Every time I see videos or photographs of Haredim of sixty-eighty years ago, I notice an abundance of grey suits and hats, with the occasional brown or grey waistcoat. Examples of this include the famous photo of the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai, and this video of Ponevezh in Bnei Brak. Approximately when did people start to exclusively favour black, and where did that originate? Was it in Israel? Or the US?

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    The clothes in the photo and video you link to appear grey because the photo and video are in black and white. For all we know, everyone may have been wearing hot pink.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 15:14
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    No, that's not true. In "black and white" videos, black still appears as black and white still appears as white; for everything else, there are shades of grey. You can compare the jackets and hats to the pants, which are frequently black, and see that they are of a lighter colour. You are right, it could be hot pink, but I doubt it :)
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 23:11
  • Yeah, I was referring not to the black in the photos but to the grey.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 1:31
  • One from the Gemara's time, if he traveled to nowadays, might ask: "Why do Haredim wear black hats and suits? Go back in my day, and you'll see we wore turbans and long robes." What gives? Judaism (gasp!) has changed here and there over the years, especially in dress. Quite incidentally, I remember reading in Chayei Moharan which mentions R. Nachman of Breslov wore a gray coat!
    – ezra
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 3:07

1 Answer 1


I noticed in artscroll books such as Reb Elyah that the big Rabbis wore black and the yeshiva students did not. I think the movement towards black, etc. was to look like the big Rabbis.

I also see a trend here in Israel, that some older yeshiva students (especially in Bnei Brak area) are starting to wear long frock coats like Roshei Yeshiva, and people tend to address each other as "Rabbi", even though the person is not a Rabbi. (some kind of kavod hatorah philosophy)

could be there's other reasons too. such as to delineate which "Camp" you belong to.

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    Thanks for your answer, but I think there's more to it than that. I've also seen pictures of rabbonim wearing grey - such as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, for example, who had a grey hat in Berlin. It may have been, for many people, a sign of status (after all, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was not the Lubavitcher Rebbe when he was in Berlin), but it's now become so mainstream that to dress otherwise is to leave the community. Thanks for your contemporary examples of trends in Bnei Brak!
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 23:17
  • Many people who 'graduate' from Ponevezh wear long coat.
    – havarka
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 7:41

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