Brandler Institute of Chasidic Thought <bict@...>
Ms. Wynne has made some very accurate and to the point remarks regarding the
feasibility of finding specifich Chasidic affiliations without a family
tradition. In many towns there would be quite a few groups represented.
Often even the "headquarters" of a group would have followers of other
groups living in the town. Followers of a group can be found in towns
surprisingly far >from the Rebbe's place of residence.
Perhaps Genners trying to understand their Chasidic roots should try to
learn about Chasidism in general - as all these groups had much more in
common than they differed. There are very common "threads" through all
Ukrainian - Galician groups, and the same for "Polish-Galician" groups,
anyone interested in the variety of programs vailable through the "Brandler
Institute of Chasidic Thought" should please contact us privately via email
or phone (718) 435-0341.
However with all due respect to Ms. Wynne, whose knowledge and activities on
behalf of JewishGen has earned the gratitude of us all, her statement
"matches for marriages among the Chassidim were almost always made within
the religious community" - is incorrect. It is true that they would marry
"Religous" Jews, but certainly not necessarily >from the same group. I have
personally document numerous marriageswhere the bride was >from one group and
the groom >from another. Less often but still not unusual was Chasidim
Her next statement "except, perhaps, when the children or grandchildren of
two Rebbes were matched in order to solidify a religio-political alliance."
is not only untrue but can easily be misunderstood (I am certain that this
was not her intention) to be very offensive. Tis is not a game of "Risk" -
it is not about making "alliances" to "conquer".
As a descendant of many of these Chasidic Rebbes through these marriages,
and having researched this field for more then a decade, I can assure you
that the marriages between two grouos had (in the vast majority of the time)
nothing to do with forming or solidifying a "religio-political alliance".
Marriages between different Rebbes are commonplace to this very day - for
the simple reason that they are very compatible to each other and have very
simialer and very public lifestyles. As a son of a Rebbe (Kopyczynitz) who
married the grandaughter off another (Chernobel) I can assure you - it has
nothing to due with a "religio-political alliance".
In addition, I would like to acknowledge the many inquiries and messages I
received in response to my messages. I will try to respond to all
individually as time allows. At this time I am the only (part time)
volunteer working on the emails at the Brandler Institute. (All the other
volunteers are working on other projects underway and we have no paid staff)
we are hoping to raise funds to hire someone or to find some volunteers with
expertise in this area. Our published data is limited, most answers require
networking with our varous contacts in the Chasidic community. Please keep
your inquiries coming - but please understand the delay in responding.
Also, a couple of months ago we had a computer breakdown and "lost" many
messages, those of you who have not received any response - please send them