Borough Park is home to one of the largest enclaves of Chasidic Orthodox Jews in the world. Orthodox Jews represent the most observant branch of Judaism. Within the branch however, different groups have different rules on observance, dress, and behavior. Chasidic Judaism began in the middle of the eighteenth century as a response to the norm of the time. Chasidic Judaism follows strict and literal interpretation of the biblical texts. Chasidic men are known for their unusual black and white clothing. The women wear clothing that emphasizes modesty. The distinctive clothing harkens back to the common clothing style of the middle of the eighteenth century. Like many other Chasidic traditions, the clothing hasn't changed to fit with new surroundings like New York City. Chasidic communities such as that of Borough Park, are very insular, choosing to govern and police themselves and don't involve themselves much with the outside world. While these communities are very supportive and charitable, they follow very strict religious guidelines that can be punitive for people who want to leave the community.
While most ethnicities find it important to stay in an ethnic enclave, it is a way of life for Chasidic Jews. The Chasidic Jews of Europe lived in insular tight knit shtetls. These small communities existed in Europe because Jews were often very disliked and couldn't assimilate in many countries such as Poland or Russia. In the United States, these communities still exist for a few reasons. Jewish immigrants in the United States had very little money and were in a completely new country, this is especially true of immigrants right after World War II. Chasidic immigrants would have had even more difficulty because of their distinctive dress and religious practices that prevented them from working on Saturdays and eating certain foods. Living in an ethnic enclave means that Chasidic Jews have access to stores and services that are run by and for Chasidic Jews. These communities pride themselves on upholding their religious values, supporting one another, and being friendly to each other.