Panhandlers Dressing As Jews, Collecting Money From Hasids

Image: NY Times

Yesterday, Gothamist reported that Asian panhandlers have started dressing as Buddhist monks and begging in Times Square. Meanwhile, the same thing is going down in Brooklyn, except here panhandlers are donning some semblance of Orthodox dress and begging for money from ultra-Orthodox residents.

The Post reports that panhandlers in a few of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods have recently taken to wearing “long skirts and head coverings” and visiting kosher markets before Shabbat and other Jewish holidays to run their scam. Many have learned a bit of Hebrew and Yiddish—including the word “tsedaka,” which means “charity”—in hopes of being more convincing.

The trend has resulted in one hilarious run-in so far:

A young woman wearing a snood on her head approached a Post reporter last month on Coney Island Avenue in Flatbush with arms stretched out, saying, “Tsedaka.”

When the Hebrew-speaking journalist asked if she spoke Hebrew, she looked confused, said “Jewish,” then ran off.

So, not everyone’s getting it quite right, but one Borough Park-based panhandler claims he put the scam to good use and collected $750 during Passover. Still doesn’t make it right, though.

Follow Nikita Richardson on Twitter @nikitarbk


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