic music, sometimes reduced to Klezmer is also partly known.

It took me a while to understand that this is (like always) not "one block of people" but inside this world are many "colors" also in the way they dress but also very different believes and traditions. It took me another while to learn to find out what this strong feeling of familiarity meant and where we meet and also be able to criticize part of there ideas, without needing to cut the inner warm feeling I have. It is not easy to criticize the grandfather you never got to know...

In our 60min lecture " 50 Shades of Grey! " we will make a short historical excursion of the origin of the ultra-orthodox world, learn about to recognize the different traditions of clothing, religious beliefs and where do they live today mostly. We will also touch on some day to day challenges and touch on some topics, which you normally do not dare to ask …and of course, will touch also the unique cuisine.

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