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Street signs order Jewish women to let men pass first


Summary of story from The Brooklyn Paper, October 7, 2011

The Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York found religious decrees asking Jewish women to move to the side when men are walking in their direction strapped to street trees this week.

These signboards roughly translate as: “Precious Jewish daughters, please move over to the side when you see a man come across.”

The signs do not indicate who authorised them, but sources said that they are part of a campaign by a rabbinical group that has printed other “modesty” decrees, including one in June demanding that women not wear tank tops.

Orthodox activists said the signs should not be taken seriously.

“There are some hard-core Hasidim in Williamsburg who think they still live in 19th-century Ukraine and they consider interaction between the sexes, in even the most casual, accidental manner to be licentious,” said a local businessman.

But Hasidic residents say that the sign is being misinterpreted.

One Hasidic man said: “There are a lot of people on the street during the holidays, and this is a reminder to let men pass so they don’t go barging into a group of women.”

An Hasidic woman added: “Sometimes a gentle reminder is needed to keep the neighborhood the way it should be and that Jewish values are supposed to be followed.”

These signs were removed by park maintenance authorities because they were in breach of the the city law on nailing notices onto trees.

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