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Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family Summit Books, New York, 1985

Lis Harris knew precious little about the bearded and black-coated Hasidic men whom she saw on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. For her, they represented a form of Judaism that was far removed from the concerns of everyday life. In a journey both journalistic and spiritual, she entered the world of Hasidic Jewry and grew to understand the inner strength that has allowed this unique community to survive against untold disaster and oppressive odds.


A beloved contemporary classic, Holy Days is a personal account of New York's Hasidic community, its beliefs, its mysteries, and its encounter with secularism in the present age. Combining a historical understanding of the Hasidic movement with a journalist's discerning eye, Harris captures in rich detail the day-to-day life of this traditional and often misunderstood community. Harris chronicles the personal transformation she experienced as she grew closer to largely hidden men and women of the Hasidic world.


Holy Days is a beautiful and moving portrait of the spiritual vibrancy that characterizes the Hasidim and the special relationship to tradition and solidarity that has enabled them to face the challenges posed by modern times. Lis Harris's encounter with the spiritual foundations of the Hasidic way of life not only enlarged her own, but will resonate with Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike.