NEW YORK PRAYS: jewish holidays
This series was shot during September and October religious holidays between Satmar Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Satmar Jews came from the city of Sat Mar on the Hungarian-Rumanian border. The community was started by Holocaust survivors after the war. The Satmar believe that Holocaust was a God punishment for assimilation and Zionism. They believe that the only way to prevent another Holocaust from happening is to develop a very strict lifestyle: any single rule is an extreme interpretation of a Jewish law. They believe that in this way they will peace God and he will have mercy on them.
On September 23rd, many families gathered in different places in Williamsburg were for $8 they "rented" a chicken from a seller and used it to bless all the family. The ritual is called Kapparot and is performed with a live chicken (rooster for men, hen for women). The person swings a live chicken over one's head three times, symbolically transferring one's sins to the animal. The purpose of the sacrifice is for the expiation of the sins of the man and is based on the reconciliation of Isaiah 1:18 in the Hebrew Bible. After the ritual, the family returned the chicken to the seller. The chicken was not sacrificed during the ritual also if in the Jewish tradition the chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor for consumption at the pre-fast meal.
The same day a family donated a new Torah to a local synagogue. People were carrying the sacred book while they were dancing and singing in the streets until they reached the temple.
On October 9th, last day of Sukkot’s religious festivity, Hasidic were gathering at night for the presentation of a new Rabbi in the Satmar dynasty. People waited more than four hours on the streets and after Rabbi’s greeting and speech they began celebrating in the streets.
This series was shot in 2012.