Through this page, we will attempt to draw a conclusion from the observations we have compiled throughout out travels in the Hasidic enclave in Williamsburg.
The small businesses seen in the Hasidic enclaves all play an significant part in the society. The people living in Hasidic enclave do not have to leave their community to find a necessity in life. Every product that a Hasidic family uses, or needs, can be purchased within walking distance. The businesses do not necessarily overlap one another, and so each of the businesses are unique in their own ways. There are many Hasidic supermarkets that are accommodated by bakeries, fish markets, wine stores, and many others. In terms of items that do not deal with the basic necessities of life, there are stores to satisfy their desires. There are technology stores, fashionable clothing lines, insurance firms, law practices, and many more. One thing all these businesses have in common is that they tailor to the Hasidic culture and religion.
NO DEMAND NO SUPPLY
While in the Hasidic community, we encountered many instances where modernization was seen to be budding, however limited. For example at Princess Boutique, we found out that the Hasidic definition for lingerie was casual wear, which was still very reserved. Now we were very surprised because our definition of lingerie is very revealing articles of clothing. They were very adamant that we address the way women in the Hasidic community dress modestly. We found out through this store that they have their own interpretation of modern ideals. They construct their own definition by twisting the common definition to fit their culture and ideals.
Because of the self-sustaining factor of the community, the supply of the goods in stores is based very heavily on its demand. We arrived at this conclusion due to what the employee at Princess Boutique and the storeowner of Midtown said. The employee mentioned, “If Forever 21 expanded into our neighborhood, who would buy it?” The storeowner confirmed by saying, “ Why would I sell violent video games if the only people who are going to play are young kids? Do you think I want to promote violence? In the same manner, why would I sell mainstream music if no one’s going to listen to it? I’m just going to lose out on money.”
ON THE DEFENSE
There were also storeowners who pretty much kicked us out of their stores. At Taubers fashion, the storeowner responded to the question “Would you mind if we asked a few questions?” with a simple, “Yes I would. Please leave. Now.”
We felt offended at first. However, we quickly realized that the people living in this particular enclave were very private and defensive against “outsiders.” This was something that we came to respect and changed our ways of trying to speak to the people in the community.
Our many visits to Williamsburg culminated to a reasonable understanding of the Hasidic enclave. We went into this project with a hypothesis that modernization had not made its entry into the Hasidic enclave. However, we were incorrect to a certain extent. Small businesses have evolved to adjust to modern times. For example, Midtown supplied iPhone cases and Taubers sold the latest perfumes. Despite that, modernization had not completely infused with the Hasidic enclave. The Hasidic people still strongly hold on to their culture and religion, which makes it nearly impossible for modern day influences and businesses to settle in the Hasidic neighborhood. The Hasidic people choose to survive without current trends, which make it difficult to say that modernization has fully infused with their own ideals and practices. In our opinion, we think that a Forever 21 or GameStop will not make way into the community anytime soon. Nonetheless, modernization has made its mark in the enclave, and will steadily make a progress as assimilation continues to occur.