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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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NY Officials Claim Chasidic Dress Code Violates Human Rights

When is a dress code legal and when it is a violation of human rights? That seems to depend on whether you are a Chasidic Jewish shop owner in New York.
Williamsburg storefront sign bans immodest attire.

Williamsburg storefront sign bans immodest attire.
Photo Credit: CBS News screenshot

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has served notice on owners of seven Chasidic stores in Williamsburg that posting a sign that does not allow service to women with “low-cut necklines” is a violation of their human rights.

But what about all the “no shorts, no shoes, no service” signs that are a favorite among the snob crowd?

That’s okay because it is a dress code, the commission general counsel Cliff Mulqueen explained to the Jewish Week.

And prohibiting low-cut necklines is not a dress code?

Of course not, he reasons. That is a religious decree, and telling someone they have “to abide by certain rules of the Jewish faith crosses the line into [establishing] a protected class,” according to his logic.

God says that the Jews are the Chosen People, but now New York rules we are the “protected class.” Maybe human rights officials also think that the designation of a Chosen People denies human rights to others.

Regardless, a restaurant presumably can post a sign telling patrons not to enter with immodest dress without worrying about a human rights violation, but if an orthodox Jew, especially a Chasidic Jew, puts out a sign like that, he is in trouble.

The New York Post pointed out that no one really is refused service in a Chasidic-owned store because of his religion or gender. A Christian, a Muslim a Buddhist and even an atheist could enter, so long as he or she obeys the sign stating, “No Shorts, No Barefoot, No Sleeveless, No Low Cut Necklines Allowed in the Store.”

The commission last summer told the newspaper that the signs are legal, but now seven stores have been cited for violating human rights. A top law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, is representing the shop owners on a voluntary basis.

What would the city say if a snotty WASP country club were to post a sign, “No shtreimels?

It probably would say nothing because, after all, that is only a dress code.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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16 Responses to “NY Officials Claim Chasidic Dress Code Violates Human Rights”

  1. Issy Rondel says:

    WELL, WE DO HAVE A FEW CRAZY’S ALSO, LIKE THAT ABOVE. WTF, have they forgotten what happened 75 years ago.

  2. I think that any store owner should have that right and I think if a Hotel lobby, Restaurant or Casino can insist on certain go’s and no go’s then so can a more observant store owner. If I as a patron do not like it, then I am sure NY offers enough other stores to buy from. This is just another way of lashing out at Jews. I am so tired of using all sorts of excuses in order to do that! At least have the courage to be open about your antisemitism!

  3. John Keytack says:

    What??? So now, the lunatics are running the asylum! The observant people have rights, too!

  4. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    And yet stores owned by orthodox Muslims can have a cover up and bhyrqa requirement. But no surprise since bloomie's comments at a mosque that "we are all muslims today".

  5. I don't understand how women's rights are being violated, as they're not required to shop there. If they don't like the restrictions, they can simply go elsewhere.

  6. Susan Cohen says:

    How is it women's right that are restricted any mo9re than men's rights?

  7. name names of who is on this so-called "commission".

  8. Dan Silagi says:

    The Chassidim can dress however they like; nobody's stopping them. But there's a big problem when they start dictating to others how they should dress; stores are places of public accomadation. Let's cut the BS here; the reason for these "rules" are to keep goyim and non-observant Jews out. One day, my wife and I will enter one of these stores; dressed as one would normally dress on a hot summer day. Let these a-holes try to kick us out.

  9. Lee Graham says:

    dan, you are a troublemaker, nothing more! a restaurant can mandate ANY ATTIRE that they want, specifically so the patrons all look like the management wants. i can't imagine any business wanting to count you a customer. I'm sure you have a gorgeous hairy chest, may i suggest that you share it with (only) your wife!

  10. Joels Davidi says:

    In this current heat wave, maybe they ARE on to something…

  11. Dan Silagi says:

    Well Lee, you're right about my being a troublemaker. As were Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King, among many others. This is not about going into a store barechested; it's about wearing normal warm-weather attire in a Hasidic neighborhood, where the inhabitants demand women wear burkhas, or similar attire.

    I don't have a particularly hairy chest, Lee. But I do have a 48" chest (and a 36" waist), with rather well-developed pectoral muscles (I'm a bodybuilder).

    And no, a restaurant cannot mandate its customers to look as management desires, nor can any other business. I don't like how Haredim dress, especially the men. But I'd welcome them into my place of business as I would anyone else. If I put up a sign barring tzitzas I'd get my butt sued, and rightfully so.

    I bet you think that the Haredi bus lines have the right to make women sit on one side of the bus and men on the other. They don't, and that's also the law.

  12. Dan Silagi says:

    WHAT current heat wave? It's 53 degrees (Fahrenheit) out!

  13. Yechiel Baum says:

    In all Arab countries their is a modesty dress code that shows their respect to their religion and the owners of the stores. You cannot tell store owners who they cannot invite into their stores. Moreover, people realize what these retailers are selling so obviously the liberals would not find anything there that they would buy and wear unless they are there to annoy others which is also a chilul Hashem.

  14. I was in Crwon Heights on Lag Bomer. There were non-Jewish Asians and Blacks in the restaurant and they were dressed conservatively and being served. Dan YOU BE WRONG ABOUT "RULES"… Money is Money. Now what they were doing there….very crowded day

  15. Kateri Blackwing says:

    this is not Israel this is the United States how dare they do that that is why I hate them so.

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