The Bobover- full name: Tzanz-Bobov-Kloisenberger- sect of Hasidic Judaism is named for the shtetl (small town) of Bobov in Western Galicia. The first Grand Bobover Rebbe was Chaim Elbershtrom (1797-1876). The current Grand Bobover Rebbe is Rabbi Naftali Halberstam; he inherited this position from his father in 2000. There are currently an estimated 50,000 Bobober Hasidim living in Borough Park, Brooklyn*. There are also Bobover communities in Montreal, Toronto, Miami, London, Antwerp and a number of cities in Israel. Bobover Hasidim can be recognized on sight by a unique tradition of dress. They typically wear white knee socks pulled over their black pants, as opposed to members of other sects, who are allowed to wear their socks under their pants.

The Bobover sect is known for its music. In the early 1960's, Velvel Pasternak's Chassidic Chorale released the two volume album Songs of the Bobover Chasidim, a collection of niggunim (tunes). Another Bobover tradition is the Purimshpiel, an elaborate play (costs currently exceed $10,000 a year) put on for the holiday of Purim. While the Purimshpiel was performed by communities of many sects in pre-war Europe, the Bobovers were the first sect to resume the tradition post-war, in the 1970s. They currently incorporate slapstick, satire, and homily into the production, which takes place at the central Bobover Beis Midrash (house of study) in Borough Park.


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