US/World News

Oprah’s Next Chapter: Chasidim

Oprah Winfrey sharing a traditional Jewish meal with the Ginsberg family. Photo credit: © 2011 Harpo, Inc./George Burns

In two episodes that, according to a press release, lifts the veil on “one of America’s most tight-knit and mysterious cultures,” talk show diva Oprah Winfrey dons a demure outfit and visits the Chasidic communities of Brooklyn, N.Y. for a series that will air on the OWN network on Sunday, Feb. 12 (9 – 10 p.m.) and Monday, Feb. 13 (10 – 11 p.m.).
Oprah visits Chasidic Jewish communities in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park and Crown Heights, where she sits down to a meal with a family of twelve, meets one of the few black Chasidic Jewish families in the country, and conducts a roundtable discussion with four Chasidic mothers and wives, and gets a tour of a mikveh.
She admits to finding Chasidic men “intimidating” and to believing that theirs is a patriarchal community in which women do as they are told.  But that was before she stopped by for a visit.
It isn’t easy, but even Oprah can be left dumbfounded.  And there was one fact of Chasidic life that did just that (almost, anyway).  It happened when the entire Ginsberg family answered an emphatic “no” to one of her questions, even when she re-stated it several times: Asked the doyenne of daytime TV: “You have never watched television in your entire life?!”

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