Friday, December 5, 2008

Space Time Continuum

In my new Nextbook column, I rave about the Hasidic POWER ROCK band Yood, the Middle Eastern dance-pop band Electro Morocco, and ZZ Top shout-outs on The Simpsons:

There’s a strange phenomenon among people who become Orthodox—they seem to enter a time warp. Their clothes, their colloquialisms, even their musical choices become frozen in a single moment, like Rip Van Winkle or Doc Brown in Back to the Future. Every time they talk about bands or movies or commercial jingles, they're back at the moment they stepped into their proverbial DeLorean.

Eliezer Blumen is one of those people. He’s been living as a Hasidic Jew for the past twenty years, and to the casual eye he’s a standard-issue Hasid: white shirt, bushy beard, well-worn hat. The trademark vest he wears (more Montana mountain man than Boro Park shtetl-fabulous) hints at something less ordinary, but it’s barely noticeable—lots of Hasidim have their dress quirks, a bright-colored scarf or the occasional pair of rainbow-striped socks.

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