Hassidic Sabbath attire
Late 20th century
The hassidim are a conspicuous example of voluntary segregation. The hassidic movement, founded in eastern Europe in the 18th century, emphasized serving God through joy and considered the tzaddik, or rebbe, to be an intermediary between the community and God. As hassidism spread, numerous courts were set up around tzaddikim. To this day each court has its own distinctive apparel, which serves as a defense against outside influences and helps preserve the traditional way of life. On the Sabbath and festivals hassidim wear a kaftan – a splendid striped coat whose cut and fabric were influenced by the Ottoman coat worn by men in this region.
Coat (Kaftan) and vest
Purchased through the gift of Dr. Ernst Strauss, Zurich
Accession number: B69.0325, B69.0326, B69.0327