The NYT on the Gathering Called "Chulent"
The NYT on Chulent - and they don't (only) mean the food:
Chulent is also the name given to the informal weekly gatherings for Orthodox Jews on the margins of their close-knit society that Mr. Schonfeld, a business consultant from Borough Park, Brooklyn, has been holding in the synagogue for the past year. Setting down his homemade bean stew, he adjusted a little electric heater and began greeting the first of the hundred or so people who would soon stream through the door.An interesting piece. It's nice to see that the people who feel that they are on the fringes of their community aren't being completely cast out of the Orthodox world, and are able to find a place to feel comfortable in their own skin - or in their payos.
A great majority of rigorously Orthodox Jews would have no interest in such a gathering. But for the small percentage who question aspects of their religion, and yearn to form a community of their own, events like Chulent are increasingly common in New York. As the secular world exerts an ever more powerful pull, a growing array of tools — including Web sites and under-the-radar gatherings like this one — are springing up to serve their needs and ease their way.