Earth & Conservation

Why Do Hasidic Jews Dress So Differently?

Hasidic Jews are a very recognizable group. I'm sure if you've ever walked around the streets of Brooklyn you have seen them.

The traditional dress of Hasidic Jews is very recognizable. Men wear large brimmed hats with long black coats, they usually have thick beards, and wear long curls at each side of their face. The traditional women's dress code is less noticeable because it's very conservative. They are not permitted to wear pants and tend to wear long skirts, covered necklines, long sleeves, and headscarves. Hasidic Jews consider a woman's natural hair to be a thing of great beauty, so many women are required to shave their head after getting married as a sign of ultimate fidelity.

RELATED: Why Morality Police Patrol the Streets of Iran

Hasidic Judaism was founded in Eastern Europe, primarily the Poland and Ukraine regions, in the late 18th century. The traditional clothing stems primarily from Polish nobility standards of dress during this time. Contrary to popular assumption, Hasidic garb comes more from historical context rather than specific religious texts like the Torah. For example, the black coat worn by men is called a rekel and must be black due to a religious decree made by Rabbis in the 18th century. At the time it was believed that wearing colorful jackets could lead to resentment by non-Jews and be a potential cause for violence.

Hasidim wardrobe is a huge part of the religion and culture of the community. Modesty is very important, especially for women, and anyone who disobeys these traditions of dress are seen as disrespectful. Those who do not follow it risk excommunication.

Watch more Seeker:

Why the Japanese See Honor in Suicide

Read more about the history of Hasidim customs:

Forward: Ex-Hasidic Woman Marks Five Years Since She Shaved Her Head

United With Israel: Jewish Dress Code Based on Torah Value of Modesty