Somehow I missed this a few weeks ago when it was fresh news, but apparently there was a group of Amish people touring Crown Heights.
Rabbi Beryl Epstein, who has been leading tours of Hasidic life since 1982, explained that the visit was intended to give each group a glimpse into the other’s devout culture. He tells the Post, “They don’t have too many places they can visit where they can be reassured their beliefs will be respected. If they go to Times Square, that’s not gonna work.” Yisroel Ber Kaplan of the Chassidic Discovery Center also emphasized the visit’s spirit of tolerance, “It’s reinforcing to the Amish community to see us Jews living the way the Bible says Jews are supposed to live, and have lived since the time of Moses and Abraham. The Amish are also living their lives as the Bible speaks to them.”
After touring a synagogue and a library, the group stopped to eat at Esther’s Deli on Albany Avenue; Jacob Blank, an Amish father of five, deemed the shawarma on laffa “very good.” And before getting back on the bus home, he told the Post what impressed him most: “Watching people cross into the street. People were just walking into traffic.”
Dude, that’s not just the Jews. That’s New York.
If you’re looking for more Amish/Hasidic action, check out this cute little kids book, Amos and Abraham, in which Abraham, a young Jewish boy, becomes friends with Amos, a young Amish boy, during a visit to Amos’ farm. Hijinx ensue, I’m sure.