THEY are religious community known for clinging to the 18th century fashions and mores - strict rules that keep men and women apart and constraints on attire, with men favoring black suits and formal hats and women in long sleeves and long skirts.

But when it comes to doing business, Hasidic Jews have become enamored with a distinctly 21st century company : Amazon.

The ability to sell merchandise easily and relatively anonymously on Amazon has transferred the economies of Hasidic enclaves in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, in the city's suburbs and in central New Jersey, communities where members prefer to keep to themselves and typically do not go to college, let along graduate from business programs.

But Amazon allows Hasidim to start selling without much experience and without making the investment required by a brick-and-mortar store.

It permits Hasidic sellers to deal with the public invisibly - almost entirely by mail, by email and through package delivery companies.

''Amazon doesn't ask for your resume,'' said Sam Friedman, a marketer who designs trade show exhibits and works with many Amazon sellers. ''And your picture is not on your business. The investment is minimal. You can work out of your bedroom.''

And if Amazon takes over the packing and shipping, according to some interpretations of Jewish law, owners can operate their businesses through the Sabath and on holidays like Rosh Hashana and the Sukkot festival, without violating the proscription against working in sacred days.

Amazon also provides men who at certain ages spend a good deal of their day studying the Talmud and praying, and women who tend to the seven or eight children common in Hasidic families the flexibility to become full-time and successful merchants.

The World Students Society thanks author Joseph Berger.


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