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A neo-Hasidic "Starter Pack"

We put together this “starter pack” (made up of lectures, interviews, and podcasts) as an alternative to solely the written word. It is meant to give a brief overview of what neo-Hasidism is/was/can be and not a comprehensive history. Our hope is that once folks are equipped with this background, they will get more out of Gashmius and can go on to do their own learning. 

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1) Neo Hasidism: Origins and Prospects

Rabbi Arthur Green

In this 2014 lecture at Middlebury College, Rabbi Green maps out a broad, yet comprehensive, outline of the history of neo-Hasidism, starting from 18th century traditional Hasidism, through 20th century Poland, and up until his own theology today. 

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2) Central Concepts in Hasidism

Rav James Jacobson-Maisels

Central to engaging with neo-Hasidism is to learning traditional Hasidic texts. Rav James takes us through three central concepts (pantheism, ayin-dekevus, and avodah b'gashmius) in short snippets that pull from primary sources and give us a taste for Hasidic text study.

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3) Reclaiming The Shekhinah (The Divine Feminine)

Rabbi Kohenet Jill Hammer

Rabbi Kohenet Jill Hammer is a leader in reclaiming and revealing the light of the Divine Feminine (called Shekhinah). This eight part class goes through the history of the feminine in Jewish text and liturgy.

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4) "The Rebbes and Their Modes of Davenning"

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

This video from 1985 shows Reb Zalman praying in the archetypal models of various Hasidic rebbes. This is great to see the diversity of thought among the rebbes, as well as starting to understand the type of experience one can have by tapping into relationship with the Hasidic rebbes.


5) Music in neo-Hasidism

Batya Levine

A central practice in Hasidism is the singing of niggunim, or melodies, that have the potential to put one into altered states of consciousness. Neo-Hasidism picks up on this tradition and boasts extensive library of new composers, such as Batya Levine.

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6) Spontaneous Yiddish Prayer

Rabbi Noam Lerman

This interview explores the practice of tkhines, which were traditionally recited by Ashkenazi women and "men who were like women" (this traditionally meant illiterate men, but Noam Lerman argues that this includes gender non-conforming people). Tkhines is one of the central avenues through which we can learn about the spiritual lives of non-male Hasidim, since most of their lives were not recorded and are therefore integral to a fully egalitarian neo-Hasidism.

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