Izzy Posen Profile picture
Culturally chassidic philosopher. Yiddish researcher/interpreter/translator. Maths and physics tutor. No dogmas. Sometimes wrong.
Jul 19 15 tweets 3 min read
Yesterday I finally had my graduation ceremony for my Master's of Science, in Physics and Philosophy, from the University of Bristol.
#BristolGrad I knew little about the world growing up. I remember having a discussion at the age of 17 with a close friend of mine - one of the brightest boys of the class - and he didn't know that earth was round, rather than flat. I had to go and study physics to know the world I live in.
Jun 16 16 tweets 3 min read
That's my grandfather, my zeidy, the one leading the prayers against government interference in charedi education. His grandson, myself, took his education in his own hands and got himself a stellar secular higher education. Zeidy hasn't spoken with me for 7 years The protest is in response to the Bill introduced by the UK government which will make it easier to regulate Yeshivas. Currently Yeshivas are unregulated and they teach no secular education for boys above the age of 13
Jun 1 18 tweets 4 min read
The UK government is introducing new legislation to make it easier to regulate educational institutions outside of the mainstream school framework. This will have massive implications for charedi yeshivas and the charedi establishment is freaking out. A thread: 🧵 Yeshivas are where charedi boys go between the ages of 13 and marriage (usually 18-20). They teach exclusively talmudic and rabbinical subjects and no secular education whatsoever. For chassidic communities, this is considered a fundamental matter of faith. 2/n
Feb 18 32 tweets 7 min read
Yesterday I expressed my pain about being estranged from family for leaving orthodoxy. It reached a wide audience and garnered a large response. So here I want to expand a bit on the issues raised.

It's my birthday today, so be extra nice - but don't withhold fair critique. Firstly, thanks so much for the outpouring of sympathy and well wishes. I really felt that people believe my pain and agree that what was done to me was not right. Thank you!
Feb 17 7 tweets 2 min read
This week's front page of the charedi @Mishpacha_M magazine. For too long it has been accepted in charedi society to kick out non-religious kids from home and cut them off from family. This rabbi says: "Shame? To estrange a child that you gave given birth to is far moreshaneful!" Image When I lost my faith 7 years ago I begged my family not to estrange me and that I'd respect their sensitivities and will not break any religious laws around them. That didn't help and the advice of the rabbis was to kick me out and ban me from talking to my siblings.
Jan 9 46 tweets 10 min read
There has been a bit of a discussion about Yiddish in the community recently, so it's time for a thread on the subject. Buckle up! THREAD: Yiddish - a historical overview and contemporary use.

Preamble: I'm a native speaker of chassidic Yiddish (more below) and a chassidic Yiddish researcher. I work on the first and only research group in the world dedicated to the study of chassidic Yiddish: @HasidicU. 1/
Jan 7 7 tweets 1 min read
Chassidic Jews don't learn Torah on Christmas (in Yiddish: Nittle). As many chassidim heil from Orthodox Christian countries, many observe this practice on the 7th of January, the Orthodox Christmas. 1/ Chassidic boys are expected to dedicate every hour of the day to prayer and Torah study. For many, Nittle is the only day in the year that they can do other things, such as play board games (pictured). The reason for this practice is given as follows: 2/
Dec 30, 2021 25 tweets 8 min read
If you've been living under a rock, see a summary of the tragic events of this week in the thread attached. In this thread we'll try to understand what happened since and why they unfolded in the way they did. /1
No community is immune from bad actors who will exploit the circumstances for their own harmful desires. But the way in which it happens in a given community is unique. In charedi society there are unique factors that shape how abuse happens and is dealt with. /2
Dec 27, 2021 11 tweets 4 min read
Master charedi educationalist and children's author commits suicide following numerous sexual abuse allegations: a concise THREAD 👇 Image Chaim Valder was a towering figure in the charedi education scene. Few charedi child haven't heard his name. We will grew up on his books, which spoke to us about the struggles of childhood and the dangers of the world. One of his stories is about being aware of predators. Image
Dec 16, 2021 22 tweets 6 min read
Male chassidic garb, a THREAD, part II: 👇👇

In part I we looked at general features of male chassidic garb. You can read that thread here:

In this part we'll be taking a deep dive into the specific items of clothing. Buckle up! /1 Image 1. Let's start with underwear. Yep, there is chassidic underwear. It is called גאטשעס\גאטקעס, gatshes/gatkes. It is white and airy and long. Why? So that it shouldn't press or rub onto your penis and cause erection or arousal. /2 Image
Dec 16, 2021 26 tweets 6 min read
I'm on the train to Beautiful Bristol for the first time since graduating in July. I'm so excited! Ain't no Omicron getting in my way.

And I have a treat for you! I will use my time on the train to put together a comprehensive thread on chassidic male garb, pics n' all! Image Chassidic male garb, a THREAD: 👇👇👇

Chassidic male garb is very unique and beautiful, a product of centuries of history and cultural evolution. This comprehensive thread is an introduction to everything you wanted to know or ask about male chassidic garb. /1 Image
Dec 12, 2021 20 tweets 5 min read
What's life like after leaving one of the most insular and religiously-controlling communities in the West?
#ThisOTDLife: a THREAD 👇👇

Pics: me in 2015 vs me now. The Chassidic community is one of the most insular and fundamentalist religious communities in the West. I use those terms descriptively, not judgmentally. It has a unique, rich and beautiful culture and family life, with charitable social services to be envious of. /2
Dec 9, 2021 11 tweets 3 min read
I just spent three full days in family court (through video conference) interpreting between Yiddish/Hebrew and English. Below is a short THREAD with some insights and things I've noticed: 👇👇 2/ First a note on language: chassidic language is strongly gendered. Men speak mainly Yiddish and read/write a lot in Hebrew*. English is often used in business. Women use mainly English for talking, reading and writing. They understand Yiddish but not Hebrew (generalisation).
Dec 5, 2021 13 tweets 4 min read
THREAD: who am I? I've received a lot of new followers lately. Let me present myself:

1/ I grew up in the Satmar, chassidic community in Stamford Hill London to a rabbinic and moderately elite family. I lost my faith in its worldview at the age of 20 and left/was cast out. 2/ I made it to university to study Physics and Philosophy and graduated with a master's in these subjects this past summer. I've been studying Yiddish and chassidic culture for some years now. I have written a lot on my blog: journeyerblog.wordpress.com/category/judai…
Dec 5, 2021 13 tweets 4 min read
META THREAD: all my important threads on chassidic culture in one place:
1a. Thread on the significance of this moment in the evolution of chassidic culture; what to expect from my commentating.
1b. That same thrwadbur in blog format through the @threadreaderapp :

Dec 4, 2021 34 tweets 8 min read
Here's the thing. For the first time in forever the chassidic culture has a solid presence online. Do you guys understand how huge this is? The western world is about to get an intimate glimpse into one of the most secretive and insular cultures to ever exist in its midth. Here is what we're gonna do. I will use my intimate knowledge of this community (I grew up at the very centre and in the elite of this community and lived there for 20 years) to comment live on the things happening in the community that make it online.
Dec 3, 2021 9 tweets 6 min read
@BrisFreeSpeech was due to host an event with Steven Greer who faced a concerted and bad faith campiagn of spurious allegations of Islamophobia.
I wrote more about this in this thread: . The event was cancelled last minute due to pressure from uni authorities without any regard for the committee that worked so hard to put it together and for @BristolUni students who deserve answers to what one of their lecturers were put through.
Dec 2, 2021 8 tweets 3 min read
@hd41321508 Busy day at work. Hope to finish another time @hd41321508 We literally weren't allowed to read ANYTHING printed, produced, written by pretty much anyone outside of our tiny world (0.5-1 million people out of 7 billion). Yes, some read, but officially you're not allowed and depending on family/friends, can have serious consequences.
Dec 1, 2021 25 tweets 6 min read
THREAD: freedom of expression and censorship in the chassidic community compared to the current climate in wider society.
⬇️⬇️⬇️ 2/
In the last few years I have been incredibly passionate about, and active in, the free speech movement. In my first year at uni I founded @BrisFreeSpeech and later I was amongst the founding members of @speechchampions.
Nov 29, 2021 38 tweets 10 min read
Thread: chassidic art and culture is undergoing a renaissance phase.

I have been claiming for a while that chassidic culture is in the early stages of a renaissance phase. This idea has been critiqued, recently by @Shmarya. In this thread I aim to back up my claim. 2/n
First a bit of history (necessarily oversimplified). Traditional Jewish communities in Europe encountered the enlightenment in the late 18th century, birthing the haskallah movement. This spread to all of Jewish Europe over the next century and a half, up to the holocaust.
Nov 28, 2021 70 tweets 20 min read
Thread: contemporary chassidic culture online.
In this thread I'll list some of my favourite personalities in contemporary chassidic culture, that you can follow online. This is not an exhasutive list, just some of my favourites.
First some myth-busting: 2/n
Myth: chassidic culture is primitive and stuck in pre-modern times.
Fact: actually chassidic culture forms a highly sophisticated and advanced civilisation, rich in literature and musical expression, adept in technology and business.