Hasidic Jews follow charismatic leaders, marry and work within the community, and avoid secular distractions. But that doesn’t make their faith a cult, Joseph Berger writes.
If at the point of a gun someone was forced to divide the army of American journalists into just two battalions, one would be made up of steadfastly dispassionate, if slightly less charismatic, reporters, and the other of ardent crusaders. Daniel Schorr would have lined up with the second battalion.
In the Jewish kaleidoscope, they occupy a place all their own. The followers of the Lubavitcher rebbe, with their strict emphasis on Halacha, or traditional rabbinic law, are certainly not part of the more liberal branches of Judaism, even if, paradoxically, they appear to be most comfortable operating among those adherents. But they are not quite