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The Amish and Hasidic Religious Systems

The Amish and Hasidic religious systems have much in common. Both are pietistic spiritual movements. Both eschew secularization and favor separation of their communities from the outside world. And both religions were founded about three hundred years ago. A shortcoming of the way of life of the Amish and Hasidim, however, is their subordination of women and their restrictions on education.

The Amish Church resulted from dissension within the Mennonite religious sect of Europe. The principle point of disagreement that caused the rift was the interpretation of the "Meidung," the practice of shunning or avoiding a member of the church who had broken a rule. The Mennonites interpreted Meidung as merely excluding the banned person from the communion table. Jakob Ammann, insisted that Meidung meant shunning the banned person at every occasion (even family gatherings) until the person repented and had been forgiven. The controversy over Meidung widened and Ammann's followers, known as the Amish, were as stubborn and inflexible as Ammann himself, which led to the inevitable split: "Ammann privately confronted those who were erring and asked them to mend their ways. When they refused admonition he . . . was forced to excommunicate those who would not reform."

The first Amish came to the United States during the 1720s, joining a wave of German migration. The Amish mostly settled in the Midwest (particularly Ohio and Pennsylvania), creating cultural islands with a common language and philosophy. The Lancaster County Amish of Pennsylvania, with their lucrative agri-businesses and cottage industries, are among the most prosperous Amish in the nation.

Like the Amish, Hasidic Jews are concentrated in a few areas of the country. About 15,000 Lubavitcher Hasidim live in Brooklyn, New York. Another community of Hasidim has been established in upstate New York. A Hasidim community also exists in Israel.

Hasidism has...

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The Amish and Hasidic Religious Systems. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:33, November 30, 2021, from