by Stephanie Wellen Levine

Miniskirts and the Messiah

 Real Hasidic Girls 

Stephanie Wellen Levine recently spent a full year living with Hasidic girls in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She entered female lives rigidly circumscribed both by Jewish law and the social customs of a tightly knit movement; using the methods of Carol Gilligan and other gender experts, she observed their struggles and their strengths. The girls she interviewed, aged 13 to 23 (“in this community all single females are girls,” she notes) surprised her with their vibrancy and—despite the strictures—with their originality. Here we meet Malkie Belfer (not her real name), forthright and independent.

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