Kiryas Joel in the New York Times
Dan Levin of the New York Times has an update on the Satmar couple in Kiryas Joel who were threatened and harassed because the 25-year-old wife wore, gasp!, denim skirts and stockings without seams. Their cars were vandalized and they were each threatened. No one would cooperate with police and now, four months after the incidents, the case has been closed.
This is far from unusual:
…Hella Winston, the author of “Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels,” said that it was not uncommon for women who defy their strictly codified role in such communities to become targets.
Ms. Winston, an assistant professor of sociology at Queens College, said that because these sects can not legally discipline nonconformists, they must resort to public shaming. “Their power is in fear and intimidation,” she said, though “blacklisting children from schools can at times cross the line into threats and violence.”…
Who enforces these "modesty" rules?
…Occasionally someone defies the social mores — whether it is a young man frequenting bars in the nearby village of Monroe or a woman dressing inappropriately or flirting. That is when the “vaad hatznius,” the rabbinically appointed modesty committee that enforces the village’s rules of behavior and appearance, intervenes.
“If we find they have a TV or a married woman won’t wear a wig, we will invite them to speak with us and try to convince them it’s unacceptable, or next year we will not accept their children into the school system,” said David Ekstein, the vice president of the village’s leading congregation, Yetev Lev, and one of eight men who make up the committee, hand-picked by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the town’s spiritual leader.
Mr. Ekstein, 62, the president of an insurance company, said that the committee was widely respected for its role in protecting the community, especially children. “There has to be some kind of watchdog,” he said. “But do we have any real power? We’re not a government.”…
What you just read is an admission of illegal activity. No town can enforce "modesty" rules of this type, rules that really are religious strictures. If Kiryas Joel were a private enclave or a commune, it could enforce these rules. But Kiray Joel is a town, a town that incorporated and formed in order to receive state and federal funds. To receive those funds, Kiryas Jooel must obey the law.
The federal government and the State of New York have an obligation to enforce the law, including the civil rights laws Kiryas Joel violates every day.
Rabbi Aaron Titelbaum and his thugs belong in jail. The sooner this happens the better.