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The Skverer Hasidic sect, named for the town of Skver, Ukraine, is astounding in that when it relocated from Eastern Europe to America, members founded not just a new neighborhood, but an entire new village: New Square, in Rockland County, New York. The then Skverer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaacov Yosef moved his community to New Square from Brooklyn in 1954, and the population of the town is currently around 7,000. In this way, sect members have been able to fundamentally isolate themselves from secularity. A sign at an entrance to the town forbids: "Bathing suits, swimming attire, short pants, shirts, sweaters or other attire of like nature which fails to conceal a wearer's body, thighs or legs."

The Skverer spin on Hasidic traditional attire consists of wearing knee high boots instead of regular shoes. (And you thought all Hasidim dressed the same!)

The previous Grand Skverer Rebbe is Rabbi David Twersky. I've been to his tisch for the closing meal of Shmini Atzeret- or rather, I've stood on bleachers behind the concrete wall that separates women from men at Skverer religious affairs, looking through a tiny slit trying to see what was going on. According to my brother, the Rabbi sat at the head of the table, and every once in a while would pick at a piece of challah, cake, or kugel and then pass it around. Men and boys would vie for the tinyest crumb of food imparted with their Rebbe's holiness.

The current Skverer Rebbe is Rabbi Yechiel Mechel.

...Back to Hasidic sects

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