Friday, June 18, 2004

The Hareidization of American (Yeshivish) Orthodoxy

I was at a wedding this week of a distant relative, somewhat outside of my usual social circles & I noticed something, the Chasan (groom) had a beard. I realized that several of the Yeshivish weddings that I had attended in the past year had Chasanim with beards. Now these are not Chassidic men, but litvishers. So I asked someone more in the know and he told me that this is a trend over the past 10 years for bachurim (single men) to have beards. Now this goes against trends going back 100 years ago where some Lithuanian Yeshivos (e.g. Slabodka) prohibited their single men from having beards because of yuhora (arrogance). My friend told me that it was due to influence of Israeli Chareidi society on the American litvish culture. This is part of larger trends, in adopting Chareidi culture, patterns of piety (e.g. singles growing beards), and even the name "Chareidi" as a way of self-identification. (Though some claim that the relationship is reciprocal, cf. Yair Sheleg's book HaDatiyim ha-Chadashim, which I personally cannot verify.)

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