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This Photographer Showcases Joy In Hasidim That The Media Misses

We stumbled upon Ruchy Lebovits’s Instagram account – @ruchyl_photography – by happy accident. After scrolling through her page, we knew we had to talk with her and introduce our followers to her and her platform.

What is unique about her photography portfolio? There are many family photographers in the world, but Ruchy has carved out a special niche of family photography: one that expresses Chasidic joy.

Upon making aliyah from Monsey about nine years ago, Ruchy was awe-struck by the diversity and beauty of Jewishness in Israel – particularly in the Chasidic community. As an artist with a camera, Ruchy’s portfolio is full of family portraits of Chasidic Jews: each subject is smiling, joy radiating from their faces.

Unfortunately, this is an unusual perspective in the world. Most pictures of Chasidim that are publicized are shot by non-Jews or non-observant Jews who see Chasidic Jews through a colonial lens – that they are poor, backwards people who need fixing. There is rarely a smile to be found with Chasidim on TV and movies. “It’s always cringe-worthy to see how negatively the photographers portray Chasidim,” Ruchy says. “There’s so much love and acceptance and beauty out there. It’s insulting and antisemitic in what they portray Chasidim to be.”

Ruchy seeks to change those perceptions through her artwork, with Instagram as her platform for showcasing Chasidic families and the happiness that permeates their lives. 

If a Chasid can be defined as having a strong connection to the essence of Judaism rather than the external, these photos prove the beauty of this idea over and over again. The soul shines through in these photos – whether the subject or subjects are children or adults – and we can see the appreciation for that in Ruchy’s eyes and camera.

Each photo is even more than they appear. Ruchy says that she can describe each family uniquely, and that there are anecdotes that permeate each shoot to the final product. Below, enjoy a small sample of Ruchy’s portfolio, and feel comforted and proud, as we do, to be part of the same Jewish mishpacha.

 

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  • Avatar photo Nancy Thaler says on December 14, 2022

    If Jews had excommunication like the Catholics, Julia Haart would qualify for it by promoting antisemitism and falsehoods about her PERSONAL journey!! But no, a Jew us a Jew no matter what. Good, bad or indifferent,
    we keep hurtful people in our tribe.

    I am neither Orthodox or Hasidic, but a conservative proud, concerned, G-d loving Jew and it hurts me very much to see Jews portray Jewish life in such a negative way. I have first cousins who are strict Orthodox Jews and I marvel and admire them so much for maintaining a life that they truly believe in. When I go there, they welcome me with open arms even though I do not follow in their footsteps. I see a united and happy household with no TV and kids (many) playing harmless games and parents who are honored and cared for.
    Do you read any negative stories about the Amish or calling them a cult?? It’s pure antisemitism as far as I’m concerned and Julia Haart and her ilk and the NYT need to mind their own business.

    Nothing is perfect…let’s get that straight. Leave these families alone and let them practice whatever they choose to do. This is the USA isn’t it??? Where we can practice any religion we choose

    The fact remains that unhappy people in their family can leave and live any type of life they choose. As far as I can see, not that many leave because they are happy in their lifestyle. They have the freedom to be absorbed into any Jewish group and will accept them with open arms.

    Julia Haart is a misguided and unhappy person period. She is as guilty as any antisemite promoting misinformation and tropes about Jews and should be called out as such.

    Thanks for the articles….enjoy them very much.

    Nancy Thaler

    Reply
  • Avatar photo esther says on January 16, 2023

    Loved every Photo!! very beautiful, thank you for sharing light

    Reply

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