Satmar-Hasids Discover Mixed-Martial Arts

Always looking for summer frolics, the Yiddish-speaking sect of Jews colloquially know as the Satmar sect, have recently started engaging in mixed-martial art competitions. The village of Kiryas Joel in upstate New York’s Orange County, has become a veritable hotbed of young fighters who seem to draw strength from the long lineage of famous Jewish boxers of yesteryear. From Moshe the Mauler to Pinchas the Pincher, young boys with high bruisability can be found engaging in strength training two-a-days with morning and afternoon brisket-lifting sessions. ┬áInter- and intra-haredi competitions with sect-mates from Williamsburg and Borough Park highlight summer Sundays with fathers furiously davening (ardent praying) while mothers forcefully encourage their sons to take the occasional kishke (derma) snack-break usually to no avail. One mother, Chaya, who refused to give her last name, said that she is proud of her little fighter but is nonetheless concerned about blood clots. Additional rules have been implemented which forbid payos-pulling (ritual side-curls) and grabbing of the fringes of the tallit katan (ritual poncho-like, fringed undergarment). Other than that, nothing is sacred.

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Seen coming out of her house is one young mother whose children and grandchildren await