‘Sects and the City': The Amish Take Manhattan

I was tickled to read of this exchange between Lancaster County Amish and New York City’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. I have deep affection for both of these groups of hat-wearing beardos.

First, because my paternal grandfather was Amish as a boy–his family later backslid to become Mennonites, as I am today. No I do not drive a buggy–that’s the whole point. But I do drive a black bumper car. (But only because that was the color of the best-priced used VW Jetta diesel, purchased to run on biodiesel. My previous diesel was a butter yellow ‘83 Mercedes with worldly chrome bumpers that must have had my Amish ancestors spinning in their graves.)

The second reason this story caught my eye was because my all-time favorite and always-reliable photo gear and supply catalog has been B&H, operated by Hasidic Jews in Manhattan. They consistently have the best prices of non-scammers–often better than many of the Hong Kong-based sellers on Ebay. Plus, superfast shipping. The only wrinkle is that they close for sabbath and Jewish holidays, so the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 I just ordered won’t ship until after Passover. But with their service and reliability, I’m not complaining. One of these days I’ll do a post on other trusted retailers–a constant source of late-night Google searches when I’m agonizing over whether that Ebay seller or cut-rate site is too good to be true. It usually is.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Simpsons episode where the visit Capitol City and drive by some Hasidic Jews:

Bart: Look, it’s ZZ Top! [leans out the window and shouts] You guys rock!

Hasidic Jew: Eh, maybe a little…

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