Kiryas Yoel Posts New Modesty Signs for Visitors


kiryas-yoelFrom a report in the Times Herald-Record: A large new sign greets visitors as they cross over Route 17 on Forest Avenue and enter a world where the skirts and shirt sleeves are always long, regardless of the season.”Welcome to Kiryas Joel,” it reads. “In keeping with our traditions and religious customs, we kindly ask that you dress and behave in a modest way while visiting our community.”

The main congregation in this community of 22,000 Satmar chassidim recently posted identical notices near two village entrances to ask outsiders to respect their ways while visiting, which includes “covered necklines,” “appropriate language” and “gender separation in all public areas.”

The wording is polite, and there is no threat of enforcement.

But even so, passers-by who have spotted the sign near County Route 105 and Bakertown Road in Monroe have taken umbrage at what they see as an expectation to conform to one group’s religious beliefs and dress codes in a public place.

“I know it’s a request, and it certainly was a polite request,” said James Murphy of Highland Mills. “But it puts me in an uncomfortable position. Why should it bother you what I’m wearing?”

David Ekstein, president of Congregation Yetev Lev, says the signs were meant to guide outsiders so they don’t offend village residents, especially during the summer. No single incident or spate of visitors with objectionable clothing triggered them, he said.

“If our standards of modesty are not what is practiced in the surrounding communities, then it is even more incumbent to provide this polite reminder,” he said.

{Times Herald-Record/}


  1. Let’s look at it from an outsider’s POV. would the residents of Kiryat Yoel be ok if their neighbors put up signs that they don’t like fur hats or black coats, or gender segregation or say… Jews? Just because you ask politely, doesn’t mean it will be interpreted so.

  2. Kol Hakavod to Satmar. It’s about time somebody took a stand on tzniyus. Now if we could just get someone to post similar signs in Flatbush, Boro Park, Monsey, Lakewood, Queens etc. reminding the members our frum communities of the need to keep the halachos of tzniyus.

  3. Kefirah How does dusrimination come into the picture?

    Let us face it any one who is coming into Kiryas Yoel is because a need to be there and interact with the people living there. Is it so
    terrible to ask my guest to respect my wishes.

  4. They have the right to enforce community standards under the US Constitution. There is plenty of precedent in case law. If some shagitz doesn’t like the signs, let him stay out.

  5. Kol Hakavod (#4) makes the point “reminding the members our frum communities of the need to keep the halachos of tzniyus”.

    That seems perfectly reasonable.

    But while “Flatbush, Boro Park, Monsey, Lakewood, Queens etc”, and even Midwood, as proposed by Jerald (#8), may have a large percentage of charedi yiddn, those areas are part of a larger area called the United States of America.

    Charedi yiddn are a minority in the United States. We would do well to remember that we cannot force our beliefs on others.

    Failure to remember that will backfire and may lead to bad feelings against us.

  6. i live in Monsey and many women have forgooten what tsnius means. Modesty = not drawing attention to ones self. Yet the women wear fancy sheitels (w/periodic innovations) in the office and tichels when they get home. who exactly are they trying to impress- the world or their husbands?

  7. tell that to people at rallies for israel or whatnot. Many places have foolish rules for visitors and few complaints. All they’re asking is not to see immodesty. Why is it making everyone, particularly Jews, so uncomfortable?

  8. actually, forget my last comment. Whatever we feel, we can’t judge other Jews when it isn’t l’toeles. Especially after reading a news article.

  9. Every frum enclave should have such signs. Instead of being offended people should realize a tsnius reminder is for their own good.

  10. “Is it so terrible to ask MY guest to respect MY wishes?” No it is not terrible if you are talking about YOUR guest in your private space, ie YOUR home. There is a big difference, the streets of KJ are PUBLIC STREETS in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.