Satmar Hasidism is a branch of ultra-orthodox Judaism founded by Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum (1759-1841), Rabbi of Sátoraljaújhely in Hungary. His descendants became leaders of the communities of Máramarossziget (now Sighetu Marmaţiei) (called "Siget" in Yiddish) and Szatmárnémeti (now Satu Mare) (called "Satmar" in Yiddish).
Like other Haredi Jews
, Satmar Hasidic Jews live in insular communities, separating themselves from comtemporary secular society. Like other Hasidic Jews
, Satmar Hasidim approach Judaism with joy. Like the Neturei Katra
sect, Satmar Hasidim oppose all forms of Zionism.
Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum (1887-1979), one of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum descendents, led the Satmar Hasidic movement during the Holocaust.
The day Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum was released by the Nazis (21st day of the Hebrew month of Kislev) is considered to be a holiday by Satmar Hasidim.
Following the war and time in a Displaced Persons camp, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine. In Palestine he founded a network of yeshivas. As a result of financial difficulties, he traveled to New York to raise money for the seminaries. As the founding of the State of Israel was taking place, his American followers convinced him to stay in New York.
In America Teitelbaum established the foundations of a Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In the 1970s, he bought land in upstate New York and founded a Satmar Hasidic community named Kiryas Joel. Other post-Holocaust Satmar communities were founded in Monsey, Boro Park, Buenos Aires, Antwerp, Bnei Brak, and Jerusalem.
Satmar opposition to the State of Israel is based on their belief that the creation of a Jewish State by Jews is blasphemy. They believe the Jews should wait for God to send the Messiah to return the Jewish people to the land of Israel. They also oppose the State because of its secular founders, leaders and character.
Despite their opposition of the Zionist State, they love the Holy Land and aim to protect it from secularism and bloodshed. Many Satmar Hasidim visit and even live in Israel, but they do not vote, pay taxes, accept benefits, serve in the armed forces or recognize the authority of the court.