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Publishers Weekly, 1995-08-21 A ponytailed secular Jew who grew up learning Yiddish, the lingua franca of the orthodox, modernity-resisting Jewish sect known as Hasidim, Eisenberg has produced an engaging, if not always deep, mosaic of Hasidic life around the world. In Williamsburg and Boro Park, Brooklyn, home of the Satmars and the Belzers, he sees deeply rooted communities, finding himself welcomed and quizzed when he shows up at synagogues. In Los Angeles, the Lubavitchers have helped transform a Jewish community of '60s rejects that ``carries the brand of Los Angeles on its back with the stark simplicity of a concentration camp tattoo.'' He visits tiny communities in Ukraine and Poland and describes how the small town of Postville, Iowa, has been changed by the advent of a Hasidic meat-packing plant. In lively Antwerp, the author observes signs of the vigorous prewar European Jewish community and, in one of his many quirky encounters, finds himself discussing Meir Kahane while listening to Frank Zappa. Indeed, given the Hasids' devotion, resiliency and high birth rate, the author expects them to play a vital role in the American Jewish future. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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