If you intend to be out and about in New York City this weekend, you MAY run into some of what many people called “Hasidic Jews.” You’ll recognize these creatures by their ubiquitous black hats, beards, and forelocks. When you see them, you may freeze, unaware how to act among these strange individuals. Never fear! Gothamist has you covered:
[The] Jews have also survived under such difficult circumstances by getting along well with their neighbors, treating them fairly in business, and establishing mutually rewarding personal relationships. Sure, it may take more time for you to make your first Orthodox pal, but if Shmuley Boteach and Cory Booker can be best friends, you can probably get to at least a first name basis with your local Kosher butcher. Try starting with a friendly “Hello! How is the chicken liver today?”
No, but seriously, read the link. It’s actually a pretty thoughtful dive into the history of Orthodox Jews in New York.
In this interview in the Forward, those Hasidic guys who bug people on the streets of New York asking if they’re Jewish explain how they know who’s Jewish and who’s not:
First, said Yisroel, “we call it ‘racial profiling.’ Who looks Jewish?” (When asked to clarify later, Yisroel says it’s not about the nose — a “broad, clear forehead with no creases” indicates a non-Jew, while Jews’ foreheads are sometimes lined.) Next is detecting a subtle vibe of recognition, a process that Levi calls “bageling.” Third is playing the statistics game. One out of every five people in New York City are Jewish, said Yisroel. If you exclude African Americans and Asians, your odds are closer to one in three.
I’m not sure what “bageling” is, but I claim to have a very highly-attuned Jewdar. Mostly, if a girl is wearing long sleeves under a short sleeve shirt in the summer, or a group of non-athletic guys is wearing baseball caps, they’re probably Jewish. Or, if a guy looks anything like me, he’s probably Jewish.