A Documentary About the Hasidic Jews of Brooklyn

Traveling filmmaker Drew Binsky made a thoughtful documentary about the Hasidic Jewish community in the New York City neighborhood of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

From the outside, this community appears closed off to outsiders. Yet despite these differences, Binksy found, with the help of trans activist Abby Stein, who grew up Hasid in South Williamsburg and became a rabbi, and Shloime Zionce, a fellow traveler, that this community is more welcoming than he thought.

In this 47-minute documentary, I embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of the Hasidics behind closed doors, and discover what makes their lifestyles so incredibly unique. Guided in the beginning by my friend Abby Stein, a former Hasidic rabbi who is now a transgender author, I gain a fascinating insight into Hasidic life and customs from her perspective…

Binsky, who grew up in Arizona, had always been interested in learning about Brooklyn’s Jewish communities.

As someone who grew up Jewish in Arizona, I’ve always been fascinated by the Hasidic Jews of Brooklyn, New York. …This story is really fascinating and I’m really proud of how it came out. From the traditional clothing, music, and food to the strict gender roles and controversies surrounding the community, this documentary dives deep into every aspect of Hasidic life with a balanced portrayal of the good and the bad.

Binsky was also invited to a Shabbat dinner at Zoince’s home.

I meet with Shalom Zoince, a fellow traveler and YouTuber who opens the doors to his home so I could document a traditional Shabbat dinner with his family. With the permission of a rabbi, we capture the essence of this essential weekly ritual and the warmth and hospitality of the Hasidic people.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.