Jewish Hipsters Flock to Crown Heights

A Jewish hipster haven in the heart of Chabad’s Brooklyn territory: Known as Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters since the 1940s, Crown Heights is becoming home to a new kind of Jew – the “hipster,” reports Ben Sales for the JTA.

from the JTA:

Soon after Nechama Levy moved to Brooklyn five years ago, she opened a bicycle repair shop. The spacious, high-ceilinged store was just down the street from a new pub with exposed brick walls.

Like many who have moved recently to the rapidly gentrifying borough, Levy, 33, was drawn to the area’s relatively cheap rents — at least back then — plus its bicycling culture.

Levy also ensconced herself in one of Kings County’s Jewish trends: a curated, artisanal type of liberal Judaism. Like much of brownstone Brooklyn, her neighborhood has a growing galaxy of independent prayer groups, or minyans — one of which Levy herself founded, the Brooklyn Women’s Chavurah, a women-led service.

But what makes her growing Jewish community unique is that it’s on the home turf of Chabad, perhaps the most visible Hasidic Orthodox group in the world.

Click here to continue reading at the JTA.

Is this a positive or negative development for Crown Heights? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

26 Comments

  • 2. Resident wrote:

    This is negative to the Chabad community! Many of the outlook and hashkafa that the modern orthodox hipsters have are not in line with chasidish values!!! Such as mixed events and Eruv ! Hashem yishmor on our children

    Reply
    • 3. ahavas yisroel wrote:

      negativity and lack of ahavas yisroel is not in line with chasidishe values.

  • 4. Teacher wrote:

    Hipsters do damage to our children’s neshama. Warped ideas, a women’s minyan ? What’s next ? These people have no busha and our children have no leaders to show them this wrong . This a recipe for disaster to the future if crown heights and lubavitch

    Reply
  • 5. MZ wrote:

    It’s very sad. No, not sad that they are moving here, but sad that they have no idea of what the Torah is.
    These are children who were stolen from their heritage, and even though I can already hear them screaming “that’s not true”, it is. All are searching, but won’t even look in their own backyard because there was nothing meaningful for them when they were growing up in their assimilated (openly, or secretly) homes.
    I pray that each one opens his/her eyes and looks to the real Torah, before writing their own religion.
    It’s almost Shavuos. May you all find the way home and come celebrate your own personal Matan Torah now.

    Reply
    • 6. Bathsheba wrote:

      My adult children live there and they are nothing like you say; they are not Jewish but they have had a fully meaningful and moral upbringing

  • 7. Nothing we can do about it anyway wrote:

    To tell the truth, it was far easier here before this gentrification started. But now that it’s been in full swing for so long, there’s absolutely no way to turn back the clock.

    I would be lying if I said I like it. I don’t, even though for the most part, the hipsters are very nice, polite people!

    If I wanted to live in a hipster-friendly community, I could have chosen any number of not-so-frum places where the housing is less expensive, the air is cleaner, the atmosphere is quieter, no thugs, etc. I certainly didn’t bargain for this. At the same time, of course anyone has the right to live anywhere they can afford to live, which means there’s nothing we can do about the influx of hipsters, anyway.

    Like I said, they tend to be very civil, nice people. And one advantage is that they’ve driven up the value of the house we bought years ago and still live in here. But that’s also made rentals (and purchase of a house) obscenely expensive in Crown Heights. That makes me nothing but sad: where will my children be able to afford to live? Certainly not here!

    I also don’t like that the hipsters mostly (with a few exceptions, more by the yuppies than by the hipsters) tend to be just “doing a stint” here, unlike the Caribbean-American and Jewish families who are much more invested in making a lifelong commitment to being here. I feel much closer to my non-Jewish, G-d-fearing Caribbean neighbors, than I do to the hipsters (even to the Jewish ones)! Call that whatever you wish; I’m working on my ahavas Yisrael every day, and really admire the Shluchim who do outreach right here in Crown Heights. (Of course I also really admire the Shluchim all around the world!)

    Reply
  • 8. kashaman wrote:

    In answer to the question, one word: yes. Expanded answer: it depends on how Chassidim deal with it.

    Reply
  • 12. Interesting wrote:

    “We’re worried about them influencing our children and we don’t want them here.” Anyone with this approach is doing more damage to their children’s Chabadske chinuch than any hipster can ever do. Since when are we nispoel from our surroundings? THIS is what the Rebbe has taught us?!?

    If you’re nispoel from a few Jews who’s level of observance is different than your own, then Chabad and Crown Heights isn’t for you. Move to Kiryas Yoel.

    Reply
  • 13. cholentmitkugel wrote:

    Gawd! The Rebbe would seize the opportunity to put on tephilin, give neshek out on corner on Fridays. How many Yidden were lost and became frum this way? Thousands! Don’t judge. Don’t hate!

    Reply
  • 15. The full article wrote:

    Quotes Mordechai Lightstone about the positive things he and the other shluchim here are doing. Kol hakavod

    Reply
  • 16. Anonymous wrote:

    These people are attracted to religion, maybe one day they or their children will be attracted to authenticity as well.

    Reply
    • 17. ahavas yisroel wrote:

      maybe they will and maybe they won’t but they will ALWAYS be fellow jews

  • 18. The kangeroo wrote:

    The diffrence between a crown heights hipster and the new breed of hipsters is the degree of theur religeous upbringing.The new breed hipster lqcks reliegous training and the crown heights hipsters lack good manners and tolerance.Lo bhinam holach…….etzel haorev ela shmotza mino es mino.(birds of one feather flock together).

    Reply
  • 19. Moishe wrote:

    How do you recognize a lubavitcher in one of crown heights new bars?
    He is the only one without a beard!
    Maybe these guys will set our guys straight.

    Reply
  • 22. ahavas yisroel wrote:

    it is funny. Chabad is all over the world, even to Nepal, to reach another yid. But when they come here to you in your own neighborhood, that’s a problem??

    Reply
  • 23. great wrote:

    BH this is a great opportunity that Hahem is bringing to us, to help these people and bring them closer to Yddishkait
    we need more Batei Chabad in Crown Heights
    we have mivtzoym opportunities next door. We dont have to shlep to Manhattan anymore
    Moshiach is coming anytime!
    we are in golus, we shouldnt feel like in a Bubble in Crown Heights.

    Reply
  • 24. shlomo wrote:

    if you cross eastern Pkwy on Kingston so every store, have signs- poster with small child (boy, girl) and text “LAST SHOOTING WAS …DAYS AGO” and this is completely acceptable for same people that do not want fellow hipster jew here(((( such hypocrisy

    Reply

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