Video: When Amish Meets Heimish

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amishch[Video below.] Several dozen Amish residents from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, received a tour of Brooklyn’s frum Crown Heights neighborhood on Tuesday. Rabbi Beryl Epstein calls the tour “living Judaism.” He says both communities are drawn to each other because they are known for old-fashioned dress and resistance to modern amenities

The tour began in the basement of the Levi Yitzchok Library, as Rabbi Epstein explained what he saw as the similar ties the communities have. From there they walked down Kingston Avenue and stopped at HaSofer, where they saw how tefillin and mezuzos are written. They learned about the Shabbos siren on Kingston and Montgomery, and a final stop was at the Crown Heights Matzah Bakery.

“It’s reinforcing to the Amish community to see us Jews living the way the Torah says Jews are supposed to live, and have lived since the time of Moshe and Avrohom,” says Yisroel Ber Kaplan, program director for the Chassidic Discovery Center in Brooklyn. “The Amish are also living their lives as the Bible speaks to them.”

Residents did double-takes on the Brooklyn streets as the two groups walked side by side, touring a Jewish library and a matzo factory.
This is the second year that the community has invited the Amish on a walking tour it offers to the public. 

The 25-strong Amish contingent made the trip by yellow school bus from Lancaster.

“It’s interesting to see how the Jews live and what they believe,” said Elmer Fisher, 37.

“The tradition is similar. They believe what their fathers believed – which is how we believe.”

Rabbi Beryl Epstein has been giving tours of this kind since 1982.

 “They don’t have too many places they can visit where they can be reassured their beliefs will be respected,” he said.

“If they go to Times Square, that’s not gonna work.”

After taking in the sights and sounds in Crown Heights, the visitors dined at Esther’s Deli on Albany Avenue.

The group then got back on their bus and continued taking in the city’s Jewish life at the Living Torah Museum in Borough Park.

Click below for a clip of the visit courtesy of crownheights.info:

[media id=51 width=400 height=300]

{crownheights.info/NY Post/Matzav.com Newscenter}

11 COMMENTS

  1. How could they travel by bus? I thought they only travel by horse and buggy and modern technology is ossur for them. Besides their religion l’havdil, the difference between them and us is we embrace modern technology while they reject it. It doesn’t conflict with our Torah.

  2. They’re not Mennonites. They’re Old Order Amish from Lancaster County, PA. They will ride in cars and trucks that don’t belong to them. They also use trains and buses, but they don’t travel by airplane. They can travel by ship to Europe, etc.
    They call non-Amish folks “English”, not “Westerners”.
    I found it much easier to answer their questions than those asked by non-frum Yidden because they are quite fluent in the Old Testament, a.k.a l’havdil Tanach. They do not transact business of any kind on their sabbath/Sunday. They won’t even buy a soda from a vending machine on Sunday.
    There’s a frum kehilla and yeshiva in Lancaster. The rav there told me that the Amish made the shul’s bima. They’re master craftsmen and are known for their quality workmanship.

  3. Creating Judaic similarities combined with mutual respect and beautiful harmony with the Amish is wonderful for the NY Times. However, as amusing as it may be to visit the Amish on a chol hamoed trip, one should realize who they actually are.

    Although there are variant denominations even among the Amish, in reality they are devout religious Christians, with old-fashioned Christian beliefs. Deep down, disdain for the Jew certainly exists.

    Additionally, it is dangerous to “compare” our divine mesorah to sicha sh’lahem, see Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky at the end of parshas Vayetze.

    All in all, it may be amusing to see them in their habitat, and to act cordial and gracious to them when we visit. However, to invite them to our communities is an entire different issue altogether.

    I suspect the Satmar Bais Din was not consulted on this issue.

  4. “It’s reinforcing to the Amish community to see us Jews living the way the Torah says Jews are supposed to live, and have lived since the time of Moshe and Avrohom,” says Yisroel Ber Kaplan, program director for the Chassidic Discovery Center in Brooklyn.”

    Who said that the Chassidic way of life is the best way to live according to the Torah? And second, we have definitely not lived that way (Chassidic) since the time of Moshe and Avraham!

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