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Stuff Jewish Hippies Like

Only people who don’t really know any hippies would ever try to call me such, yes I like the Dead, I listen to jam bands, I take long road trips, drink craft beer and enjoy smoking a bowl once in a while, but I am hardly a hippie – I can’t stand 2 hour long havdallahs, hate those nannach guys and quite frankly I prefer girls with shaved arm pits. The hippie movement is growing every day, half of the secular kids who frum out in Israel go through that hippie phase and there are loads of stereotypes we can place on hippie Jews.

Shlomo Carlebach: You would think by listening to Jewish hippie’s sing that there were no other niggun makers besides for Carlebach. He is much loved, many Jewish hippies like to use his “holy brother and holy sister” phrases to welcome people and many older hippie Jews remember the days when his House of Love and Prayer was the top scene in the Haight in San Francisco.

Long Ass Havdallah: In yeshiva we were the exact opposite as the hippies, we would all gather round the candle and the person saying it would start in the middle, skipping the first half. Jewish hippies always do really long havdallah’s, maybe because many of them don;t really keep anything all week and they are sad that this is the last thing until the next havdallah or maybe it’s because any excuse to whip out the guitar and drums is a good excuse. Now I admit that sometimes it’s kind of cool, the music, the vibe and the dancing – but to me it’s not havdallah, it’s just one long dance surrounded by an assured bracha livatalla.

Techeles: Every Jewish hippie needs to wear techeles tzitzis, they spend an extra amount on them and no one seems to know what on earth a chilazon is anyway – so in my mind it’s one big scam on those who are too doped up to realize that tzitzis shouldn’t cost 80 bucks.

Wearing white on shabbos: I know someone who was such a gung ho hippied out purist that he bought a white streimel, white is pure and on shabbos we’re supposed to be pure, so everybody needs to wear white – I have no idea how they eat like hippies if they’re wearing white. Cholent stains suck and you can’t exactly get them out without breaking shabbos.

Hand Kissing: They love to shake your hand and then kiss their hand, I’m guessing that it when the first neo-chassidic hippie Jew did it he wasn’t thinking of immunization – but it seems that could be the only reason to do such a stupid thing.

Rav Nachman: I have actually met a couple of real Bresslovers in my life, they absolutely hate the nannach guys, the hippie folks who claim to be bresslov and those cracked out yeshiva guys who feel the need to wear a nannach yarmulke on purim. Rav Nachman is loved by all hippie Jews, he is quoted often and everyone seems to know a lot of stories about him – even though almost every story I have heard about him seemed to parallel similar stories about the Baal Shem Tov.

Gematria: Chabadnicks and hippies are the only ones who use number games to tell silly devar torahs, I personally hate gematria – mostly because no one ever bothers to check it because they place so much trust in the peyos swinging punk rocker that keeps saying “this is such a beautiful peice of Torah” as he sways with his eyes closed.

Random Clapping: I know all about the point in kabalas shabbos where even non-hippies clap, but I have been at weekday davening when some hippie Jew decides that in the middle of his silent amidah he should start clapping as if he were giving a standing ovation to Leonard Cohen or something.

Peyos: There are quite a few hippie Jews who have peyos, but don’t look like the types. Hippie Jews also tend to force their poor unsuspecting children to grow wild un-groomed peyos who then proceed to get their scalps ripped off when they get too curious about an escalator. I admit, peyos are kind of cool, especially when some super lefty who doesn’t keep kosher and has lots of tattoos happens to have some gnarly peyos.

Big colorful yarmulkes: You can’t really be a hippie unless your yarmulke doesn’t cover your entire head, if you have dreads your excused from this rule, but most hippies have large knitted or crocheted yarmulkes.

Tzfat: Need I really explain this?

Kaballah: They are in love with the mystics and are really into kabballah art. Kind of like the same way that regular sort of hippies love Escher, Jewish hippies need some of cheap colorful lithograph of the 10 sefirot on their walls.

The Moshav: Not to be confused with the Moshav Band who gets their name from Moshav Moddiin – kind of like the tiny drop more religious and more mainstream, still in existence House of Love and Prayer in Israel. I spent succos there once a a really cute short mans house and ate by someone who felt the need to decorate their walls with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix pictures.

Rav Kook: The first modern day chief rabbi of Israel and a pretty trippy dude who dealt with a lot of metaphysical and kabbalistic stuff that hippies tend to like.

Adamah: Almost every girl I have been set up with in the past few years has been an adamanick at some point in their lives. A program that takes upper middle class Jewish young adults and teaches them about organic farming, sustainable practices and other liberal Jewish hippie stuff like trying to figure out how to make kosher food ethical and constantly talking about the horrors of the kosher meat industry.

Hazon: I had no idea that there was any Jewish food movement, but Hazon claims there was because they are the creators of the New Jewish Food Movement, which is trying to force the organic and green scam on all of us Jews by showing us that it’s unethical and unkosher to eat the way we do. Eco-Kasharut is cool, but being told by a bunch of hippies who probably don’t keep kosher, to add another layer of supervision onto an already high prices item is a bit unrealistic – but upper middle class Jewish hippies from Long Island don’t have to figure out how to afford kosher meat do they?

Challah that sucks: I have sat at dozens of hippie shabbos tables in my day and have tasted the worst challah at many of these tables. I find that hippies think that if it has loads of seeds and indigestible grains inside they love it – I’m a realist – challah should be edible and I’m on the fence as to whether it should have flax and sprouted wheat berries inside of it.

Marijuana Mesorah: Way before my old classmate published cannibus chassidus, there were Jewish hippies trying to tell me that the Baal Shem Tov smoked a pipe before shachris and that this must have contained weed – of course they failed to realize that the baal shem tov lived in a time where there were no corner hydroponic stores and certainly no grow lamps – I highly doubt those cold Russian winters were good for growing herb. Jewish hippies aren’t the only Jews smoking weed, but they are the only one’s trying to come up with some sort of mesorah about it.

Garden of Emunah: As the name sounds – a Jewish hippie fave, it’s actually one of my car seforim, along with a mini mesilas yeshurim.

Scarves: Both Jewish hippie girls and guys love scarves.

Tapestries: Possibly the key into realizing you are in a hippie home is when they have tapestries or old table cloths as doors and decorations, they also have them in the succah.

Custom Matzah: Go to a hippie home for pesach and I have no doubt in my mind that they will have sort of custom ordered matzah that’s gluten free or brown.

Chassidut: You can never say chassidus, no one would have any idea what youre talking about.

Non-hechshered hippie food: What could be wrong with the almond butter, kale chips or honey that we are passing around. I think there is a general lack of kashrus knowledge amongst hippie Jews.

Eilat Chayim: Talked about frequently amongst hippie Jews, though I still have no idea what it is I do know that it used to be near Minnewaska State Park in the Hudson valley.

Reb Zalman: Possibly one of the only apikorsum alive, he was a student of the fredike (previous Lubavitcher) rebbe and went on to found Renewal Judaism. Hippies love this guy and they flock to Boulder, Colorado to be near him.

Strange colored talesim: I used to think that folks wearing a talis with colored stripes was progressive and then I started seeing talesim made out of flannel, blue jeans and khaki.

Bat Ayin: Any frum Jewish hippie worth their weight in salt should have went here for yeshiva, it was known as being so right wing that anyone who came into the settlement in a German car was liable to have their car destroyed and there was a story about some Arab guy stealing goats who got all his herd slaughtered. I spent a shabbos there and it was darned spiritual junkie hippie.

Nachlaot: The upper west side-like neighborhood for Jewish hippies who move to Israel.

{ 73 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous March 2, 2011, 1:39 AM

    Sounds like have a some negativity towards hippie Jews. Nothing wrong with showing and feeling the love man. Admittedly the real Na-Nachers are crazy, but people who wear Na-Nach Kippahs and who kiss your hand when they shake it, I don’t think they’re crazy at all. I wear a Na-Nach Kippah, I kiss people’s hands when I shake them (And by the way, I don’t think that’s stupid at all. It’s all about the connection and love between you, your fellow Jew, and G-d.) I even wear white on Shabbos, a white Kippah too. I’m a normal Modern-Orthodox guy with a hippie twist having been to Israel. But so? I’m not a crazy guy. I just like to show the love you know? That’s what it’s all about. Sure there are things that Chassidim do that are annoying, but in the end they’re just trying to show love to G-d as best they can. As we all should. xD Love your blog by the way. Much love bro!

    • Yochanan March 2, 2011, 11:17 AM

      Isn’t the hand kissing a Sfardi thing?

    • Yochanan March 2, 2011, 11:36 AM

      I think the clothing of Jewish hippies can be summed up in 2 words: Looking Biblical.

      I was just watching some videos of the Acharit HaYamim Festival on youtube. Some of these guys looked like they just walked off a child’s Parsha sheet.

    • Yochanan March 2, 2011, 11:41 AM

      I think the clothing of Jewish hippies can be summed up in 2 words: Looking Biblical.

      I was just watching some videos of the Acharit HaYamim Festival on youtube. Some of these guys look like they just walked off a child’s Parsha sheet.

    • Anonymous March 2, 2011, 11:42 AM

      I think the clothing of Jewish hippies can be summed up in 2 words: Looking Biblical.

      I was just watching some videos of the Acharit HaYamim Festival on youtube. Some of these guys look like they just walked off a child’s Parsha sheet.

      • Yochanan March 2, 2011, 11:47 AM

        You need to get your comment thing fixed. I meant for the clothing comments to be at the bottom.

  • Yakov March 2, 2011, 2:05 AM

    Now here is a hesh post i can finally associate with.

    Well done dude, you pretty much covered all bases – you should go the extra mile and fill in some details, like fav hangouts (Millinery shul, gan saker, Peekamoose Valley etc)

    • yitz March 2, 2011, 11:02 AM

      yup!!!! wensday nite chill in gan soccer!

  • A. Nuran March 2, 2011, 2:18 AM

    Gematria – With the Law of Large Numbers you can find just about anything if you look long enough. I need to find passages whose Gematriac (is that a word?) values == “No matter how you slice it it’s still baloney”

    Inedible Challah – If it crunches it’s not challah. If it doesn’t tear it’s not challah. The jaws of life don’t count as “tearing”. Neither does a Sawzall

    Matzoh – Whole wheat I can see. Our ancestors probably didn’t have (expensive, hard to find) white flour when they left Egypt. I draw the line well before some of the high-end varieties. “These are the sun-dried tomatoes of affliction which our ancestors packed in extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil” just doesn’t have the same ring.

    Cannabis – It’s been smoked from India through Russia to England for thousands of years. Indisputable evidence (analysis of his pipes) proves Shakespeare liked it. A lot. You can’t grow it year-round, but you can get in a couple crops during if you know what you’re doing. A whole bunch of kashrus issues just fly out the window compared to wine or some liquors. No Pesach problems either.

    Adamah – And what’s wrong with learning how to grow your own food without 2,4-D or Miracle-Gro?

    Rav Nachman stories – They probably tell exactly the same ones about Ahmed R’Rafai and the Zen Patriarchs.

    Mysticism – Watch out Heshy. You’re about two mole whiskers away from being an Old School mystic yourself 😀

    • OfftheDwannaB March 2, 2011, 12:19 PM

      ANuran- you’re a jaded hippy but still a hippy at heart.

      • A. Nuran March 2, 2011, 4:48 PM

        I’m wound way too tight to be a hippie.

        • OfftheDwannaB March 3, 2011, 9:09 AM

          Ah, that’s it! Well, I was close.

  • Noni March 2, 2011, 5:06 AM

    I dated one of these 10 years ago and you covered all the points really well. Oy, all that hand kissing and random clapping and Reb Nachman. Bleh! So glad I left that behind. I would have ended up in Bat Ayin trying to figure out how to tie 5 scarves on my head.

  • CCMSM March 2, 2011, 5:42 AM

    Heshy, you are obviously not a hippie because you are linking to the wrong wikipedia entry for Rav Nachman. You are linking to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rav_Nachman, which is the entry for Rav Nachman from the gemara, the correct link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nachman_of_Breslov

    While I was reading the wikipedia entry for the Rav Nachman from the gemara I saw it say:
    “His marriage with the daughter of the wealthy exilarch enabled him to live in luxury and to entertain scholars and strangers lavishly”

    …and I realized how things haven’t changed much, though if it was these days it would say:

    “His marriage with the daughter of the wealthy exilarch enabled him to live in luxury and to entertain scholars and strangers lavishly, get honored by many charities at their dinners, was on the board of his kids’ schools, win many prizes at chinese auctions and opened a non-profit foundation from which he dispensed his father-in-law’s money to various charities (possibly just in case he was ever found guilty of something, he would have a lot of letter saying how he was very charitable so he would get a smaller jail sentence)”

  • Frumsatire Fan March 2, 2011, 6:15 AM

    Spot on! I’m like you about the gematrias and kabbalas and guitars, but the JHs are one of my favorite type of Jews. Other stuff they like:
    – Retreats (expensive, with lots of meditation and breathing etc.)
    – Shivitis (those elaborate things with God’s name, hanging on the wall), or any house decoration with a Jews of India / Yemenite flavor.

    I heard recently about someone making a sourdough multigrain challah.

    • NOYB April 5, 2011, 11:50 AM

      sourdough multigrain challah! the horrrors! something that some ppl find tasty, and is healthy, too? YUCK!

  • Bridge and Tunnel March 2, 2011, 6:37 AM

    you forgot the bongos. Jewish hippies love bongo playing, bonfires, guitars, weed and beer.

    • Heshy Fried March 2, 2011, 11:55 AM

      figured I had that covered in the havdallah section.

  • Miri March 2, 2011, 6:41 AM

    Upper middle class Jewish hippies exist on Long Island?

  • Adam March 2, 2011, 7:08 AM

    Hilarious, thank you! Nothing like some good stereotyping to elicit a chuckle – and doing it lovingly is an art-form – yasherkoach.

    Seriously though, I thought I would try to clarify the Elat Chayyim question.
    Today Elat Chayyim lives (with the Adamah program you mentioned) at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. We produce transformative Jewish retreats year-round and it’s a great place to be, even satirical yeshivish dudes enjoy it! Producing these retreats is expensive – as you pointed out – but we only pass on a fraction of that cost to participants, and we have a robust financial aid system that we’re very proud of – people come to Isabella Freedman for organizational conferences, spiritual retreats, and farming/food programs from all different economic, political, and religious backgrounds.

    Elat Chayyim was started in the early 1990s by chasids of Reb Zalman to be a Jewish spiritual retreat center devoted to contemplative, ecumenical, artistic, and innovative forms of Jewish thought and practice, building a diverse and thriving community of Jews with open hearts and minds – exactly the kind of place that attracts hippies and other creative, loving, and conscientious categories of folks – and you’re invited too!

  • Mendy March 2, 2011, 7:49 AM

    Hey Hesh, do you know that there is a hippie chabad shul in Crown Heights now? it’s really crazy; a half hour havdallah etc. The worst part about it is the people that go there come from mainstream chabad families.

    • Frumsatire Fan March 2, 2011, 8:33 AM

      Wow! What’s it called? I’d love to check it out!

      • Ben March 2, 2011, 10:05 AM

        I’d like to know as well, so I don’t accidentally stumble into a half hour havdallah next time I’m in CH.

        • Burnt Dreadlocks March 2, 2011, 10:57 AM

          I wouldnt really call it hippie. It is a carlebach style place, great young rabbi. It is called chevra ahavas yisroel, and is located in the Mimulo Flower Shop at 334 Albany Avenue. Check it out, its a great place!

          • moisha May 3, 2011, 8:40 AM

            they’ve since moved to 1349 president st, about 2 blocks away.
            i dont think its a carlebach minyan per se. i believe its a chabad minyan that also sings carlebach tunes.

    • chevramaidel March 21, 2011, 10:44 PM

      No, the worst thing is that they obviously need this shul or they wouldn’t be there in the first place. One girl, I’ll call her Mushky because that probably was her name, told me she never went to shul on Shabbos before going to CAY. She said her favorite part of the school day at Bais Rivkah was davening “because that’s when I got to talk to all my friends”. It’s a beautiful little shul with inspiring davening – and an eight-foot mechitza, in case you need to know. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/chevraahavasyisroel

  • Yankel March 2, 2011, 8:57 AM

    It seems to me that the real hippie mentality has its time in these people’s lives, and from there they either mainstream out or keep the garb but don’t feel the hippie vibes anymore.

    I guess that’s what growing up is all about.

  • Mendy March 2, 2011, 9:48 AM

    It’s called Chevra Ahavas Yisrael. They are also on facebook. There was a huge outcry in the begenning because they have friday night meals in the shul that are mixed, and the havdallah is mixed with singing and guitars.

  • zach March 2, 2011, 10:17 AM

    Excellent post. Except we now DO know that chilazon is murex trunculus with a high degree of confidence. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/world/middleeast/28blue.html?src=twrhp

    • A. Nuran March 3, 2011, 10:04 PM

      Because snails with a low degree of confidence just don’t make as good dye.

      • anonymous March 9, 2011, 10:54 AM


  • anonymous March 2, 2011, 10:28 AM

    Excellent post, Heshy! Bravo!

    Chassidic Neo-Hippies Forever!!!!!!!

  • anonymous March 2, 2011, 10:32 AM

    Wait, is it Chassidic Neo-Hippies or Neo-Chassidic Hippies? In any case, long live those people, whatever their appellation.

  • yitz March 2, 2011, 11:03 AM

    gonna be in tzfat THIS shabbos!!! awsome!!

  • Jacob T March 2, 2011, 11:22 AM

    Since when does honey need a hekhsher?

    • nava h. March 2, 2011, 3:47 PM

      if it isn’t strained properly it’ll have bits of bees in it. (A friend of mine who raises bees explained when we were wondering.) She bottles her own honey, without a hechsher, but when you know the source, etc. Not really a problem.

      • talking stam March 2, 2011, 4:59 PM

        clear honey is kosher, you will be able to see if there are bee parts in it. clear honey does not need a hechsher.

  • OfftheDwannaB March 2, 2011, 11:52 AM

    I like the neo-chassidic hippies. But in doses. Too much of that bullshit can be annoying.
    Great post Heshy!

  • dorot March 2, 2011, 3:23 PM

    So I have been wondering how to read a trend a trend among Reform Jewish rabbis and it is related to your post. Why is it, when Reform rabbis want to delve a little deeper than the general country club Judaism of the suburbs, or when they harbor warm feelings for reconstructionist renewal, they inevitably don a “big colorful yarmulke.” Are they disguised Jewish hippies?

  • Zan March 2, 2011, 3:55 PM

    Arava Institute! (For left wing hippie Jews)

    Yes, I’m an alum…

  • ghottistyx March 2, 2011, 7:18 PM

    Did you know that Zalman Shachter-Shalomi (“Reb Zalman”) and Shlomo Carlebach (“Rav Shlomo”) were sh’luchim under the Freidiker Rebbe together? Under his effort to do kiruv on college campuses, Zalman and Shlomo would go together, play guitar, sing, and attempt to missionize.

    I’m not sure what precipitated Zalman’s eventual hippying out. Shlomo, I’ve heard mixed things. The books all say that he disagreed with the Rebbe insisting on their events being completely shomer halakha. For example, as soon as they’d say “men on one side, women on the other”, 50% of the room would tune out. As soon as he said “women can’t sing”, he’d lose the rest. The Rebbe wouldn’t let him compromise on things like that, so he left and went about it his own way…I’ve heard through the grapevine that there was also some shidduch date he was set up on that the Rebbe didn’t approve of, it went awry, and he ended up leaving as a result of that…I’m sure there are those who know better than I do.

    Whether or not Zalman and Shlomo remained friends afterwards I’m a bit sketchy on too.

    • S. Tefilinov March 5, 2011, 9:32 PM

      “Reb” Zalman promoted certain drugs. The Rebbe politely told him to leave. But it’s interesting how someone with so much torah knowledge would justify his abandonment of Orthodoxy.

    • chevramaidel March 21, 2011, 10:52 PM

      They always remained friends, and occasionally taught together at retreats (see “Retreats”, in Heshy’s article). I never saw Zalman outside of events with R’Shlomo; word was that he got somewhat more “creative” when it came to Shabbos observance, etc. but I never saw him do that around Shlomo.

  • ipitythefoo March 2, 2011, 10:41 PM

    This post really made me think of a conversation I had with a shadchun who clearly didnt know me too well. She kept saying things like “You seem like your looking for a really normal-type guy…” All I could muster in response was “No, I’m more of a dirty hippy…”

    Listen, its been said, but truth is that I can’t even help but love Klal Yisrael. You can make jokes, but I really do think that we are all holy brothers and sisters to our Father in heaven. People are still singing the niggunim and telling the stories and loving each other as a result of the purity and drive with which Reb Shlomo AND all the Chassidic Rebbes approached reaching out to us.

    It all comes down to having the balls to wear your heart on your sleeve, or your dreds or your tchelis or your Rebbe Nachman kippah OR even your three piece suit. If you bare your neshamah to a fellow Jew, he may or may not accept you and he may laugh BUT you will make an indelible mark.

    Power to the people unafraid to be who they are.

  • hebrewgirl March 3, 2011, 8:48 AM

    Uh-oh. Scarves: too many to count. Almond butter: yes. Sound track: The Hebrew hippie from Hibbing. But I don’t clap or inhale.

  • Ilana March 3, 2011, 5:19 PM

    Well, I guess I know where I’d fit in XD

  • Chana March 3, 2011, 7:43 PM

    coming from Denver Colorado, i always relished the visits my family had up in boulder. it is not only jewish hippies biking around up there. really everyone who i have seen up in Boulder is high on something. we like to think it is the altitude.

    but seriously, there was a guy who i had seen in denver a few different shabbosos, and i honestly had no idea what to make of him. he looked exactly as described in the post- all white, long hair and beard, glassy eyes, always carrying a book. . .
    i learned a valuable lesson in being dan l’kaf zechus- this guy is really sincere in serving G-d and truly is a very spiritual person. i wish i could reach a level with such purity and zealousness for torah and mitzvos.

  • Yochanan March 4, 2011, 8:45 AM


    Know how you always complain about BTs becoming boring people who give up all the interesting and parve stuff they did back pre-Tshuva?

    Well hippie BTs are the exception to the rule.

  • Israelit March 6, 2011, 10:07 AM

    Na-na-Nachlaot pride! Don’t forget all the women who wear like 8 layers of hippie clothes so they can wear all kinds of un-tznius sleeveless shirts and dresses with some other more tznius shirt underneath to look cute and tznius at the same time.

  • Judith Margolis March 6, 2011, 4:04 PM

    Uhmm I wonder why you seem so pissed off. You sound OUTRAGED by the clothing, food and religious preferences of some people, yet describe the details as if they are evidence of wrong doing rather than life style choices. What’s with the ANGER? If people like things the way they like it, why should it bug you so much? You need, perhaps, a toke yourself. Chill bro, you’ll live longer.
    Fact correction: The House of Love and Prayer (which was originally on Arguello Street) settled in the Sunset not the Haight.

  • DK March 8, 2011, 7:40 AM

    …You’re a snob. In your world, most jews in the world wouldn’t be considered jews. Good luck with that.

  • Nili March 9, 2011, 12:01 PM

    Don’t forget the Teva Learning Center. While *I* would never use the term Jewish hippies for our community of educators, we have been proudly teaching mainstream day school kids about Rav Kook, Reb Nachman, Shlomo, vegetarianism, and energy efficiency for sixteen years now. We wear our share of scarves and enjoy long-ass havdallas, too.

  • Alfred Rosenberg October 27, 2014, 10:37 AM

    English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?

  • TG November 3, 2014, 3:35 AM

    word, word, word. they are so screwed up. what they practice is not judaism in the slightest. of course this post pisses most people off, but it is so spot-on. except you forgot matisyahu.

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