Drew Theological Students and Faculty Tour Hasidic Jewish Williamsburg

The Brooklyn theoTREC walking tour was hosted by Wallerstein Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies Eli Rosenblatt

November 2022 – Drew Theological School’s Wallerstein Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies Eli Rosenblatt hosted a theoTREC walking tour of the Hasidic Jewish community within Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Rosenblatt was accompanied by students from his Judaism: Tradition and Community course, as well as a group of PhD, Master of Arts in Religion, and Master of Divinity students.

The tour was led by renowned tour guide, journalist, and scholar Frieda Vizel, who grew up in Hasidic Williamsburg. Vizel introduced the group to the history of the community—its roots in Eastern Europe, and the rebuilding of a community in Brooklyn that had been destroyed during the Holocaust. 

“I joined the walking tour because I am deeply intrigued by communities of faith,” said Thurselle Crisholm-Williams T’23. “As one who has been raised in New Jersey, I am familiar with the Hasidic community. However, the tour showed me how much I didn’t know. Architectural design, schools for boys, government allowances, dress, and food were all well described and shared.”

The tour included visits across Hasidic Williamsburg’s main streetscapes, with stops at a variety of schools and traditional storefronts, including Gottleib’s Kosher Restaurant, one of the neighborhood’s longest standing businesses. 

“In addition to a wide variety of introductory and advanced courses on Jewish life from the ancient to contemporary periods, Drew’s Jewish Studies program is newly-designed to immerse our students in the diversity, vibrancy, and complexity of contemporary Jewish culture in the New York metropolitan area and across the world,” said Rosenblatt. “Hasidic Brooklyn is only the beginning.” 

Follow Drew’s Jewish Studies program on Twitter @JWST_DrewU to learn more.


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