THE DEDICATION of a new Torah scroll is ample reason for celebration.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Ask most secular Jews what they think about hassidim and Hassidism, and the response may be a quick noncommittal shrug of the shoulders, a blank look or, possibly, something of a more negative nature. That kind of reaction might be due to an adverse personal experience with the sector, negative media coverage of some incident involving hassidim, or simple ignorance of the movement in general.If the latter is the case, your lack of knowledge could be redressed by leafing your way through a hefty new tome on the subject, Hasidism: A New History, published by Princeton University Press.
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