web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Those Williamsburg ‘Modesty’ Signs

Last year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights decided to pursue a discrimination claim against a half dozen chassidic store owners in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section over their posting of signs that stated, “No Shorts, no barefoot, no sleeveless, no low-cut neckline allowed in this store.”

The complaint raised eyebrows, not least because it cited a provision of the city’s human rights law that prohibits a store from “directly or indirectly denying service based upon a person’s actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status….”

Nowhere in that law is anything mentioned concerning the state of a patron’s dress or undress.

Courts have been known to do violence to the plain language of a law, but it is hard to understand how the across the board prohibition – which can easily be complied with – fits any of the proscribed categories. Indeed, the complaint simply states, “Complainant [in this instance the Commission seemed to have filed its own complaint] charges that Respondents [i.e., the storeowners] posted a written communication that expressly intended to deny patrons the advantages, facilities, and/or privileges of a public accommodation based upon their gender and creed, in violation of ….[the human rights law].”

To be sure, the deputy commissioner and general counsel of the agency said the signs represented “A public accommodation trying to impose its religious beliefs on other people,” and that the signs made “one protected group of individuals [women] uncomfortable.”

Yet how are the signs any different from the dress codes for patrons and employees in restaurants, or, indeed, courthouses – all of which have been ignored by the commission. More to the point, does anyone seriously entertain the thought that the shopkeepers were really trying to exclude or in any way hinder women or non-Orthodox Jews from patronizing their stores?

When a commission administrative law judge recently refused to drop the charges and ordered the matter to trial in January, editorial writers and other commentators were aghast, repeating the earlier criticisms.

Even a brief reading of the complaint and the later decision ordering the case to trial shows that the process has many flaws and the logic is severely wanting. But we think it is more important to focus on the deafening silence of Mayor Bloomberg in this disgraceful affair. This is a mayor who absolutely refused to consider any criticism of his “stop and frisk” policy. We stood with him on that issue because of its obvious utility, but can anyone really maintain that it is not plainly discriminatory against Hispanics and African-Americans?

By what standard does he then not denounce a city agency’s verbal gymnastics as it endeavors to find something discriminatory in the chassidic merchants’ signs, when the very same thing is practiced all over town without challenge?

We believe the commission’s agenda is not to address real discrimination but rather to seize any opportunity to make a point: if someone may arguably have a religious motive for doing something others do from non-religious motives, the person motivated by religious belief should be singled out in order to ensure that one’s religion will never be imposed on another.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Those Williamsburg ‘Modesty’ Signs”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in NY late Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, ahead of Netanyahu's speech at UN General Assembly  set for the next day.
India May Pull Rug Out From Under Abbas in UN Vote
Latest Indepth Stories
Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

President Shimon Peres receives the Congrssional Gold Medal.

“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”

KidSport-Everybody-Is-A-Winner1

“D-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!”

This masked "soldier" carrying a machine-gun is not part of a terrorist organization, according to the European Court of Justice.

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

More Articles from Editorial Board

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.

If anything, Operation Protective Edge showed that Israel will not pull punches when it comes to combating terror.

Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.

There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.

An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/those-williamsburg-modesty-signs/2013/10/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: