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B"H, the NYC area has so many groups of Hassidm. I am quite fascinated by the variance in their customs and dress.

Is there a book that lists the most "common" groups of Hassidim? (I don't have an exact definition of "common", here, but, let's say, a group that currently has numerous followers or groups in many countries in the world.)

Some of the things I'd like discussed in such a book are:

  • Brief history such as who / when it was founded
  • Where it is now located, mainly and / or where communities currently exist
  • Primary customs / behaviors that are unique to this group, e.g. weekday vs. Shabbat dress, Shabbat minhagim (which might include special foods or songs that are unique to that group.)

I'm not really seeking details such as what they include / exclude in tefilla that are unique. I'm fine with a summary on main customs and dress.

I'd prefer a hard-copy book rather than on-line resource, so that I can read this on Shabbat and, perhaps, more easily identify a particular Hassid when I see him without having to snap a picture and ask "Siri" :-)

  • I wish such a book existed. I too love learning of the various Hasidic groups. – ezra Dec 7 '17 at 16:58
  • A very interesting and relevant webpage: wernercohn.com/hats.html – ezra Dec 7 '17 at 17:02
  • There are not that many different chasidic groups today. It is very hard to start a new chasidus, so if youre not a descendant you dont have a chance. The main ones are Tchernobil, Ryshen and Sandz where most rebbes descend from. The others like Belz and Ger only have one rebbe. – patient Dec 7 '17 at 17:31
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    A good resource is the Yiddish Wikipedia, which includes lengthy entries for various Hasidic groups. You might check that out. For example, Satmar. In addition there are entries for lesser-known Eastern European towns. – ezra Dec 7 '17 at 17:33
  • See the Nitei Gavriel. – Shmuel Brin Dec 7 '17 at 19:00
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Laws and Customs of Hasidism translated from Halachos v'Halichos Chasidim

There's also the Encyclopedia of Hasidism

I do not know how contemporary either book is, but I have the first book (in Hebrew) and it's very thorough.

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