* * * or Master of the Good Name, performed miracles – that he cured the incurable.
He urged his disciples to develop a personal relationship with God through mystical teachings.
After the Holocaust, the remnants of these communities made their way to the United States, where they began to flourish, exhorted by their leaders to repopulate the Jewish people and to radically separate from the secular world that had caused them so much loss.
Many of these communities are now all but self-sufficient; they have their own ambulances, police forces, businesses and Yiddish-speaking schools They have internal economies based on deluges of charity that cascade from the richest to the poorest.
But two Hasidim married to other people don’t just get a divorce and start a new life together. A rabbi and what’s known as an – is part politician, part good Samaritan, and part busybody.
Together, Joseph’s rabbi and the askan appointed by the community to his case staged an intervention.
According to Jewish law, if Joseph’s wife had not gone to the baths, he was forbidden from touching her, much less having sex with her.
One day Joseph sold a ticket over email to a Hasidic woman planning a family trip. She had an open-mindedness and a brassy confidence that Joseph found intriguing; her curiosity about the world mirrored his own.
A mild flirtation developed when she got her ticket and made a throwaway comment about the airport code listed at the bottom of the itinerary – something most customers never noticed. “I liked her power,” he remembered, and for her part, Dini was drawn to Joseph’s gentleness.
He worked as a travel agent, spending his days arranging flights to far flung places, often for people with more freedom than he could ever dream of.
Like many Hasidim, Joseph (who, like several of the people interviewed for this article, requested that his real name not be used here) married at twenty.