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The Black Orthodox

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Joseph David Savoy
I come from a very dysfunctional family. My dad killed his stepfather and then served four years in prison. I was born in controversy—like in the Bible when Jacob married two sisters, my dad impregnated two sisters. People feel it’s extreme to be Hasidic, but I just think, Are you kidding me? Considering what I was born into, it’s pretty normal. It gives me structure and focus and order. I feel at peace finally after all these years.

I moved to New York in 2007, and in Crown Heights the Jewish community has been wonderful. But from African-Americans, every day I get looks and stares. I’ve had people yell “Heil Hitler.” One guy threatened to stab me. If there are people behind me and I turn around, they’ll literally jump like they’ve seen a ghost.


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