1545 Bushkill Street
Easton, PA 18042
Phone: (610) 258-5343
Fax: (610) 330-9100
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Service Schedule

Thursday, 7:25 am
Minyan

Friday, 8:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Services

Saturday, 9:30 am
Shabbat Morning Services

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Synagogue office is closed on Mondays and Fridays. Hours open: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

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BAS Religious School welcomes all children ages 1-8th grade to enrolll in 2009-2010 program. Everyone is welcome.
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BAS Rabbi's Message

June, 2014

At a recent community event, a group of local Jews was misidentified as being a part of the Chabad movement of Hassidim. I know that in our travels in the world, we frequently encounter a variety of Jews, and occasionally, we interact with different kinds of Orthodox Jews. I thought it might be helpful to identify a few kinds of Orthodox Jews, as well as some helpful hints for identifying them.

Lithuanian Orthodoxy/”Yeshivish Orthodoxy”/”Black Hat Orthodoxy”:
These Jews are the spiritual heirs of the Vilna Gaon, a great sage who lived in Lithuania in the 18th century. The Vilna Gaon believed in primacy of Talmud study as a spiritual vocation, and that a life steeped in Jewish law was the gateway to a life of religious meaning. The great Yeshivot of Eastern Europe followed this tradition. Today, in North America, Lithuanian orthodoxy continues to be defined by great centers of Jewish learning. The Lakewood Yeshiva in New Jersey, Yeshiva Tora Vodass in Brooklyn, the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, Ner YIsroel in Brooklyn, and the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland all adhere to this philosophy.

Lithuanian Jews traditionally defined themselves by their opposition to the reforms of Chassidic Jews beginning in the 18th century (more below), and were often known as the misnagdim: literally, the opposition.

Lithuanian Rabbi

Dress: Lithuanian Jews are typically identifiable by their black borsalino fedora. Modern Orthodox Jews (more below) may also wear these fedoras on the Sabbath, but they are the daily garb of Lithuanian Jews.

Modern Orthodoxy:
Modern Orthodoxy is an intellectual offshoot of Lithuanian Orthodoxy that believes in finding a balance between traditional Jewish scholarship and the modern world. While it adheres strictly to Jewish law, it also believes in the necessity of secular scholarship in the sciences and humanities. In North America, Yeshiva University is considered the intellectual center of Modern Orthodoxy. Many larger Orthodox congregations-- especially those within the Young Israel movement-adhere to Modern Orthodoxy.

Modern Orthodox

Dress: While some leaders within Modern Orthodoxy maintain the traditional Black Hat of Lithuanian Orthodoxy--especially on the Sabbath, most Modern Orthodox Jews dress in normal American attire. While Lithuanian Jews tend to wear a velvet yarmulke, many Modern Orthodox Jews prefer the Kippah Serguah: the knit yarmulke. Also, some Modern Orthodox Jews prefer to wear a baseball cap in public, as opposed to a kippah.

Hassidic Jews:

Perhaps the most distinct--and most segregated--population of Jews in North America is the Hassidic community. These Jews emerged in the 18th century as a reactionary movement. They believe that the focus on Talmud study robbed Jews of its spiritual underpinnings. Instead, they focused on personal spiritual experiences as the source of religious inspiration. Again, while they strictly adhere to Jewish law, and value Torah scholarship, their focus is slightly different. Also, Hassidim placed a unique emphasis on the spiritual power of the Rabbi as an intermediary with the divine. There are several distinct communities of Hassidim in America and Israel, each with its own slightly unique approach to this tradition.

Hassidim Rabbi

Dress: Hassidim typically wear their interpretation of the garb of 18th century polish nobility. On Shabbat, they wear a fur hat, called a shtrymal and a silk frock called kapote or spodek. While hassidim typically wear black clothing the Rabbi will wear a more elaborate version of the same basic garb.

The exception to this general rule is Chabad--a hasidic group founded further away from the others. Perhaps because of this geographical distance, they dress more like Lithuanian Jews, with a black fedora. However, Chabad hassidim typical bend the brim of their hat in accordance with the tradition of the past Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson.

Chabad Rebbe

Rabbi Stein