When searching for a great story, reporters tend to look for conflict. At first glance, the story of Yosel Tiefenbrun, an ordained Chabad rabbi and bespoke tailor based in Brooklyn, is all about conflict.
Upon reading what’s been written about him and meeting him in person, a struggle of opposites seems to define him: His perfectly built and eclectic outfit doesn’t match the traditional all-black worn by most Chassidics; his shapely red beard looks strikingly different from other rabbis’ facial hair. Even his tailoring studio is a display of oddness: In a desolate part of East Williamsburg, a red door opens into a giant, cold, empty warehouse with a set of stairs leading to a space that looks nothing like the downstairs. Tiefenbrun’s studio is warm and welcoming, with beautiful burgundy walls, chesterfield leather sofas, a three-way mirror, and jazz music playing softly in the background.
But it is while speaking with Tiefenbrun about his devotion to the craft of tailoring and his path toward success that one thing becomes strikingly clear: This is not a story about conflict but, rather, one of symmetry and balance. From the perfect symmetry of the suits he creates to his balanced comportment and, yes, even to his choice to become a full-time tailor while keeping his Judaism intact, Tiefenbrun’s life is the epitome of a balancing act.