Theocrats at it again – in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) this time.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish business owners are lashing out at customers at dozens of stores in Williamsburg, trying to ban sleeveless tops and plunging necklines from their aisles. It’s only the latest example of the Hasidic community trying to enforce their strict religious laws for everyone who lives near their New York enclave.
“No Shorts, No Barefoot, No Sleeveless, No Low Cut Neckline Allowed in the Store,” declare the English/Spanish signs that appear in stores throughout the Hasidic section of the hipster haven. The retailers do not just serve Jews — they include stores for hardware, clothes and electronics.
“We’re not concerned about the way women dress in Manhattan — but we are concerned with bringing 42nd Street to this neighborhood,” said Mark Halpern, who is Orthodox and lives in Williamsburg.
Some called the policy un-American.
“It’s further evidence of this era’s move toward Balkanization in the United States,” said Marci Hamilton, a First Amendment scholar at Cardozo School of Law. “It’s no longer sufficient that they have shared norms among themselves, they are increasingly trying to impose their norms on the rest of the culture.”
Theocracy, in fact.
The dress code appears to be the latest effort by the Hasidic community to separate itself from the greater population.
There’s an Orthodox ambulance service and a private police force called the Shomrim.
On the B110, a privately operated public bus line that runs through Orthodox Williamsburg and Borough Park, women are told to sit in back, also in accordance with Orthodox customs.
The neighborhood embarked on a successful 2009 crusade to remove bike lanes from a 14-block stretch of Bedford Avenue — fearful of the scantily clad gals who would pedal through.
Talibanesque – for real this time.