The Orthodox Street Photographer of Boro Park

Photographer Avi Kaye in Boro Park. (Photo by Eli Wohl via The Forward)

In a story that appeared in The Forward, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt profiles Avi Kaye (not his actual name), an Orthodox street photographer who captures candid scenes of the Hasidic community in his childhood home of Boro Park.

“I was inspired by Roman Vishniac,” Kaye says, referring to the Jewish photographer most famous for documenting pre-Holocaust European Jewry. “No one documented Hasidim the way he did. That captured me. I read how he had a hidden camera that he would use, that’s something that really got to me.”

And so began Kaye’s guerrilla photography career around Williamsburg and Boro Park, and eventually, Jerusalem, as well as the occasional trip to upstate New York’s Orthodox shtetls – New Square, Kiryas Joel, and Monsey.

His photos can be viewed on the Instagram account “Hasidim in USA” where “there’s no room for politics, no room for debates over Orthodoxy, extremism, education — there’s only room for humanity.”

Go to The Forward to read why Kaye does not reveal his identity, and more on the time he was threatened with arrest, the response to his work among the Hasidim and why he’s “uniquely positioned” to capture the community.

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