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Hasidism Vs The Westboro Baptist Church

1160 words - 5 pages

This semester we have seen two videos about small religious communities from a greater sect: “A Life Apart: Hasidism in America” and “The Most Hated Family in America”. But how on earth could Hasidic Jews and the Westboro Baptist Church have anything in common? After watching the documentaries on both, I believe they do have a number of commonalities but a greater number of differences. Both sects exhibit a strict interpretation of their respected holy works, are conservative and have an air of spiritual elitness. But they differ greatly in the details of their religion and way of life.
The Hasidic Jews and the Westboro Baptist Christians may seem to be extremely different, but they do ...view middle of the document...

The WBC holds demonstartions and protests at events and people they find to be aganist the teachings of the Bible. Both communities remain distant from the general American culture. They both reject the typical American way of life because it does not adhere to their beliefs.
Although the two sects have a few commonalities, there are a vast number of differences between them. The Hasidic population immigrated to the United States after World War II from Eastern Europe in search of religious freedom. The Hasidic communities were founded by Holocaust survivors who could not return to their old communities before the war and continue the Hasidic way of life. The Eastern European countries where the Hasidics were orginally from fell to communism after the war and communism forced all religion underground. Anti-Semitics feelings were also still strong in Europe at the time. They came to this country to maintain and continue their long tradition of Hasidim. The WBC is relatively new in comparison. They were founded in the 1950's by Fred Phelps because he was not satisfied with the teachings in his previous church. He believed in a more “old school” Baptist and Calvinist approach. The Hasidic community is also much larger than the WBC. The WBC is composed of two separate familes and maybe a few random individuals who have joined the church over the years. It may comprise of 50 individuals. The Hasidic community is composed of thousands of people. There is more than one Hasidic neighborhood in New York City and each neighborhood has dozens and dozens of families. Both sects have members who leave, but the Hasidic communtiy welcomes those who leave back. Pearl Gluck left her Hasidic community, but she is still welcomed back by her family. She can visit her family when she wishes and still maintains a good relationship even though she is no longer Hasidic. This is not so with the WBC. If one leaves the WBC, he or she is essentially excomunicated. He or she cannot go back to visit or speak with his or her family. We see this with Lauren when she left the church. Her family removed her pictures from the house and do not speak of her. She is essentially dead to them.
The two differ in another way. The Hasidics, especially the children, are kept very separate from the rest of soceity. The Hasidic children are not...

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