What the heck does Heimishe mean

Upon moving to Monsey I discovered that pretty much everyone uses the term Heimishe to describe someone or something that is dressed in black and white. I understand that the true meaning of the word is “homely or warm,” but there is something distinctively wrong with that term- since I feel that Monsey is the exact opposite, everyone is rushing and not very friendly- this has nothing to do with the fact that Monsey is Heimishe, it has to do with a general non-homely atmosphere that pervades the New York metropolitan area and east coast in general. Ask anyone from the hinterlands of the Midwest or far west and they will tell you that folks who live along the eastern seaboard are “anything but homey” so why is this term Heimishe used so much to describe anything that is of the ultra orthodox sect.

Big Fleishigs a meat restaurant in Brooklyn has something called the Heimishe Hoagie- it is warm but does that make it Heimishe. Heimishe hotels, heimishe car dealers, heimishe insurance agencies all exist in Brooklyn, Lakewood and Monsey- the bermuda triangle of frummies. Glance through the classified sections of the Jewish Press, Yated, Hamodia, Yeshiva World News or Luach and you will see that made of the ads run by Heimishe offices looking for heimishe salesladies. Why couldn’t they just say Chassidish- is that not politically correct or did they want to include all of the other people who aren’t chassidish but are still ultra orthodox?

My first Monsey in shabbos I stayed by a family that considered themselves Heimishe- I asked what that meant. They told me that they have Chassidic minhagim (traditions) but they have a yeshivish lifestyle- which means they go to college and read secular books and go to yeshivish yeshivas. They happened to be very warm and homely- but its not the general rule.

I know that Heimishe in BP will give us a good explanation of what its supposed to mean- but obviously it isn’t being used for what its supposed to be used for. Even frum punk tried to figure out the meaning and couldn’t.

Whenever I hear the word heimishe to describe something I actually think the opposite, I think low quality, ghetto and unfriendly unless you fit the look- which is bad because the term has been bastardized similar to the term Liberalism which was the original philosophy of the group we now call Republicans, how on earth did heimishe come to mean the complete opposite for me.

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