Holy Days: The World Of The Hasidic Family
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Holy Days: The World Of The Hasidic Family

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A beloved contemporary classic, Holy Days is a personal account of New York's Hasidic community, its beliefs, its mysteries, and its encounter with secularism in the present age.

Combining a historical understanding of the Hasidic movement with a journalist's discerning eye, Harris captures in rich detail the day-to-day life of this traditional and often misunderstood commu...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1985)
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Jen
I came across this book on the heels of having read The Chosen, so I was interested to learn more about the Hasidim. I liked getting a more every-day feel for what their life is like in more contemporary times, although this book is now over twenty years-old; however I'm hard-pressed to believe much has changed for this community in that time, since "new and improved" is absolutely *not* their motto.

I liked the writer--a Jewish woman who grew up in a non-religious household--and appreciated her...more
Lucy
Lis Harris is Jewish, but not observant. But she feels compelled to explore the Hassidic roots of her family, and so she finds a Hassidic family, the Konigsburgs, to shadow and learn from.

The book is respectful, but not awed. Harris clearly respects her subjects, and she is impressed by much of what they say and do, but she doesn’t accept it all blindly. She both lauds and criticizes, sometimes in the same paragraph. She explores the historic roots of the Hassidic community, interspersing chapt...more
Mark Klempner
A receptive New Yorker columnist spends about a year visiting the Lubuvitcher community in Crown Height and tells the tale in this book. It really is well written, fair, and quite absorbing if you are interested in the subject matter. Along the way you learn a lot about Judaism and about the Hasidic strain of Judaism that the Lubuvitchers are part of. The portrait that emerges is both flattering and embarrassing . . . in other words, real. She obviously did not want to offend the hosts who so gr...more
Daughters Of Abraham
Contemporary story of the Hasidic community in East New York, Brooklyn. The author is a Jewiosh woman who is an outsider to the community.
Some found it interesting and educational. Others felt the author was condescending.
Michelle
I really enjoyed this investigation of a Lubavitcher Hasidim family by a secular Jew. I could feel Harris's respect for the family even if at times she was frustrated by them; one could also feel a certain wistfulness by Harris as she explored the religious life of this family and experienced holidays and life events with them. I wonder if she ever became more religious. I felt the historical chapters on the history of Hasidism were less well done; I preferred her accounts of time spent with the...more
Carla
Just finished this wonderful book. Like the author, I come from a background where the ultra-religious world of the Hasidim is part of a family heritage about which no one has ever been willing to speak to me. Harris's loving examination of this world within a world of worlds is both respectful and skeptical, and it never seeks to judge or to encourage its reader to judge; it simply illustrates how the realm of the Hasidim works for those who choose to live within it. A wonderful reading experie...more
molly
you have to be really interested in hasidim to like this book. the family is harris profiles is interesting but my secularism kind of turned me off from all the religious stuff but the sociology of it all is pretty fascinating. what is even crazier is what is going on with the lubabvitcher community now and there "messiah has a come!" vs. "no, that's just some guy from crown heights" debate
Nicole
An intriguing look inside the lives of Brooklyn Hasidic Jews. Lis Harris takes us inside many places that helped me to better understand the lives and values of my Jewish neighbors. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it to anyone with a curiosity about Hasidism.
Wendy
Interesting survey of the life of Hasidics. I agree with another reviewer, however, that the historical chapters were harder to follow and less engaging. I would be interested to learn if anything has changed in the community since Lis published the book in 1985.
Rachel
Interesting information, but the editing was so bad that I checked to see if it was self published. I will look for another book on the topic, a book in which the editing and sentence structure do not detract from the information.
James
if you're interested in this topic, then I recommend this book. There is also a lively discussion of the Lubavitcher / Satmare conflict. (Lesson #1: Not all Hasidic peoples are the same!)
Inez
I read this book when I was in college (like a hundred years ago :D) I don't have much to tell except it was a book with lots of basic information to educate a non-Jewish reader.
Cynthia
This is a fascinating non-fiction book about a Jewish woman who befriends a Hasidic family and penetrates their community to learn about Hasidism.
suz
This book came to me at the perfect time-- just as I was leaving Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center to re-enter Chicago life.
Sandra
What seems to be a factual intro to Hasidic life and beliefs. Lots of myths debunked.
Craig J.
Holy Days: The World Of The Hasidic Family by Lis Harris (1995)
Elizabeth
Required reading that I actually loved.
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