Rabbi Nadler, who testified at Mr. Weberman’s trial, said that modesty committees did not have addresses, stationery or business cards, and that few people seemed to know where their authority originated, though it was doubtful, he said, that they could continue operating without the tacit blessings of rabbinical leaders.
“They walk into a store and say it would be a shame if your window was broken or you lost your clientele,” he said. “They might tell the father of a girl who wears a skirt that’s too short and he’s, say, a store owner: ‘If you ever want to sell a pair of shoes, speak to your daughter.’ ”
In Israel, there have been similar concerns. Though no modesty committee was overtly involved, there has been anger over ultra-Orthodox zealots who spit on and insulted an 8-year-old girl for walking to school through their neighborhood in a dress they considered immodest.
In Brooklyn, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has represented the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Borough Park for 30 years, said that he had never met a modesty committee member, but that “there are a lot of independent operators that believe they are protecting God and have to do this kind of stuff, and that’s sickening and gives us all a black eye.”
“If you want to advocate modesty,” he added, “do your thing, but when you stuff it down my throat physically, that undermines us and hurts us.”
One thought on “The Satmar-Ruled Brooklyn pt. 4 – Lee Ave. The Modesty Committees -“Gut’s polizei” – And Even Hynes Knew (2013)”
All religious ultra-orthodoxies are similar. The honor killings by Hindus and Muslims nowadays spring from the same, common root. Jews haven’t gone in for murder yet; we’re more subtle, making lives miserable rather than killing anyone though I wonder whether that isn’t in the cards as groups like these continue to operate with impunity and become bolder and bolder. It says something, too, about the repressed nature of the Hasidim that they fear their men could become aroused by viewing a plaster mannequin in a dress in a store window. I feel sorry for them.