(Chasidism; from Heb. hasid, pious one). Ancient Hasidism was a Jewish movement ca. 200 BC that opposed Hellenization. Medieval Hasidism was a 12th- and 13th-c. Jewish religious movement in Germany led by members of the Kalonymos family (immigrant from It.) steeped in occultism* and cabalistic traditions (see Cabala). Modern Hasidism, which fostered Jewish culture, began ca. 1740 in Poland under leadership of Baal* Shem-Tob; spread among Jews of E Eur. and to Israel, US, and Can.; emphasized joyful worship of Israel's God in the here and now.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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