From our research and observations, the Hasidic Jews of Williamsburg do not interact with those outside of their community with some exceptions.
We inquired them to answer some questions about their community. However, on many occasions, they rejected us. One of the reasons for this was because of a language barrier. The elderly Jewish men knew very little English, barely enough to tell us they did not understand why we wanted to talk to them.
Another reason was they did not have time. One person we tried to interview was feeding birds. Even though he wasn’t going anywhere soon, he stilled declined our interview. We aren’t quite sure if they legitimately do not have time or just don’t want to talk to us.
Like many others have experienced, they seem to look at us strangely since we were outsiders. The Jewish community doesn’t seem to interact with people that aren’t like them. On the streets, one can see the men wearing the same attire and having the same hairstyle and the women wearing the same clothing as well.
In the stores that we peered through, we saw that only Jewish people seemed to go there. We saw a store that only sold the style of clothing the Jewish people wore. On one sidewalk, a man set up books with titles written in what we assumed to be Hebrew. Another business that tailored to the Jewish community was the butcher shop that sold kosher meat.
The only times where it seemed like the Hasidic Jews interacted with people different from them were with their businesses. In the grocery stores, the Jewish employers interacted with their employees who were usually of Latino descent. In a copy store run by a Jewish man, the customers were noticeably non-Jewish such as African American, and Latinos. These businesses tend to be near the edge of the enclave, which would explain the type of customers.
From our observations, we saw that the Hasidic Jews tend to interact among themselves. Only when it is completely necessary, such as running a business, do they interact with people that are non-Jewish. This shows that the Hasidic Jewish community prefers to be keep within their own kind. Even when asking for an interview, they politely declined us even thought they weren’t occupied.