My apartment lies in the Jewish quarter of town. Being German, the experience of living among orthodox Jews is something very new and unique for me. Unfortunately, there are not very many Jews left in Germany and the sight of a man with a beard and hat and women with wigs is very unusual. I ´ve seen people dressing this way on TV but for the first time in my life am I surrounded by a big community and can witness their everyday life. I can see children on their way to school, parents riding bikes on their way to work, and young mothers chatting on the streets. Every Saturday the streets are full of families dressed in their “Sunday´s best”
. They go to the synagogue, visit friends and family, or meet at various places. Since they do not use electricity on the Sabbath day they also do not ring door bells. Young children often stand outside of their homes and yell for their parents to open the door. Until late at night you can see people on the streets, young people as well as old people, children, families, women, and men.
What is striking is the number of young families I have seen. It is nothing unusual to see a women my age with four children. Fathers are also quiet young. I have heard some families speaking in German to each other. I do not know if they are local Alsaciens or if they have migrated from Germany.
There also seem to be different denominations among them. Not all young boys let the hair above their ears grow and not all of the married men wear a beard. Some men wear hats, others only a Kippa. Most of the little boys I have seen wear a Kippa while others use caps. Girls and young women usually dress like French women but do not seem to wear pants. Married women cover their hair. Some wear wigs while others use scarfs. Most people dress in black but some also use colours such as brown or pink.