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Op-Ed: A Fire Burns in Crown Heights

By Mottel
Photo Courtesy Basil

An Essay on Religion, Modernity and Pizza

We live in a dual culture – pulled by the Jewish, Chassidic, and uniquely Lubavitcher traditions that bind us, we also seek on some level to integrate into the society around us. Our use of innovations in technology, our homes, and even our clothes, are all the result of the modern world’s influence on our lives. [Note to those that take issue with the belief that any modernity has seeped into our Lubavitcher meta-culture: Our mode of dress – be it the short jacket, the choice of a more modern fedora over the more traditional Russian kasket, or even the relatively modern design of the Kapote (based on the Victorian Prince Albert frock) are all signs of our organic adaptation to the modern world]. The calls of modern life offer a lot of potential. They also give room to incredible danger. It is the tension of spanning this spiritual chasm that we must address if we are to remain viable as a group.

It is my contention that in no other season is this dichotomy embodied then the Summer months. In chassidic thought, the increased revelation of sunlight and warmth in the summer is the physical manifestation of the greater divine revelation being showered upon the earth. As the Torah teaches, however, the greater room for spiritual potential and growth, the greater the manifestation of the impure. To be frank: The revelation of the shemesh havaya, the G-dly power of the summer, brings to a very disturbing trend of a rather different revelation on the streets of Kingston.

This so called tznius problem has been debated across numerous forums. It is a source of shame to our community and a point of contention among us.

This past Friday, a self-appointed group of yungeleit and concerned members of the Crown Heights community decided to act on their frustration with the lack of decorum and modesty in this community. Having, to some degree of success, protested various breaches of tznius in the past, they are now focusing their ire on what they consider to be the latest crack in the moral fiber of our community: The restaurant Basil.

Let me preface my words with a few important points to take into consideration before analyzing the relative merits and flaws of this ad-hoc committee’s goals:

Eating in a restaurant is not a very chassidishe thing to do: No matter how we feel about the relative application of avodas ha’iskafiya – the suppression of our base tendencies – in our current generation, I believe we can all concede that it isn’t the most chassidic act in the world to revel, to koch, in good food. What is more, no matter how fine the hashgacha any restaurant may have, it will never come close to the standards of practice in a truly exacting and frumme home. Thus, for the sake of this article, we can safely assume that truly chassidishe yidden shouldn’t eat out.

Moreover, a restaurant, as with any other establishment in a community, ought to respect the standards and mores of the community. Thus an establishment that plays non-Jewish music or kol isha, and is staffed by people who dress and act inappropriately, ought to do its utmost to respect said standards and cease such objectionable actions.

In any event, I consider myself somewhat of a free-agent. I try to remain balanced in my opinions, take all sides into account, and base my conclusions on what is truly right and reasoned. Interested in the discussion that would take place between the management of the restaurant and the yungeleit, I went to Basil.

What I found was utter chaos on the street corner in front of the restaurant. The discussion was heated – with the manager and another employee surrounded by close to a dozen yungeleit.

During the course of the talk, it became clear that one of ba’al habatim assisting in the protest had gone to the restaurant the previous evening and used a salacious and unsavory term to describe the manager, the waitresses and the patrons (some of whom later turned out to be visiting from Flatbush).

I asked the ba’al habayis if, with all forgiveness to my questioning his actions, he honestly felt that his comments were in line with the Rebbe’s directives and if they would prove effective in changing the situation. He told me that he had previously agreed that such negative comments were not in line with the Rebbe’s belief of doing things b’darkei noam ub’darkei shalom – in a pleasant and peaceful manner – but a kolel yungerman present at the protest had found such methods effective in the the past.

This yungerman, who is one of the ringleaders of the push to cleanup Crown Heights, is known for approaching ladies on the street conducting themselves in a fashion not fitting for a bas yisroel and clearly letting them know of their wrongdoings.

Approaching the ringleader, I was told that I was standing in the way of their success, that my presence (and dare I say – look, as my clothes were in many ways similar to theirs – I was wearing my kapote in honor of 13 Tammuz) was causing a chilul hashem. What is more, I was akin to those who fight against shleimus ha’aretz.

I was shocked – here was a man in the middle of a heated verbal exchange with a fremde lady, arguing in front of the non-Jewish waitresses, secular Israeli cooks and non-Jewish neighbors on the street – and I was the one making the chilul hashem!

When I asked him to please clarify which group that fights against shleimus ha’aretz I was comparable to – if it was the liberal pro-Palestinian J Street, the Ahmadinejad-kissing Neturei Karta, or the PLO itself – he became even more incensed.

Other members of the group complained of the chilul hashem I was causing – or gave me all around dirty looks.

The police were called and the group dispersed. I never found out the exact reasons they chose to protest Basil, besides that it represented a move away from sanctity found in the communities of Monsey, Williamsburg, Boropark and “even” Flatbush. In a private conversation, a member of the group had previously relayed to me his disdain for fancy restaurants. In his belief system, they are uniquely un-Jewish – lacking the so called “yiddishe ta’am v’ruach.” If his opinion reflects that of the entire group, then the protest was merely a proxy war on what they consider to be modernity in general.

No matter what their reason may be, something about the actions of these well-meaning, albeit misguided, members of the kolel is very disturbing. While certain issues they have crusaded against have ended positively – I posit that such success was due to the general unimportance of the issue to the one being protested. The fact that the barber removed the television from his shop is very much rooted in the lack of importance the TV plays in his life and business.

The decision, however, to make comments to women parading down the street – however deplorable their actions and dress – can almost never be justified.

It is a horrible practice – one that can unwittingly cause immense, unforeseen, and irreversible damage.

Let us imagine that our young zealot sees a lady walking down Kingston in clearly inappropriate dress – she’s flaunting herself in the most degrading manner possible. Our zealot mutters his comment under his breath and then hastens his step to avoid dealing with her any further.

If we are to follow these words further – after they have left his mouth and long since he has returned to his home – what has become with this lady?

Is she shaken? Perhaps she becomes agitated. How will that affect her family relationships? Will it prove to be a positive force in her shalom bayis?
What of a single girl? Will it encourage her to improve in her personal spiritual growth? What if she is on the edge? Her dress is obviously not in line with someone scrupulous in her daily observance of Torah and Mitzvos . . . Will this girl decide to return to the fold because some strange man insulted her and scurried down the street? Or will it push her further away?

It is all too apparent that these comments will have little positive outcome:

1. They are harsh and exclusionary to those on the edge of observance.
2. They are hardly positive and pleasant in their nature. It is doubtful they come from a place of love.
3. We can therefore conclude: They will have little positive affect on the lady.

What is more curious about the actions of these zealots – with all of their desire to fix the bleeding wounds of our community (and the wounds are indeed there), they make little effort to reach out to the “at risk” bochurim. If these yungeleit are truly worried about the community and wish to stop all breaches of decorum and halacha – why don’t they mutter comments under their breaths to the youth that are seen with trimmed beards (a biblical prohibition(!) according to the Tzemach Tzedek and thus halachicaly binding on everyone who considers himself a Lubavitcher) and shorts?

Could it be that women happen to be easier targets? A woman, after all, is less likely to protest and what is more, prove less of threat if truly incensed.

Dear reader – let me ask you another question. Even if we are to take for granted that verbally protesting the dress and conduct of strangers in our community is a valid and positive action, wouldn’t it make sense according to Shulachan Aruch that men speak to men, and women to women? If these well meaning members of our community must make a statement – why don’t they have their wives speak to the offending women?

The answer to these questions is clear: Such actions that are not done from a place of compassion and caring for the one receiving the rebuke are clearly inappropriate. Not only do they fail to succeed in drawing the person closer, they often push her farther away. The decision to insult those breaking with halacha comes purely out of a desire for self-preservation, ani es nafshi hitzalti. What is more, like the tradition of Mussar as opposed to Chassidus, it seeks to cure the symptoms of a deeply rooted disease, instead of fighting the sickness itself.

Lest my words be skewed in any way as a tacit approval of the dress currently in vogue in our community, let me be clear: The current levels of tznius among even relatively frum and well-acclimated members of the community are atrocious. There is no excuse for the laxity that has become so common among us!

Crown Heights currently finds itself in spiritual malaise. The generation, my generation, brought up in the shadow of 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz finds itself at loss to address the enormity of the situation at hand. People are confused and frustrated – forced to choose between a myriad of often contradicting beliefs and viewpoints – with no one able to truly say with confidence that they have the solution. People are apathetic to the fighting . . . they just want to live. So they do live – in a makif. Without a solid base and clear understanding of the Halachic does and don’ts of yiddishkeit, everything is filed under some vague grouping of chassidishkeit. There is no longer an intellectual and emotional commitment to the matters of tznius – so seemingly small breaches are not felt to be the abrogations of halacha that they are.

There is a serious breakdown in chinuch. Too many of us no longer practice religion out of complete and utter conviction towards the divine truth, but live a life of happenstance. Judaism, Chassidism and Chabad are all groups with which we happen to associate ourselves. The American stress on the individual has destroyed the traditional belief in community. “Accept me for who I am!” they cry. There’s a complete disconnect between what is done and what is believed. Just as the Alter Rebbe speaks of person sinning, under the belief that the deed will not separate him from G-d – odenu b’yahaduso – the parade down Kingston stems from the misconstrued belief that one can dress provocatively and still be whole in one’s chassidishkeit.

Perhaps then, in light of all the above, I can humbly suggest a possible solution toward ending the insanity on both sides. In the early years of the nesius, the Rebbe encouraged the bochurim to be mashpia on the local Jewish store owners and encourage them to to close up shop on Shabbos. Slowly, by means of building a personal relationship and showing that their message came from a place of love (d’varim hayotzim min halev) the bochurim were able to convince some of the storekeepers to close for Shabbos. Everyone has someone in their life that they are able to be mashpia on – be it a friend, classmate, camper or neighbor. If we approach those that we love – men to men, women to women – and invest time energy and patience, the results will surely be abiding.

This Op-Ed reflects the views of its author. It does not necessarily reflect the views of or its Editors.

Any reader that wishes to make his or her voice heard, on any topic of their desire, is welcome to submit his or her Op-Ed to


  • 3. shana wrote:

    I agree with “ten wrote”!!!
    I don’t usually read these OpEd articles but this one really caught my eye

  • 4. fakewood wrote:

    when a woman uncovers her ervah she causes man to sin as well. so its not about minding your own bussiness. this has practical applications to the persons daily life. people should respect halacha if they want to live in a chabad neighborhood especially when they know better. since no one is speaking up this is necessary to show disapproval for the behavior.

  • 5. Moishe wrote:

    “Let us imagine that our young children sees a lady walking down Kingston in clearly inappropriate dress – she’s flaunting herself in the most degrading manner possible.”

    Unfortunately we don’t need to imagine its happening daily and many times. Despite the authors kapota I would assume his knowledge in the halacos of tznius is limited.

  • 6. I wish it would happen wrote:

    The Author has a very good point and I wish and pray we could make this happen, I’m embarrassed to walk down the streets here, I wish I could scream but I know it won’t help, please ladies respect the community and respect yourselves, this applies to the men too

  • 7. a real story wrote:

    I heard there was a store on kingtson that the rebbe passed every day on his way to visit rebbeztin Chana. The rebbe would say good morning or such, when the owner asked who is this man that makes a point of being so polite, he was told that it is the Rebbe. When he heard that he decided on the spot to close hs store on shabbos. I think the lesson is onvious

  • 9. Motty Gurary wrote:

    Well said! We do not have a problem with Tznius in Crown Heights, we have a problem with frumkeit. It’s no secret that the women in any modern orthodox community dress more modestly than ours. Yes, their sleeves may be a little short and perhaps their legs are uncovered. Yet some of our women have managed to dress way more provocatively, and all within the confines of halocha. Something’s amiss. We are way too obsessed about this topic. . Time has shown that the more this subject is discussed and beaten to a pulp, the larger the problem has become. I believe tznius is a subject that should be discussed minimally, if at all. First imbue us with frumkeit and eidelkeit, show us true love and caring. Educate us in a loving, non-confrontational, non-preachy manner. You know, like um… the way it’s done in any Chabad House community. Remove the boundaries of ‘us and them’. Give us a reason to truly respect and revere our leaders. Tznius adherence will follow its natural course. As for Basil, expect many more visits from me. Don’t be intimidated by all this Talibanic stuff.

  • 10. em wrote:

    Brilliant! If people realize that criticism is not the way to infuse Yiddishkeit, Lubavitch would be in a better place!

  • 11. upset wrote:

    latetely since its summer time ive seen ladies walking with there tichals half on and flip flops and practicly no skirts and boys with flit flops i think this is not respect for our community do you want all the kids to take after you???if you want to dress nakid go somewere else its not fare for parents that there children are not going off the way to look at these ppl and try to coppy them and if your tznius nowadays you are like nerdy

  • 12. fp wrote:

    Who are you to be the judge and jury on anyones choice of life to say we should not eat out has nothing to do with the way people choose to dress in summer or any other time for that matter it is sad how we all are guilty of trying each in our own way of fitting in to this golous as jews in this crazy world we should all value ourselves as yiddin and lubavitchers but not to point fingers and sit in judge anyone else when you are so perfect let me know the Rebbe did not shame or point a finger at anyone he did it with love and understanding that is the true way to get people to listen and learn from being an example not a finger pointer

  • 14. real change wrote:

    i invite all yungelite who truly care for the ruchniusdige matzav of our community to volunteer their time. Farbreng, make shiurim and organise trips and outings for the young bochrim! Befriend and mentor them.

    And kollel wives etc. do the same for the young bnos chabad.

    With true care and inspiration in hiskashrus and yiddishkeit we can make a real difference.

  • 15. great op-ed wrote:

    I too am horrified with the lack of tsnius and I agree with the author that these guys are addressing the problem in th worst way. This particular paragraph says it perfectly:
    “Such actions that are not done from a place of compassion and caring for the one receiving the rebuke are clearly inappropriate. Not only do they fail to succeed in drawing the person closer, they often push her farther away…. What is more, like the tradition of Mussar as opposed to Chassidus, it seeks to cure the symptoms of a deeply rooted disease, instead of fighting the sickness itself.

  • 16. sara wrote:

    the solution has to start with our schools imposing a dress code on the parents.

  • 17. Sick wrote:

    The problem is that people that are meant to go on Shilichus are not going, so they end up in CH. The problem is they don’t feel comfortable over here, so they try to make everybody act like them, think like them, etc….get lost!!
    (2 just because you can’t control yourselves from thinking like normal human beings and insted view every women as a *** object dosen’t mean she has to conform. in the Chasidish circle they make you think of women as usuful for one thing..sad! if I had an issue with something I don’t run around make everyone change to fit me.

  • 18. To #7 wrote:

    To #7 –

    Not only that, but I heard at a farbrengen, the continuation; that it went from “nogah” to actually being “nis’hapech” to kedusha:

    That store eventually was the store where WLCC (cr. Kingston & Union), spread the light of Chassidus to many hundreds through the countless tapes videos etc.. of the Rebbe’s farbrengens etc!

  • 19. dffsd wrote:

    i dont have the time and patience to comment on how great the content of this piece is.
    But i will say this:
    Go into a career of writing because this piece is written unbelievably well

  • 20. Ashamed In Crown Heights wrote:

    I had an Irish customer a Goy who was here from San Francisco, come by my office a number of years ago. During the course of conversation he said he had a question to ask me, since he realized he was in a Jewish neighborhood.

    He then went on to say how he knows that Orthodox Jewish women adhere to modesty in dress. However having come out of the Kingston Ave subway and walking down Kingston Ave, he was amazed at how much lack of modesty he encountered. He continued describing the revealing and tight fitting immodest dress he encountered on Kingston Ave.

    How ashamed I felt in front of this Irish Goy from San Francisco. What was I to answer him?

  • 21. Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:

    The approach of Darkei Shalom is to be used when dealing with a Tinuk Shenishba – in our community we are dealing with people that know better and are never the less dressing in a way that puts us all in harms way

    ps Pinchus did not try to convince Zimry Bidarkey shalom that what he was doing was wrong – we need to learn from our Parsha.

    Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen Haishiv Es Chamosi Meal Bnei Yisroel Bikanoy Es Kinosi Bisoichom

  • 23. Mottel wrote:

    -Fakewood: Please note that I never said “mind your own business” – such an attitude is endemic to American attitude of ‘accept me for who I am’ – something I clearly deplore as a problem in our world outlook. It is our business, we are part of a community, and our attitudes and standards are based on halacha alone. There is no acceptance for the lack of tznius, nor should we ignore it – it must be addressed.

    Rather, I feel that the best way to address these problems are the tried and true methods used on shlichus and mivtzoyim! Just as on shlichus, when dealing with people entirely ignorant of what is required of them – even if they know it intellectually they are still in the geder of tinuk sh’nishbau (See: rambam hilchos mamrim 3:3) – the best way to get the change that is required by halacha is through positive dialogue and love, so too with those intellectually and emotionally disconnected from hilchos tznius, we must protest their actions in a positive manner that will bring real results!

    -Moishe: Thank you for insulting my knowledge of halacha. Would you care to back up your statement that I am ignorant of hilchos tznius? Or do you wish to leave it as an ad hominem attack?

  • 24. Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:

    The author writes

    “Thus an establishment that plays non-Jewish music or kol isha, and is staffed by people who dress and act inappropriately, ought to do its utmost to respect said standards and cease such objectionable actions.

    The author continues

    ”I never found out the exact reasons they chose to protest Basil“

    Are you kidding me? is the behavior I quoted not enough for every frumme yid to be outraged.

    The author seems to be more concerned about possibly offending those ”on the edge of observance” than he is for our precious children that are being corrupted and harmed by those that are behaving in such a deplorable and careless manner.

    Yungerleit, keep up the good work – next time try to use more Seichel so that your actions wont be skewed by people with the wrong agendas.

  • 25. Chani wrote:

    As a 30 something women, trying to do her best in this area, I have made some observations of late. The young twenty somthings are the ones that the teenagers look up to.. These ladies appear to be the biggest offenders. How are we supposed to tell these ladies to be mashpia on our teenage girls? Why can we not make some rules on Kingston, in our schools and shuls??? They do it in other places.. Ladies shape up or ship out!!! It’s really quite simple..

  • 26. esther wrote:

    it is possible that their tochaicha is not coming from the right place but what is the answer? in the mean time this tzneeus issue and the lack of kabalos ol and yiras shmayim it stems from is killing us.

  • 27. THE REBBE-S OPINION: wrote:

    In a sicha about just this, the Rebbe says the following (quote):

    …And if you speak pleasantly your words will actually reach the other person more quickly, and more deeply and have a longer lasting effect than by coming to somebody with a scowl and verbally pummeling him.

    When you speak in a positive way, quoting a Torah verse or a saying of the sages the listener will get the message…

    Enough said.

  • 28. Be more positive wrote:

    If the oil doesn’t put out the fire – put more

    If positivity doesn’t help with chinuch be more positive

    don’t ever be stern – it has no room in Lubavitch

    Positivity has a place and so does negativity, for more information start learning and stop listening to those defending their tavos

  • 30. Mottel wrote:

    -Sick: Are you intimating that somehow a Lubavitcher that is “meant to go out on Shlichus” must keep to a different shulchan aruch then one that stays in Crown Heights? Let me remind you that as frumme Yidden, the onus is upon those that abrogate shulchan aruch to conform with Torah and G-d’s will as members of the community – as opposed to those that wish to live upright and ehrliche lives being forced to ‘accept’ breaches in conduct. Torah says that a woman must dress modestly . . . would you tell me that we should do away with the mechitza in shul “just because you can’t control yourselves from thinking like normal human beings and insted[sic] view every women as a *** object dosen’t[sic] mean she has to conform”?

    It is incumbent upon those, no matter how they choose to lives their lives, to have some modicum of respect. I realize, sadly, that in modern American culture, this attitude may be lost on you – however, as an Orthodox Jew, I hope you’re able to rise above it.

    -Pinchos: I have been to Basil perhaps half a dozen times. In my experience there, I did not hear any goyishe music – it was mostly of the Mizrachi fair. If they do fragrantly break shulchan aruch, then kindly and respectfully voice your opinion. During the protest, the manager stated several times that it was her desire to respect the values of the community. The calm and respectful voice, especially of a patron, will very quickly bring the changes needed.

    As to your earlier comment, R’ Pinchas’el, when was the last time you saw a shliach succeed by taking his spear in hand, and ‘killing’ a frie yid with his non-Jewish wife (r”l)? It is my contention that the people who act in a matter not fitting of a bas yisroel, do so out of a disconnect between what they know, and what they do. In this matter they are just as ignorant as the frie yid that knows he ought to marry a Jew, but does not. v’haraya: ‘most all of these ladies would never think of giving their children a teddy bear or some other non-kosher animal. If they truly new better about their dress, wouldn’t they not bother with other such hiddurim of chabad? Rather, these ladies are unable to bridge the chasm between what they know intellectually, and their actions. What is more – many of these ladies do NOT know better.

  • 32. moshe der g wrote:

    To Mottel
    Great article.

    The question to the kanuyim is did they bother FIRST to discuss the matter that bothers them with the owner. Bedarkei noam v’sholom and then were rejected. So they feel a need to protest? I doubt that because I know from other owners that they targeted that said “ why did they give out letters about my store before coming in and asking me fix a problem they saw”.

    The bottom line is education. We need to educate our children (not throw them out of our schools) we need for our youth boys and girls jobs in camps during the summers so they don’t drei zich in de gassen.

    We need leadership in Lubavitch to address all these issues.

    Ad mosai

  • 33. smiley wrote:

    So basically, you are chassidish if your ignorant,insulting,intolerant and unemployed. Maybe someone should offer these “yungeleit” some work so they can be more productive.

  • 34. Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:

    The author writes

    “it represented a move away from sanctity found in the communities of Monsey, Williamsburg, Boropark and “even” Flatbush.”

    Look where Darkei Noam and tolerance got us – its time we take a no nonsense approach like Borough Park and Williamsburg.

    Say what you want, the bottom line is that their Machane is pure and holy, one that the Shechina can rest in.

    V’hoyo Machanecho Kodosh

  • 35. disgusted wrote:

    How dare these individuals come into a place of business where people from in and outside of the community are trying to enjoy a peaceful meal.How dare they spew hateful, foul speech at anyone let alone towards women whom they do not know and shouldn’t be looking at! How dare they justify their behavior by quoting Torah and the Rebbe! Let them stay inside, eat in their own kitchens and look at their own wives. Let everyone else who has a life be respected and loved as any other decent human being who is minding their own business!!!

  • 36. CK wrote:

    Excellent Op Ed. I would also note that this is America and no one owns the streets or other people’s shops and anyone is free to live in Crown Heights or open a business there. Anyone is free to walk on the streets of Crown Heights. That means when you insult someone on the street, you don’t know if its a Lubavitcher or if its a visitor just beginning to explore frumkeit or a gentile. It also means that if you are going to live in NYC, you have to learn to avert your eyes if there is something you believe you cannot see without being led astray.

    The schluchim and their families spend lots of time with people dressed in shorts, tank tops, no stockings, mixed seating at functions, etc. and somehow they maintain the highest standards. I suggest that the people who think that public reproof is the way to effect change spend some time volunteering at a chabad house and learn from the schluchim.

  • 37. Crown Heightser wrote:

    To Pinchos b e b a h,

    I visit The Basil Restaurant everyday. Never have I heard kol isha and never has a staff member served me that wasn’t dressed tzniusdig. Halevai the dress code of lubavitchers should be as the dress code of Basil staff. Perhaps you are not familiar with today’s jewish music and you mistakenly identified what you heard as non jewish. Perhaps you are not being honest and are attempting to push your agenda with non truths. What behooves me is instead of concentrating your efforts on making the tzniyus in and around the shul appropriate, you cross over Eastern Parkway and wait for a patron to arrive so that you can harass with your offensive behavior, offensive to halacha, offensive to chabad and offensive toward mentchlichkiet. KOL HAPOSEL BMUMOI POSEL.

  • 38. Love Basil wrote:

    Happens to be that Basil plays Chabad Music which to some sounds like rock or jazz. Not my personal taste, but not goyish at all.

  • 39. shana rishona wrote:

    I was stopped by the ringleader once when I was with my husband and asked why I didn’t work harder so my husband could go to kollel. He suggested that I try and get paid the pitiful sum I made for working 9 hour days off the books so we could get medicaid and food-stamps so my husband wouldn’t have to work.

    Seriously? I am thoroughly not impressed with the actions of this group of young men.

  • 40. Shaindy wrote:

    Mottel, thank you for your article. I think you did a wonderful, wholesome job. You brought in multiple angles and backed them all up.

    I do not excuse my being lax about Tznius. I used to be very careful. But lately, I took off my stockings. I wish I had the Koyach to keep them on all the time.

    I regret that I don’t yet have the inner strength from learning. I don’t blame my husband for noticing how attractive women are with less on. But I care what my husband thinks and says. Therefore, if he told me he was attracted to me much more when dressed completely Tznius, that would give me all the Koyach I need.

  • 41. Moishe wrote:

    these are not zealots!
    they are Misnagdim garbed in the clothes of Chassisim!

  • 42. A mashpiah - with panache. And gayveh. wrote:

    BH that this is being discussed. It’s a farbrengen on-line, without the inhibitions of a face to face farb. where everyone tries to either put on a face or hide the face (often by throwing “sand” in other peoples eyes.)

    Some points from a ponderer:
    1. Perhaps this group might accomplish more in the barbershop by educating him (or clients) about the lav-d’oraysa in cutting sideburns too short. Unfortunately there is serious ignorance in our midst as to the difference between peyos hazakan – the beard – where the d’oraysa clicks in because a shaven face is like a beged isha. With the sideburn-peyos it is the actual peya. How careful people in other mitzvos treat peyos harosh so cavalierly, is probably based on a misunderstanding in the words of Reb Chaim Vital about the Arizal. His point was not to leave them too long so that they don’t blend int the beard (tikuney dikna). In that alone there also appears to be a misunderstanding. Among various other chassidim, the meaning of the “blending” refers to south of the jawbone (from a Russian chassidus and a Hngarian I have heard independantly that south of the jaw-bone is not peya but “shvantz”!)

    2. So few here seem to realize that there is a difference between someone heading “in” and someone heading “out”. In to yiddishkeit; out from yiras shomayim. Let us drop the use of the term “chassidishkeit” because it is a term so used and misused that it can be meaningless. (“He is a chassidisher bochur” as a description for a shiduch is meaningless. Imagine if the person giving it would say “He is a y’rey shomayim.” How much more resonance.) [Digression: There was a family with a serious problem in the ‘50’s, who went to every Rebbe on the globe for a yeshuah. And it happened. Someone asked one of the Rebbe’s “So whose moyfess will it be?” “The one who has the most (vocal) chassidim.” “In truth, it is the moyfess of the Bashefer, but he has very few Chassidim.”]

    3. The Rebbe was very tolerant. Yes? With those in his immediate circle? Think about it. Tolerance is to be mekarev someone facing inward (or at least neutral). Someone heading outwards, where we see them from behind (graphically at times), how do you switch their chosen direction? The situation nowadays calls for a nuanced approach. A young member of the family is heading out – he/she needs to pay a price. Yet he/she needs to feel welcome back when/if the time comes. My suggestion to families has been: Designate the mekarvim. The merachkim must also be there – people who mean something to the “deserter”.. Leave shulchan aruch? Pay a price.

    4. Somehow a misconception has wheedled its way into the fabric of our (Lubavitcher) chassidishe derech. The husbands should be the ones who tell their wives how to dress. (a) By that time it is usually late; (b) The chinuch of bnos-yisrael has always been (and is) from the mother. (c) What does a chassidisher bochur know of the female anatomy and the appropriate/inappropriate display of curvature (pardon.) [Disgression: Overheard the following between husband and wife of some 50 years. “How come” she asks, “the chassidishe bocurim are marrying the more attractive girls?” “Is that really so?” he asked. “Yes.” “Oh, I guess I wasn’t so chassidish back then.” She also enjoyed the joke.]

    5. It used to be that a y’rey shomayim (of all stripes and colors) would look downward while walking in the street. Nowadays this avoids nothing – and only offers an education in the colors of nail-polish (pardon, again.) In my books this is an infringement on my right to walk in the street like a y’rey shomayim should. Or in the “liberal-progressive vernacular, an invasion of my privacy (daled amoss)”.

    6. We can only hope and pray, that for the yiras shomayim levels of Crown Heights, a true yorei shomayim, articulate, with good humor, knowledgable in veltisheh things, emerges as the 3rd rov in Ellul.

  • 43. a guy from flatbush wrote:

    lack of tznius = lack of yiras shomayim = lack of hashem’s protection = increases (R”L) of tragedies = increases the length of golus = pain, suffering etc. etc.

    any questions?

  • 44. This is Tznius? wrote:

    While I a,m the first to say that something must be done about the womens tznius in the community it must be pointed out that these men who re pointing out the flaws are acting in a manner just as untzniusdik. I know its hard to miss when girls flaunt themselves all over but really??? A man making a comment about it?Its pretty much on -par with getting a whistle frm the goyim who are working on the street fixings.(even if they are doing it Bshaim Shomayim”

  • 45. Not the place of any man wrote:

    It is not the place of any man to tell a woman how to dress. Period!
    If my memory serves me correctly, the rebbe tried to inforce a block shiur, and block mashpios to work with the women of their blocks. Much has been done through this method. At this point I think that system has deteriorated.
    As the rebbe mentioned many times when a woman dresses in a fashion not befitting her, she is crying out for attention. The system offers very little for young women today.

    When I took my psychology classes we learned that little boys pull the hair of little girls. At first glance it seems as the boys are angry a the girls. However they do so to create a relationship. As they dont have the means to approach them and talk to them. I believe these ringleaders, also want to approach the young women and talk to them, but would be put in a bad light, and hurt his personal relationships.

    I wonder what the wife of this ringleader thinks???

  • 46. to #43 and 28 wrote:

    43 100000% right

    28 why cant the vaad of bais rivkah make the same rule that bnos menachem made – when you pick up your daughter from school and you dont have socks or you are wearing a short
    skirt you find another school?????????????


  • 47. THE REAL STORY wrote:

    i think basil is awesome and just because it attracts a modern crowd as well doesnt mean we have to demonstrate and get them shut down yes the music and tznius could be better but i understand these same guys from kollel actually spoke to them and they responded positively and said they would work on it and more if need be as they know their majority of customers are from c.h. but once some guy came and screamed at them in an unorderly disgusting way and then these guys came and acted out of line what do u expect?????

    The truth is they cant have complaints to the restaurant, really such establishments should be required by us as a community to have OUR hashgocho and they could then enforce such standards the fact that we dont have our own hashgacha etc shows we have a deeper problem – NO (RESPECT FOR OUR) RABBONIM AND NO COMMUNITY!! if these yungerleit want to make a difference they have to start at the root of the problem and of course act with sechel

  • 48. Love Basil wrote:

    In the name of “spiritual indignation” these young men are acting wild in the streets.
    Can someone please get them jobs! How do they have time for this???

  • 49. Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:


    I am not a patron of Basil and I am therefore not familiar with their practices(although I did hear live jazz music being played there the other night)however, It was my understanding that you were describing Basil when you wrote “Thus an establishment that plays non-Jewish music or kol isha, and is staffed by people who dress and act inappropriately”.

    In any event,you wrote this article to embarrass these yungerlite (instead of approaching the “ringleader” Bidarkei Noam) because you realize that this is a powerful tool to get them to stop what they are doing.

    The same strategy applies to the Tznius problem – the majority of the violators (I am not talking about those that are rebellious – they are a different parsha) would think twice before they dressed untzniusdik if the community were to have a no nonsense policy with regards to matters of Tznius and yiras shomayim – these people are to be shunned.

    Our problem is that not enough people have this view (thats why I am taking the time to comment although I do not usually leave comments) and it is therefore not as effective.

  • 50. Line of Sight wrote:

    While modesty is important, I always wonder how young men brought up with chassidus manage to notice all of the immodest dress on the street. I was taught to turn avert the eye when something visually questionable comes into my line of sight. It would be one thing if a group of women were stopping other women for lack of modesty – we could discuss the merits of that. But seriously guys, keep your eyes pointed where they belong (if I have to spell it out, that means away from women who you’re not married to).

  • 51. Moishe wrote:


    Your reply to Sick is realy a reply to youself. You are ready to live in a comunity that is ussur to live in al pi shulchon oruch.

    Instead of dealing with the situation you will artfully attack those who are trying do deal with a complex situation. Blame someone who after thirteen years wherby you and your age group let the situation get worse and worse til its is fully out of control. These yougeleit finaly stood up and said the truth because of your age groups silence now there is no choice.

    CHtsrs are not tinok shnesboh they are Mumor letaovoin or as is evident from some of the comments here they are Mumor lehacis there is no need to be nice to a mumor lehachis.

    Abdrabah go ahead be nice be mekarev them lets see what you can acomplish ker a velt get something going but just an empty article altough well written is only encourging unfrum behavior.

  • 53. Pinched wrote:

    I think that we need to channel our resources into our base. We are funding shluchim around the world (and we should), sending our leaders to build schools and JCC’s out in every corner of the world, yet on our corners, kids aren’t quite sure why they’re frum. if we would invest in paying our teachers more, and building our infrastructure, we’d be sending out many more shluchim, because we would be empowering our children. Kids today have an option to be not so chassidishe. What reasons are we giving them to stay passionate, to be chassidshe to stay in the loop. What allure do we have. Why can’t yiddishkiet, and chassidishkiet be fun, interesting, exciting. I feel that we sometimes get sidetracked with all of the restrictions and prohibitions that we forget to share our joy and passion for yiddishkiet. I am not very chassidishe, but it does pinch a little to see our schuna in a state of anarchy.

  • 54. Mashpiyah again... wrote:

    Mottel #31:

    You hit the nail on the head – and your own nail in the process.

    In this matter they are just as ignorant as the frie yid that knows he ought to marry a Jew, but does not. v’haraya: ‘most all of these ladies would never think of giving their children a teddy bear or some other non-kosher animal. If they truly new better about their dress, wouldn’t they not bother with other such hiddurim of chabad? Rather, these ladies are unable to bridge the chasm between what they know intellectually, and their actions. What is more – many of these ladies do NOT know better.

    Hello! Not giving their kids a teddy bear they keep? Where otside of Chabad do you even find that in the yiras shomayim sphere? Pictures of the Rebbe dangling in the crib? You can be sure they do that too.

    But that IS THE problem. Chinuch in Chabad has focused on chitzoynidikeh things which the Rebbe intended to ADD to the basics. BUT because the Rebbe said it is kodesh kadashim. The shulchan aruch of the Ribbono Shel Olam – well we can circumvent some of that.

    IMHO, when LUbavitch became a noun – as opposed to an adjectve describing what kind of yid – then the careening began. “I’m Lubavitch. You’re Jewish. A poylisher….”

  • 55. frustrated wrote:

    BTW- it’s not so easy to just pick up and leave CH, I’ve been trying to do it for more than 15 years and I’m still stuck here..“wish this place was normal!”

  • 56. Yiddishemama wrote:

    I don’t live in New York. Our children attend a chassidish type cheder.
    All parents need to sign an agreement that:
    1. No TV in the home
    2. No Internet use for kids & a filter for parents
    3. Mother to dress tznius ( here basic halachos are added including all hair being covered)
    4. Fathers to dress in long pants & appropriate shirts.
    The school also has a uniform & all girls are to wear tights all year round & not socks.
    The girls learn halochos of tznius at a early age this includes the beauty & privillige of
    Being a bas Yisroel.
    Guess what, there are no tznius issues not for parents & not for daughters.
    Tznius is a sign of self respect, teach the kids the beauty & halachos. My daughter doesn’t even want to wear long socks at home. Tznius for us is a non issue.

  • 58. fakewood wrote:


    have you learned any of the rebbes sichos when he was talking to unzerhe. love is great and all but sometime tough love is necessary. it is very clear that the rebbe had a way to deal with people who are not yet frum as opposed to the people in crown heights. otherwise why do we have sichos kodesh and likkutei sichos.

  • 59. member of Crown Heights wrote:

    The work of these zealots I not the Chabad way.

    The Rebbe writes in HAYOM YOM (26 Iyar):

    The Mitzvah “You shall rebuke” is preceded by the words “You shall not hate your brother,” for this is a precondition for the rebuke.
    The Torah continues, “…and you shall not ascribe sin to him,” for if the rebuke was ineffectual, you are certainly the one responsible, for yours were not words coming from the heart.

  • 60. Also a flatbush guy wrote:

    To 43:

    Please, the golus iz shver un bitter enough without you making equations for the Ribono Shel Oilam. you don’t seem qualified enough to say boyou vnachshov chesbono shel oilom.


    Stop reffering to him as the “ringleader” his name is Shalom Ber Mendelson.

    If he see’s YOUR WIFE or YOUR DAUGHTER or YOUR SISTER on the street and he doesnt like how their dressed he will scream at her and call her a s&%t and other nasty names.

    I have seen him scream and curse at a young girl in front of a large crowd – I didnt even notice the girl wasn’t Tznius – the girl walked away crying. I dont think there is any chance she will dress more tznisdik in the future.

  • 63. esther wrote:

    shaindy,it’s a big problem if you don’t blame/hold your husband responsible for noticing other women.that’s a terrible infringement on the kedusha of your marriage and of the respect your husband should have for you and that you should have for yourself.this is just another geder being broken in the downward slide of tzneeus and plain mentschlichkait of our times.

  • 64. Jewish Woman wrote:

    Look, ringleaders and zealots aside, you gotta ask yourself, what in the world has happened to Crown Heights?

    I lived in CH some twenty odd years ago, and there were no zealots, and no tznius police. Zealotry is a stop gap measure, and is usually counterproductive.

    But having said that: It is absolutely mind-boggling what has happened to Crown Heights! There is no busha – everything and anything goes.

    As a community, are you all saying that this is all okey dokey? For G-d’s sake, this ain’t flatbush – this is the Rebbe’s shchunah!

    It is ok to have rampant znus in the streets????? Where is the self respect? Where is the class?

    Yes, yes, yes, the message must be internalized.
    Yes, yes, yes, education is the key.

    But something is off, something is dead wrong! You have a huge spiritual vacuum in the shchunah. And in a vacuum, without leadership, you will have zealotry.

    End of story.

    Are zealots good? No. They are counterproductive; but they are a natural outcome of the horrendous spiritual emptiness and lack of leadership emanating from Crown Heights. So, while it is an issue, it is not the problem, only a symptom of a very spiritual emptiness, a total abnegation of leadership and wanton disregard for Jewish law and Jewish tradition.

    And that is the issue that must be addressed in an article, not some poor misguided but well meaning zealots.

  • 65. :( wrote:

    fantastic article!

    I’m a lubavitcher gal who lives outside crown heights and I’m always shocked by what I see in terms of tznius whenever i have the chance to visit. Of course this issue isn’t limited to crown heights, but to see it specifically happening in the Rebbe’s shchuna, in the place where there is the largest concentration of lubavitcher chassidim, is just depressing.

    I’ve always equated the issue of tznius for women with the issue of trimming beards for men. It’s obvious that both issues concern the display of physical appearances. In my opinion those girls that have the desire to dress untznius or the men that have the desire to trim their beards put their looks before their chassidishkeit (and even, as many will correctly argue, their frumkiet). This focus on making sure we’re hip enough to fit in with the outside world is just plain sad. Why are we so blind to the fact that we’re truly lucky to be different and separate from “them”?

    I’m not a man, but I’m sure there are ways to keep ones beard neat without having to trim it. Even if you can’t keep it neat, just read what’s written by the Baba Sali and other great tzaddikim on what zchusim are offered to those who maintain a full beard. And we all know there are ways for ladies to be completely and totally fashionable and “with it” without having your skirt reveal parts of you that no one wants to see. Ultimately, we’re too focused on ourselves. It’s the selfishness that’s ruining our lubavitch community at large.

  • 66. A bochur wearing blue jeans wrote:

    Lets see how far these Terrorist chinuch go with their own children. Odds are there children will be doing alot worse then Wearing s mini skirt once they grow up in a home full of hate and closed mindness.
    BTW This is America even here in crown heights one is free to dress how they want. (though im sure you all think CH belongs to you)
    Iran may be a better place for these batlonim to live.

  • 67. Tee Ess wrote:

    Very, very well written piece. I enjoyed the whole read.

    There’s great perversion and abuse (“using the Torah as an ax”) in the “rebuke” mitzva.

    From a personal perspective and also from what I’ve heard from many others – if your objective is that I do as you think I should, the last thing you should do is try to intimidate me, force your opinion or will on me, etc.

    If you think I dress untzniusdik, TOO BAD. If you don’t like my store, DON”T COME IN.If you think I should not wear shorts, not cut my beard, cover my head, I DON’T CARE. How I chose to apply or not apply Torah and Jewish customs is MY BUSINESS. Your opinion that I’m making a hole in your boat is YOUR OPINION ONLY.

    When the Jews run the world, and the Sanhedrin rule behaviour, and you get elected as its police, I will consider your opinion. Until then, Crown Heights is in New York of the US, where I am free to act according to my desires as they confrom to US law. How I act as it conforms to Torah is god’s business.

    But the talibanists – in Gaza, Iran and Crown Heights – would like to believe they are god too.

    Just because I’m Jewsih or appear to belong to the same cult as you, doesn’t permit you to treat me as your peer or subordinate.

    In matters of man-and-god – meaning everything that these wannabe talibanists wish to govern – keep your efforts at improvement between you and the mirror.

    Want to better your fellow Jew’s lot beofre he asks you for your help? Pay his grocery bill. He didn’t ask for and doesn’t need your advice on his dress code.

    Yes, yes. You think you know better than him what’s better for him than what he knows. Move to Monroe, you’ll feel better there.

  • 68. concern resident wrote:

    I would like to hear comments from young ladies that live in CH send their kids to our schools and feel free to do as they wish in regards to tznius. I would like to hear their story maybe we can understand thier actions of being disrespectfull to the Rebbes schunoh and their fellow jews. If we don’t let them know of their wrong doing they will feel accepted and abuse it. If we keep quiet others will be dragged into it. Kids look after their parents what type of kids are we growing chas vesholom! In other neighborhoods you don’t see it becasue they feel out of place so they leave, here they don’t have this problem. I don’t know much about Basil but I can’t imagine such type of restaurant opening up in Boro Park, is (real) Lubavitch lower in chsidishe frume standards?
    I don’t like at all the writter saying that the way we dress (short jackets, hats etc) is a sign of adapting to the modern world we just dress this way because our Rebbe did it and chas vesholom saying that on the Rebbe.
    Regarding beard trimming we cant compare it with the impact of untznius dressing.

  • 69. To the author wrote:

    First, let me congratulate you for a well-written piece.

    I do, however, differ in some crucial points which you have stated.

    Very few mashpi’im are qualified to explain what exactly “the Rebbe implied” in many of his Sichos, whether our approach to “unzere” is strong and abrupt or “Bedarchei Noam”, all I can say is that the Rebbe many times came down very hard on “unzere”, many times raising his tone and speaking very harshly. But the Rebbe would never come down hard on a “fremde”. I am not qualified to decide, so let us focus on the facts:

    Looking back, there have been plenty of programs, gatherings, rallies, farbrengens, get-togethers and campaigns about Tznius, MOST of which were “Bedarchei Noam”.

    Now, let me ask you: do you see any noticeable change?

    Yes, there are probably a few girls here and there that have become inspired and have decided to dress Tznius, but we are addressing the majority, and so I ask: do you see any change?

    Now, an energetic and brave young Kollel Yungerman comes along, and gathers together a few other brave Yungerleit from Kollel, who take on a daring mission and launch a strong, blunt and straightforward campaign for Tznius, and let me tell you, I SEE CHANGE.

    I am personally not involved in this “Kollel posse”, but I know the “ringleader”, and I can confidently say that he is a kindhearted, warm young man.

    As you have mentioned, there is a problem with the chinuch now, and a great danger looming ahead if we don’t fix it.

    I have not done anything to help the Tznius problem, so I will not speak against those who are energetic and take the initiative. If you have not done anything either, I suggest you do the same.
    Even if they are doing it to “preserve themselves”, they are doing it nontheless. (although I personally believe that they are doing it with the best intent.)

    To all those smart comments suggesting that “men shouldn’t be looking”: With all due respect, which planet are you from? Hashem has given us eyes, and we SEE! Just as we can see where we are going, we can see an obvious human being. There is a famous story brought down about a great sage (maybe Rabba, but the name escapes me as I write this) who tore off a garment from a woman in the street because it was immodest. Why not ask your brilliant question there? “He shouldn’t have been looking!”.

    To all those suggesting that this is “a free country”: you know what? You are right! And that is exactly why we can tell you to dress Tznius.

    I work hard on loving and respecting each and every Jew, but sometimes the love must be tough love.

    May Moshiach come speedily, and save us from this mess.

  • 70. CH wrote:

    1. How women dress is none of the mens’ buisness.

    2. If it is not “chassidish” to eat in a restaurant because they can’t be as frum as your own home, then I guess it’s not “chassidish” to buy store products beacuse the factories are not as frum as our homes.

    Seriously! Get a life!

  • 71. ss wrote:

    omg people get a life and stop looking at other men’s wives! but more seriously, isn’t the whole idea of shlichus to immerse ourselves in the world and spread kedusha? how can we do that if we can’t get past the skirt lengths?

    my personal opinion has always been that lubavitch is so busy searching for shlichus outside the community that they cannot recognize that they need to start with their own. and now it’s hitting hard.

  • 72. The Chabad Way is with Kindness and Joy wrote:

    To comment number 11, nice story ,but it never happened. When the Rebbe went to visit his mother, he always walked on the other side of the street on Kingston from wlcc. When a teenager came to the Rebbe on Sundays with a not proper T shirt with picture of not a rightous person on it,the Rebbe would gently make a comment to change it. Give the ringleader pages to give out to woman in a tactful well written way about the importance of modesty. In a mammer in Dereck Mitsvosakah from the Tsemach Tsedek he writes that there are people who claim to do things for the sake of heaven but are really doing it because of their own negative personality traits. When Crown Heights gets a third Rav, the community will have a healing and begin to build itself up. Everyone should do their part by being a living example.

  • 73. Mottel wrote:

    -Fakewood: please quote them and we shall discuss.
    -Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen: The more you write, the more I realize your name may be alluding to Sota 22b!

    My article was not made to embarrass anyone – I asked the “ringleader” a legitimate question and he flipped on me. He is incredibly confrontational when he speaks, he insulted me with character attacks, and only stopped when the manager told him to back off. I can only hope that my article serves as a “powerful tool” to bring a wanted change in Crown Heights.

    I’m sorry, but a policy of intimidation and vigilantism is not the solution we need. At the protest I was told that such a restaurant would have its windows smashed in other communities . . . Implied in their words was the very clear desire for such a disgusting act to happen here as well.
    The world today has taken on a very Hungarian attitude towards Judaism – gone are the paths of the Ba’al Shem Tov and even Litvishe Yeshivos of yore – instead there is an attitude of vigilantism and “chadash asur min hatorah.” While I am not one to judge other communities, perhaps it would behoove us to stick to our own derech, as explained by our rebbeim. I digress . . .

    Please tell me one story of a girl positively changing her dress from the comments of these yungeleit!

    -Moishe: I have made no artful attacks. I have merely expressed my dismay with what I see to be a cruel and frankly impractical approach to what is indeed a serious problem. It is precisely because the situation is so “complex” that I suggest a more nuanced and practical way of addressing the issue. The actions of these zealots, when at their most extreme, are about as practical as trying to kill a mosquito with a sledge hammer.

    -Mashpiyah: Gutt Gezogt! In the original article I did indeed expound further on the need to expunge the word ‘chassidish’ from our vocabulary. As a bochur I keenly recall a classmate tell me that certain girl wouldn’t touch him because she was “chassidish!” Ribono shel Olam! Far too many of the younger generation are unable to differentiate between halacha, minhag, and chassidish’keit. Due to their ignorance, everything is considered a chassidisher chumrah, then dismissed under the statement “Nu, I’m not chassidush!”

  • 74. Aviva wrote:

    Tznius has its laws, but it is each defined and internalized by each woman who chooses for herself to observe the modesty laws. In fact, a close friend of mine chose to stop wearing her shaitel because she said she feels naked in it. We each internalize our level of modesty differently. After all, we’re talking about some groups who think that if the woman doesn’t shave her head and wearing stockings with a black line in them that she’s a not Tznius, right? Covering up a women in 100 degree weather while men walk around in short sleeve shirts is ridiculous! Of course, we should all dress conservatively in shul. And some women do dress immodestly, but its their choice. Victorian literature showed excitement over a glimpse of ankle, and a lock of hair. So even a black tent in hiding much may be, ‘exciting in what it reveals. Going to a beach in summer is a good turn off. Nothing like a bikini to reveal all the unexciting folds of flesh normal women have, and unless they hold themselves like a model nobody looks. I’ve seen a religious girl whistled at in the street by males from a passing car when she was wearing a frilly long sleeved top and a dark full skirted mid calf length skirt. Males need to think on higher things than womens clothes I love how it’s on the WOMEN to cover up, not on the MEN to avert their eyes or control their own impulses. As a woman, I do choose modest clothes as defined in my culture, and I understand that as cultures differ so the definition of “modest” clothing differs. However, attitude is far more effective than any dress code. Instead of just scolding the women for being “provocative”, how about also encouraging the men to practice restraint in their thoughts and glances? A man’s thoughts become his words, and his words become his actions, right? Stop the thoughts. I do think a lady should be modest, by all means. But don’t blame societal problems on men not being as discrete with their eyes and thoughts as they expect women to be with their dress. I personally believe, as is written in many places, that Hashem is kind and would not bring tragedy on people simple because of the length of their skirt or sleeves. I don’t understand why emphasis is on the external (style of dress), and not not encourage people to be more honest and caring between ourselves. Yes, one should use common sense when going out in public, but let’s face it- we all have our own interpretation of the word “modesty”.

  • 75. Kvuda Bas Melech wrote:

    One big problem with tznius that wasn’t really addressed too much in this article is this. Even many of the chassidishe women and girls are too lax in tznius. In other words they are just barely getting by with their tznius. Their dresses are just just enough to be tznius. These chassidishe women and girls should be wearing clothes that are for sure kosher and not wearing something which is just just enough. The chassidishe women and girls have to be the ones to lead the pace and set the standard for all other women and girls. They should not be stretching tznius to its outer limits. This also means to minimize wearing those dresses that are long enough but are body forming clothes. and I fully agree with the article written. This should mostly be done by the women and girls and for the women and girls.

  • 76. the time has come wrote:

    The attitude of “live and let live” has to stop, this is not park slope. We are a chassidshe community that abides by shulchan aruch, and there are some things that are not acceptable, and should not be tolarated.

    Whatever can be done to stop these things should be done, learn from pinchas.

  • 77. the guy from flatbush wrote:

    The only ones who have problems with tznius are the ones who don’t follow it. Why? Because they want to show the world how they can dress and act like the goyim and shiksas featured on People and other goyishe magazines, and yet, they can still be considered “chassidishe yungeleit with panache”?!
    They are NOT the outdated, boring stereotypes from yesteryear – they are “happening” they are “hot”!
    You know what? When a yiddishe frum woman follows the rules of our holy Torah, she is more elegant than any queen or glamourous movie star you can find anywhere! Who and what are you emulating? Ah meshugener shiksa like britney spears & paris hilton?! Are these stupid idiot goyim YOUR role models?
    Are these morons more important to you than L’HAVDIL ELEF HAVDOLOS – all the heiliger teierer tzidkoiniois that made us who we really are?! Does this filth define “beauty & glamour”?!

  • 78. S.B. Mendelson wrote:

    Mendelson should be arrested for harassment the next time he lets his foul mouth loose. That said, the problem with tznius is bigger in our community than other frum chassidishe areas, we know that. The reasons are many, after gimmel Tammuz we as a community have been slipping and understandably so since we were left as orphans with no leader and of course the machloikas over the last few years didn’t help either. We certainly need a leader at the helm. We certainly need to bring any and all machloikas to an end. As someone wrote, any mother’s coming to school to either pick up or drop off their children and not dressed accordingly (mini-skirts, skirts with slits, blouse just barely covering the top of chest etc.etc) will need to find a new school for their children (out of the neighborhood probably). We need to create a Vaad Hatznius that will call up parents and grandparents of women dressing in an un-tznius way and have parents and or grandparents bring pressure to bear on these females. But Mendelson’s way isn’t the way.

  • 79. it comes down to this wrote:

    i have a none Jewish African American neighbor who not long ago made a comment to me saying that he sees the difference between the days in ch before gimmel tamuz and how it is today with regard to two things. the cars people are driving and the way the women are dressed…………….!!!!!
    we need our rebbe!!!!

  • 80. Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:


    After rereading you article and comments Ive concluded that you are living in a world of theory.

    You describe in theory how restaurants are not for Chasidishe yiden but then go on to say that you’ve been to Basil a half dozen times. In theory, “by means of building a personal relationship and showing that their message came from a place of love” is a great way to be mekarev another yid. However , in practice in OUR community, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The problem we are facing is too large to be dealt with in the fashion you recommend. We cannot wait till there is a personal relationship before we try and influence. Every day more and more of our youth are being Porek Ol, we have lost our sense of bushe – everything goes.

    We have to stop this epidemic by treating it like leprosy. anyone found to have this “disease” must be “quarantined” – the message needs to be sent that they are not part of our community and are not welcomed here. It works in other communities and it will work in Crown Heights.

    Sure, you will distance some but you will save tons more. the instructions give by the rebbe to Tomchei Tmimim were to never send anyone away – as long as they are not having a bad influence on someone else. As soon as someone starts to be a negative influence he/she has to be dealt with in the strongest way possible.

    Another problem is your attitude towards the severity of the issue. Although you criticize the tznius epidemic – you dont seem to realize that tznius for a women is just as important as shabbos and kashrus. I am sure that if a frume store owner decided to keep his shop open on shabbos, you would not be preaching love.

    You choose to use your writing skills to write about misguided efforts than to focus on the more important larger issue

  • 81. Moishe wrote:

    I wonder why the Rebbe was not msader kidushin for Kallahs who would not commit to wearing a shaitel.

    wouldnt it be much smarter aproach to be nice to them. Why was he so extreme and intolerent he should’ve been msader kidushin then speak to the kallah after all in those days no frum girl wore a shaitel.

    Then taking off the name of Lubavitch only because the moised played not the most chasidishe song by a dinner at the request of a big supporter. whats the big deal a little jazz would’ve been mekarev the suporter and make his kids frum.

    Is this the same Lubavitcher Rebbe that all are quoting here???

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe stood for good old fashioned Torah.

    We have become the laughing stock of Flatbush the people there make jokes at the way our Mothers and Daughters dress.

    Lets wake up and realize that we are losing more and more children because of the chinuch we have been giving correcting this and standing up to this new Lubavitch is the only choice

  • 82. Why? wrote:

    What I really would like to know is WHY? Why do the women dress the way they do? Why do they have blatant disrespect for the Chabad traditions? Why are they dressing to attract men? What is wrong with their penimiyos that they have to express it in their chesronios? Even the young boys are noticing and commenting. Why are they showing off to all men what is meant to be only for their husbands to see? And why don’t the husbands care that their wives are showing off areas that are meant to be private? Are we turning into Sodom? I have no married children yet but I am advising my boys that a wife that dresses to attract other men is not a wife that they would want. What she is advertising is meant for her husbands eyes only. Can someone please just tell me why?

  • 85. Tziidkiyah wrote:

    We live in a community to preserve our heritage and tradition. To influence “the community” from the outside world is a very wrong thing to do and is totally inappropriate.
    And to have goyim work there wearing magen dovids only adds insult to injury.
    Go to Manhattan if you want to hang out Mr Gurrary and fulfil your Tavos there.
    Someone who runs a kaviYocol lubavitcher girls mosod should know better on the subject of Tzinius than to want to eat in a restaurant among Goyim.

  • 86. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree with Aviva and I also think it’s in poor taste to publicly out Basil but actually, now I’d rather support them.

    It’s disgusting to me how much of a focus there is on tznius because in doing so, really, you’re objectifying women. You’re reducing them to hemlines and sleeve lengths.

    In case you haven’t noticed, it has been extremely hot, muggy and uncomfortable outside to the point of feeling like one can’t breathe. I’d sooner take a shorter skirt and showing my elbows than suffering a heat stroke. Last week, I tried to stay modest and went through three clothing changes per day. It’s not easy to afford.

    Instead of judging someone, be kind, mind your own thoughts. We’re individuals with various levels of comfort.

  • 87. to #85 wrote:

    nonsense from beginning to end. tznius is not a culture, it’s our religion, our way of life. You really need to get your priorities straight.

  • 88. MMB wrote:

    You are so wrong Aviva #85, you say “we all have our own interpretation of the word modesty”, WRONG, there’s only one TORAH. When a woman dresses provocatively that’s not called modesty by any stretch of the imagination, so let’s be real here. To thyself (at least) be honest. Wearing mini skirts or skirts with slits that divulge the thighs every step she takes or visible cleavage is totally unacceptable in the Rebbe’s shcunah or in any frum chassidishe community.

  • 89. Atrocious is an understatement wrote:

    All the young, married women with the issues of Tznius that is being discussed here are not even reading this article! They simply do NOT care, it’s not an issue for them, not even a thought – this is just the way they behave! The fact that they do dress this way shows that they have Chutzpah and therefore just laugh at these men yelling at them – it will NOT make them change! I always wonder what they tell their children when they come home from Beis Rivkah? They wore tights all day and now they can strip? What are they teaching them? To be as chutzpadik as they are and their kids don’t have to follow rules or respect what they are being taught!
    I don’t see any difference with these zealots and the ‘tznius’ policeman in Bnos Menachem – I don’t understand why it has to be a male being the police. I love their policy, but can’t a women be the police and maybe have the male be in the enforcer?
    I cringe thinking what the world will be like when my children grow up. Our home is a chassidishe and tznius one, their friends are from those types of homes too, the question becomes when they get into High School and are more ‘aware’ of what is going on and become teenagers with their own thoughts… It’s just scary. We are trying so hard and the school is letting them and us down by not helping us along!
    I agree with the commentator who wrote that we should show them how excitement Yiddishkeit is and not just all the restriction which come with it!!! Mechanchim and Mechanchos – READ and LEARN and then ACT on this NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 90. Ilana Leeds wrote:


    Unless we want to emulate the Teheranites I think correct dress, behaviour and speech should be modelled. If a secular or semi religious woman is abused by a strange man or woman for dressing inappropriately, it is hardly going to endear the concept of tznuit to her.
    There are other ways, and chief above them is to be leaders by example and hold yourselves high and respect yourselves. Dress modestly, be clean of speech and actions, and speak well of others to the appropriate degree. Above all hold yourself with dignity, do demean yourself by cursing others in the street. How would the Rebbe have acted is what you should ask yourselves and proceed accordingly.

  • 91. Name withheld upon request wrote:

    Mottel correct me if i’m wrong, the commentators are largely missing the point of your article. The article is not about our terrible Tznius situation, or about the pros and cons of having a proper restaurant in our community. Those are external manifestations of a deeper rooted issue. The article is trying to tackle the underlying issue, the modernity and the apathy of our community, and the appropriate response. This is an intellectual and ideological war that must be fought in the schools and yeshivahs, and by leaders and askanim. Tackling the tznius issue is like placing a band aid on a burst artery. A nice portion of our community do not actively believe in frumme (and chabad) values. Screaming about their mode of dress will only make you hoarse not make them believers. I agree it will have an effect on people who do believe but are influenced by a growing sector of modern members of our community, however it will not solve the underlying problem and we will continuously have to fight.

    I agree with MOttel that Zealotry will accomplish nothing. Neither will talking accomplish much with the modern community. Talking will only help those caught in between. Those caught in the moment. And then only if they are receptive listeners. Our situation is extremely complex and neither approach is the correct and ultimate approach…

    What i do envision (and has evidently already begun) is a split community. Zealots and believers gradually increasing in frumkeit with their own chinuch and mosdos, and a sector of community on the road to modernization. Both sectors will fly the degel of Rebbe just as all sectors of lakewood, yeshivish and modern, fly the degel of torah and gedolim.

  • 92. To Pinched #53 wrote:

    Please write your own OPEN-ED. I do not think enough pl read what you wrote. Maybe yo can include th problems with our children’s chinuch. The boys schools have no one to talk to ..No chiyas nothing!!Did you ever hear what is happening in O.M.’s Mesivta???? This is the root of our problem, Your comment was well written and appreciated.

  • 93. Someone trying to live with love wrote:

    #28 – ship up or ship out? You should be ashamed of yourself – You have missed the meaning of the Rebbe’s entire work on us having ahavas Yisroel – regardless of where the person is at. Receiving everyone with love.
    Every Jew has their own journey – and we can not judge nor comprehend what someone else is going through!!
    AND how do you know that some of these people you are talking about are coming from outside and are not yet observant and you are putting them off coming.
    And if you you are concerned for your children – living selfishly is the worse example to set. When you live with fear teenagers sense it and they are far more likely to make mistakes.

  • 94. Mottel wrote:

    -To 83: Yes there have been many campaigns, rallies in the past. My proposed idea is one of personal interaction. Instead of a general, makif’dike action like a rally, speak to the people in your life that can improve. There are 92 comments on this article – most of them unique – if every one of us would make an effort to be personally m’kariv even two other people we know . . . think of the numbers!

    Please reread my previous comments to others as to the relative successes of the “pose” . . . What is more I can’t imagine you’ve seen a change in the dress on the street (Vis-à-vis their practice of insulting women)

    As to the Ringleader – perhaps you are confusing him with someone else. If he is indeed “kindhearted, warm young man,” please let him know that he should act as such in front of all people, not just his friends (k’yedua the torah of the Ramban about the kashrus of the Chasida v’dal). In me experience he has been belligerent and confrontational. He has attacked me on various occasions in the past upon even overhearing my discussion with others about the relative merits and flaws of protest.

    -88: Something tells me I know you in person. In any event: THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING MY ARTICLE AND GOING TO THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE! I can only differ on your conclusion – I honestly hope that it is not to late to heal these wounds and become a more cohesive community once more.

  • 95. Mottel wrote:

    -Pinchos: I must thank you once more for turning a conversation about our community once more into an analysis of my personality . . . But while you take an accounting for my world outlook and chassidish’keit, the streets of crown heights are on fire.

    But I digress, why try and bring change in a positive manner when we can shoot the messenger?

    I spoke about a personal experience, where I was insulted by
    members of the kolel when seeing their misguided attempt to change Basil (I’m sure even they will agree that it wasn’t their most shining hour). Is that theory? I have stories I’ve been heard from friends of my wife about the negative ramifications of the ringleader’s comments. Is that theory?
    The only theory that exists here is my statement that personal commitment and action on an individual case by case level is the way to go. But with no solution yet to be materialized, your ideas are as theoretical as mine.

    Let it be known that I am not excluding the idea of a tochecha. Rebuke has it’s place – with those that know I’m doing it from a place of love. I have friends – and in our private conversations I’ve voiced my personal feelings about their conduct. In the areas of my own shortcomings they have informed me of how to improve. All of this was done within the gedarim of perek 32 Tanya. As one Lubavitcher to another, I suggest that you look it up. It will do you some good.

    You, however, choose to continually attack me. You choose to discuss my eating habits and actions, and somehow use them in an effort to discredit me. Yes, I eat in restaurants. Yes, I am aware that it involves ta’avos ha’achila. But my personal avodah in ta’avos shel heter is mine alone. Please.

    To the changes made in the various stores: I will not deny that there has been some success in various problems – however, what that Kolel Yungeleit don’t understand is that the results they achieved could have been many times more successful had they not used intimidation as a tactic. Ask the store owners if they were happy to find out a petition had been passed around asking them to close up shop – with no effort made to previously approach them. One of the zealots told me that the very fact that a store owner was upset by being told that a boycott was being arranged against him without asking him to change first, was a sign that he was “Just plain wrong.” Perhaps you can teach them a little psych 101 and the basics of human dignity when you’re done analyzing me.

    Crown Heights is not like other communities – our demographics (number of Ba’alei Teshuvah, children of BTS etc) and attitudes differ greatly. For better or for worse our youth are more open minded and will not take kindly to the fear tactics used in places like Williamsburg. In truth, I doubt they work well in said communities either – they have their own demons to fight. It is not the forum to discuss the spiritual shortcomings of other communities, but let it suffice for the discussion that their own issues are just as severe v’dal.

    Again with your statements about my knowledge of different matters. If you know me so well, why don’t you approach me in person – I’d be glad to continue talking with you face to face.

    When a store opens on shabbos, contact me then and I’ll tell you how I feel about such things . . . right now we are discussing tznius.
    Lest you accuse me of being wishy-washy, I will tell you in brief: Please look at the historical precedent of tznius observance – Baruch Hashem we are on a higher level now then for the past several generations. Look at the pictures of the wives of some of the greatest Chassidim and Roshei yeshivos and see how many of them were careful with kesui harosh! (If you don’t believe my anecdotal evidence, then perhaps a mara makom will help: Look at the Aruch Hashulchan in hilchos krias shma – siman 72 if I recall correctly – where you can read all about the lack of tznius in Lita of yore).

    None of this is to imply a relative laxity for tznius, but rather to point out that there is (due to our many sins) ample precedent to breaches in tznius – in none of them have I seen them equated to chilul shabbos!

    Thank you for complementing my skills as a writer. I hope to continue using them in what I pray is the service of the Aibershter for many more years.

  • 96. Kingston onlooker wrote:

    Solution to the problem. Make a website or blog of Kingston avenue and put up pictures of any woman not dressed properly. No one wants there picture up so the whole world can see it

  • 97. Bobby The Policeman on Tznius Problem wrote:

    I was in front of 770 about a year ago when Bobby the cigar smoking plainclothes policeman who always stands around 770 as he watched one of our girls walk past 770 in a mini skirt, he shook his head in disgust and commented “the Rebbi would not be happy seeing this”. I asked him why he didn’t say something directly to her and he answered he “she’s liable to slap me in the face”.

  • 98. Leadership Now! wrote:

    Harassment does not work, period. No one now is on the level of a Pinchos and none of these issues is as serious (yet) as what Zimri did.

    What is needed is leadership, where it becomes clear that the people who lead the way are those who adhere to proper standards and not those who buy their way to leadership while showing off their often temporary or exaggerated, or even ill gotten, wealth.

    Oholei Menachem sent an awful message to the community in its recent choice of honoree, whereas our incoming Vaad haKohol chairman sent the right message when he said he would discuss his beard issue with the rabbonim. Hopefully he will be one of the true leaders who not only sets an example, but does so after realizing that his earlier practice was wrong.

    All it takes is for the most popular girls in every grade and the most admired women on every block to start doing things right and all will follow. And all it takes is for a real leader to emerge to get them to do this.

    As for Basil, out there on the fringes of the shechuna, the way to protest any real violations (if there are any – I don’t live in CH) is very simple – don’t eat there. In due time the management will figure out that they are losing customers – or they may find they are better off catering to an outside crowd, and so be it.

  • 99. Saddened but amused wrote:

    Nice article. Too bad the zealots won’t understand a single word of it.

  • 100. From a CH woman-s POV wrote:

    To “Mottel”

    I read your op-ed with great interest. I started reading the comments, but frankly, they were boring.

    Mine may not be much better, but I have a few points to make:

    1. Basil has been a bone of contention since it first opened. The question seemed to be, do we want a yuppie-type wine bar/restaurant/ “hang-out” in Crown Heights? Personally, I’ve never eaten there, but I have walked & driven past & it seems out-of-place for what is, essentially, an inner-city slum. Having said that, the new question is, is it a place of “immodesty”? Or is it somewhere new, different, & young? And therefore, is it just the latest or best place for young people to spend their evenings?

    I don’t know, but I am sick & tired of the WAY we approach Tznius & Shomer Negiah-type problems. Yes, these obnoxious & sadly, vociferous, Talibanisten make the situation far worse. And frankly, who appointed them the Tznius police? Who decided they have the right to bombard legitimate business owners with their narrow-minded strictures? One catches more bees with honey than with vinegar.

    2. Dress code…or lack of thereof. Again, I have to concur with your ideas, although must confess I have been guilty of being one of the “muttering under my breath brigade.” My only saving grace is that as a female it isn’t inappropriate, as it most definitely is for a man. Last year, I stopped a young girl on Shabbos to compliment her on her Tznius attire, despite the incredible heat. It was a positive exchange & we both ended up feeling good about the encounter.

    I don’t know what the answer is for this monumental problem. I would suggest that parents set examples & they put in place a policy whereby both mother AND daughter have to agree on what is acceptable. But harassing women & girls on the street isn’t working so far, is it?

  • 101. BeeTee wrote:

    #83, thank you so much. My thoughts exactly. And just to add,
    author writes in comment #93: “Crown Heights is not like other communities – our demographics (number of Ba’alei Teshuvah, children of BTS etc) and attitudes differ greatly.” Or now I get it! It’s because of baalei teshuva! If not for them CH would be like Willy and BP!

    Let me give you my BT take on it. BTs are here because of kedusha of CH shechuna. BTs are in Yiddishkeit for the truth. It’s not because we were born here and don’t know any better. It’s not cultural. It’s not because we want to please our parents. If we are in it, we are in it for the truth. We see how some FFBs are falling for all the goishkeit and we laugh.
    They think it’s cool. It’s not cool guys! It’s stupid! We want to look up to you, not laugh..

    BTs care about CH deeply. They’ve seen it all and came here to be with the Rebbe and his chassidim. They know exactly what good restaurant is, what good clothing is, what good books are, what good music is! Basil thinks what they play is good music.. Nu nu.
    BTs are desperate for some role models those days..

  • 102. a victim of SBM wrote:

    I am an early 20’s girl residing in ch and i will admit that im not the most adherent to the commandment of tzniut. i wasn’t born into a religious family like most here were, and i wasnt brought up with the strictest standards. i moved to this community trying to better myself and make it easier to keep shabbos and kosher. i dont walk around in mini skirts or shortslevved shirts although my clothes may be tight fitting i take pride in covering the parts of my body that are considered private. to my utter dismay i was approached by this “kind-hearted young man” and he questioned me as to how much i charge for my services as a prostitute. i didnt run off in tears but was disgusted of his tactics and lost much respect for the value he was preaching. i know i wasnt the only victim and i know that i wont be the last. but the manner of dealing with this issue is despicable! i may not have been raised with the strictest standards, but at least im a good person. at least my parents raised me to have ahavas yisroel no matter what and to bite your tongue when you have something nasty to say. i pray that SBM realizes the err of his methods and changes significantly before someones husband decides to take physical action against him.

    ps. in regard to basil i was the during sefira and they were playing music i simply walked over to the manager and told her kindly that it was making me, and probably other patrons as well, uncomfortable. guess what? the staff turned on niggunim and apologized!

  • 103. esther wrote:

    aviva,first of all you did’t
    have to use THAT word and secondly what you really need to understand and internalize is that tzneeus and indeed our entire lives is not about how we feel.thirdly please,please;please realize hat everything we do in public directly reflects upon are rebbe and right now with this situation the reflection is terrible.

  • 104. TO 16 wrote:

    Um, dress code on the parents? just a FRIENDLY reminder that this is a free country, not a totalitarian and I agree that tznius should be of the highest order, but it must come from free choice- not control!!!!

  • 105. To S.B Mendelson wrote:

    Does a Jewish child deserve to have less then the best education in Yidishkeit because of how his mother dressed? It’s a good thing your way is not the way:)

    – a friend

  • 106. To Pinchos Ben Elozor etc etc wrote:

    Can you give some examples where the Rebbe treated Yidden who were not acting frum as if they were “leprosy”. Throughout the past 70 years we have had our fair share or issues from people not having beards, to not going to yeshivas, to working on shabbos… Where did the Rebbe ever go out on a “the-solution-is-hate” campaign like you suggest?

    (Don’t answer Jimmy Gurary or shach… we’re not dealing with people who are at war with the Rebbe at all costs.)

  • 107. Family Business wrote:

    the end of the world is coming…… least the world as you knew it, because many have not stood up and taken the leadership role the Rebbe prepared them for, while chassidim are suppose to be one family, most treat things as if it’s their “Family busines”

  • 108. fakewood wrote:

    how would you like it if a bunch of fat people started walking up and down kingston with speedos on. you would find it repulsive and probably comment on it. you would definetly protest that kind of behaviour. this topic is no different. the reason that you would protest the people in speedos is because you would find it repulsive. if you are a chabad chossid you find people that are not dressed tznius repulsive and you feel a need to protest that kind of behaviour.

  • 109. Chossid Chabad wrote:

    I am willing to pay to hire women from any other religious community to spend some time doing Mivtzoyim here and standing on teh street corners and gently remind our daughters and wives the sacred words of the Torah. WE HAVE FAILED THIS ONE BIG TIME-WE ARE GUTLESS AND ALL TALK.Lets hire some outside help to remind our precious daughhters that The dignity and blessings of our community depends on this ..You hire a contractor when you need to build -an electrician when you need light- if we need moral fortitude and we cant figure out how – lets hire outside help to remind our women -how Jews have acted and have literally given up thier lives thousands of times not to have thier inner dignity violated

  • 110. awacs wrote:

    to number 80:

    “1. How women dress is none of the mens’ buisness.”

    Let’s rework this statement:

    “How people keep kosher is none of their neighbor’s business.”
    “Whether or not Yidden keep Shabbos is no one’s business.”

    Still agree?

  • 111. HH wrote:

    Why not complain to the OK who gives the Hechsher at the restaurant?

  • 112. Pinchos ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:


    I have absolutely no idea who you are. it is precisely for that reason that I took the liberty to write the way I did. Had you written your name, I would have never made this into a personal attack against you. My intention was not to personally attack you but rather to publicly disagree with ideas that I consider to be part of the problem. You were the proxy and excuse for me to voice my opinion.

    If I did offend you in any way I would like to ask you for mechila.

    I will not respond to your other comments since I think we will be going in circles.

  • 113. psychologist wrote:

    The discussion here is about the root of the problems and not just the symptoms. If you read the answers written by people who are defending immodesty, such as “I can do what I want” and “mind your own business”- the anger, rebelliousness, and defiance are evident. This, is the root of the problem.Anyone with a degree in psychology will tell you that what occurs during childhood helps shape us into who we are. These people may be(without even realizing it and through no fault of their own) crying out for attention or punishing “society” around them. If “bochur in blue jeans” understood this, he would realize that the children of these radicals may turn out fine if they get all the love and stability they need as a child. I believe that if you have good experiences growing up, you will perpetuate those experiences as an adult.
    I think that what many need is therapy so that people who may not even realize their underlying needs and emotions can address those needs and perhaps, become happier people as a result.
    Surely, one should realize that barking to them on the steet will porbably not make a differnce to their underlying issues.

  • 114. Kalman Z. wrote:

    With the Rebbe gone (physically), that’s an unfortunate fallout.
    That and the fact that a lot of these women/girls are plain slutty and/or stupid.

  • 115. DONT LOOK!!!! wrote:

    to all you “ultra frum” men out there that actually say something to women in the street i have one question. why are you looking at the ladies when you walk down the street??? i witnessed something the other day that made me want to vomit. this “ultra frum” man was driving down the st passed 2 beautiful ladies and began to back up. he opened his window and screamed something really inapropiate at them. something that no man should ever call a women. weather your frum or not. for a “frum” man to be looking and not just look as he drives by. to continue to check them out in his rear view mirror. i think the problem lies within that asshole. not the ladies who were just minding their business and have every right to dress as they please.

    so to all those “frum” men out there that cant control yourselves please dont go on the rebbes shlichus because you will just make a huge chillul hashem. thinking of it the guys that actually do this stuff are still in CH cuz nobody wants them on shlichus. so change yourself. beg mechilah from these beautiful frum ladies. and live and let live!!!

  • 116. to #102 wrote:

    I’m sending you a virtual hug- I’m sorry you were subjected to such disgusting abuse. This SBM needs to look at his own level of Tznius if he can approach a Jewish girl (or ANY woman) in such a manner. Is he married? What does his wife & parents think about his extreme & repulsive methods of changing the Rebbe’s Schuchunah? And his Mashpia…is he as extreme & disgusting as SBM?

    Of one thing I can be certain: the REBBE would never condone such approaches.

  • 117. Resudent wrote:

    To 60,

    I agree that we should have a universal hasgacha entity in CH. The problem is that the present entity is lazy, they don’t have any products, you can’t have a decent soft drink or alcoholic beverage at a simcha. Ask some of the eateries in CH. Since they have limited products and limited amounts of the products they supervise, they play favoratism. I remeber a bagel shop in CH had do drop the hasgacha because all the available cream cheese went to the pizza shop. Imagine a bagel shop without cream cheese. Maybe with a third Rav coming in the elections things will change. A restaurant in CH not having a CHK hechsher is nothing about respect for the Rabbanim, just a battle for survival

  • 118. to89 wrote:

    You say you are sacared for when your kids are teenagers and have their own thoughts.
    Seriously!??? I am speechless.

  • 119. to #110 wrote:

    Shlomo Carlebach was sent away like “leprosy”.

    You need to understand the difference between doing something wrong and causing other people to sin. When for example, the Rebbe was mekarev people like Reb Berel Weiss and Reb Zalman Jaffe, at no point were any chasidim influenced by them due to them not wearing beards at the time – to the contrary, they only left a positive influence on us.

    However, whenever someone causes others to sin (Machte es horabim) or is a negative influence.the firm approach applies.

    The huge damage to our community that the tznius epidemic is causing can only be stopped by treating it as “leprosy”. only after it is finally contained can we have the capacity to deal with those already inflicted – through ahavah

  • 120. cH resident wrote:

    To 71,

    Sounds like you don’t know what the restaurant is all about. The percentage of Goyim eating there is minimal. I’m sure the management welcomes anybody in the restaurant, they even might encourage anyone to patronize it, most of the people eating there are yidden. If you can’t mingle with hkb”h’s nivraim, stay home and bind dee eigen vee dee amolikeh prushim and you’ll be ok.

  • 121. Posek Hador wrote:

    107. a victim of SBM wrote:

    ps. in regard to basil i was the during sefira and they were playing music i simply walked over to the manager and told her kindly that it was making me, and probably other patrons as well, uncomfortable. guess what? the staff turned on niggunim and apologized.

    Guess what it is assur to play nigunim in the middle of sfirah

  • 122. TO: SHALOM BER MEDELSON wrote:

    I’m curious how him or his apologists can explain how it is not against Tznius to use the language he uses to woman.

  • 123. to mottel #77 wrote:

    You write
    “My article was not made to embarrass anyone – I asked the “ringleader” a legitimate question and he flipped on me. He is incredibly confrontational when he speaks, he insulted me with character attacks, and only stopped when the manager told him to back off.”

    I knew when I read the article that this was an attack on somebody that slighted you personally. Your comment #77 confirms it. You would do much better if you listened to your own advice and treated the “ringleader” in a way where you are “building a personal relationship and showing that your message came from a place of love (d’varim hayotzim min halev)”.

  • 124. Moise wrote:


    After reading your lentghly diatribe about the personal attacks and the expression of your personal insecurity and low self esteem.

    I must turn back and ask who is the real motel is he really a chabad chosid a yirei shomyim or is he hiding behind his kapota and expressing this opinions because his wife or duaghter maybe one of the woman featured on the Kingston onlooker website…

    I would also take note of another statement made by you
    “It is not the forum to discuss the spiritual shortcomings of other communities, but let it suffice for the discussion that their own issues are just as severe v’dal.”

    Get real we are losing children in the 30-50% range while families in BP & Wili are some were around 3-7%

    Lets quote the friedige Rebbe Yedias hamaclah iz chatzi harfuah

  • 125. To 104 wrote:

    I called the OK and they have set rules for the tznius of the waitresses. They also set rules for the type of music. For the 3 weeks there will be no music.

    They check this out regularly.

    They told me that the management is very cooperative in these areas.

    They also requested that if there are any problems will the above please call Rabbi Gornish at the OK and he will immediately look into this.

  • 126. Which Rov was asked? wrote:

    Which of the CH Rabbonim were asked and gave permission for this behavior?

  • 127. heightser wrote:

    to 125

    I was in basil yesterday and they didn’t have any music playing. What they had playing is mooter al pi din lechal hadaios

  • 128. TO ALL THOSE COMMENTS wrote:

    BE OBJECTIVE- your comments are opinions. The fact is that the Rebbe said that G-d forbid we should approach people lacking in some things in yiddishkeit( and obviously this means also our own) in a forceful and negative manner. But it should be done with gentleness, kindness and love. And the Rebbe also said that we should teach our daughters that tznius is what makes us special, since we are children of Hashem.
    If we want success we must heed the Rebbe’s directive. With this as with everything.

    P.S- could it be that the lack of tznius from women is because our Men have also lowered some of their standard?

  • 129. Resident wrote:

    to 107

    Playing acapella niggunim is not assur in fact most poskim hold it’s only a minhag not an issur. Several poskim hold that in a business like a rstaurant in order to drown out the kitchen noise music is permitted.

  • 130. Ani veSimon uMoise hakatan... wrote:

    to Moise:

    1) You are the one with a self esteem problem. Do you run the onlooker website (which most of us have never heard of BTW) that you dare to guess who is on it?

    2) Where did you get your statistics? Flatbush, Monsey, BP, Willy all have issues – and some of those issues land on us during Simchas Beis haShoeva.

  • 131. Aviva wrote:

    Are Chabad the only Jews in the world? Are they the only ones allowed to live in Crown Heights? Why would you enforce your minchagim on another Jew? Other orthodox Jews are welcome here, aren’t they? There are many different minchagim on tznius within the different orthodox Jewish communities- ahavas yisroel!

  • 132. To Fakewood wrote:


    No, if I saw fat people walking in Speedos, I would *not* walk over to them and start insulting them. If it turned out that this was a society of Speedo-wearing obese men that had specifically chosen Kingston as a place to ‘show off their wares’ then I might look into filing a complaint somewhere. Confrontation is not the way to go in situations like these. I know you love a good fight ;), but let’s keep it to the mesivta, shall we?

  • 133. I FREAKING LOVE BASIL! wrote:

    you guys make me sick!!

    let people be who the hell they want to be!!
    you cant run other peoples lives they way you want all the time!!
    dont be so nieav there is more shtooooos going on in your home than on the street!!
    when you go to bed at night what do you think your son or daughter is doing on the computer!!
    or when the internet history is deleted in the morning!!
    but no my child would never!!
    typical way you people think!!
    that you better than all of us!!!
    well i was born and raised in ch!! and i <3 it!! but i cant stand people telling me what to wear or who to talk to!!!
    its for my parents and them only to tell me what to do!!
    so just keep your mouth shut!!!

  • 135. dcg wrote:

    boys and men wearing jeans is as untznius as girls wearing non tzneus clothing.

  • 136. To #119 / Pinchos Ben Elozor etc etc wrote:

    I asked you for an example of where the Rebbe treated somebody like leprosy and you gave me examples of people (Weiss/Jaffe) that the Rebbe did NOT treat like leprosy.

    I never heard that the Rebbe treated Carlbach like leprosy, but even if he did (which I’m not sure I believe), you have to see the difference with somebody who has the potential to be a leader of the masses.

    THE FACT IS that the previous generations were MUCH less Tznius. I am “gezhe” from a VERY chassidishe family, and the pictures of my mother and her siblings as teenagers are very not tznius (skirt above knee, flaunting curvature), and the Rebbe did not treat them like leprosy. Also, there were always restaurants in CH – I promise you there were none in Russia – yet the Rebbe never discouraged these businesses even though they were such a break from the previous norm.

    Do what you want, but don’t say that the Rebbe would have treated girls on the street or businesses like leprosy. There is no precedent.

  • 137. shaken wrote:

    To #102 I am in utter shock that a Jewish man can talk like that. Where is his tznius? Tznius is not only in dress, but in some degree more importantly found in thought and SPEECH, that are higher expressions of the soul. He better stop his atrocious behavior now, of stalking women and using provocative langusge -it is not his place! If his wife had seichel she would convince him, (in any way possible), to stop before he gets himself into serious trouble The Rebbe made it very clear mivtzoyim: Men to Men, Women to Women. I’m sure that the Rosh Hakollel, Rabbi Heller, would not allow him to continue there, if he saw what he was doing.

  • 138. father wrote:

    i tried very hard to give all my kids a chasidishe up bringing said tehilim and davend for siyata dishmaya and now they all older i have a daughter that dose not dress very tzniusdik lets say border lines her knees and elbows do they want to scream at her in public and risk a out come where she feels she wants to leave crown heights and my daughter and einkelach will not come visit zeidy is even a gezhe guy who has a child off the derech supposed to kik them out of the house and tell them they cant come to ch look at what happens to the girls and boys of Williamsburg that are thrown out and the familys dont have a big choice and they loose them often to drugs and whatever else gos on in greenpoint

  • 139. something is wrong with this man wrote:

    When is someone going to realize that a man who is obsessed with watching women so closely is obviously conflicted himself and has some sort of rage towards women-otherwise he would NEVER say such derogatory and demeaning things to them?He can hide behind the “clean up” front but something is very wrong.And he thinks,in his arrogant way,that he is some sort of hero?what an attention seeker and exhibitionist.Nebech.Poor child- she will have this bully for a father.and to all those who hold such great standards that dont allow kids in a school because of the parents- YOU ARE A SHAME TO THE REBBE!YOU ARE A BIGGER SHAME to the standards and mission of Chabad!!

  • 140. CH wrote:

    To # 103 in response to my comment # 80 :

    I wrote it is none of a MANS’ buisness how a women dresses. I didn’t write it is noones buisness.
    Read before you write/comment.

  • 141. To #124 wrote:

    While I may not be close friends with the author’s wife, every time I have seen her, in person or in pictures, she has been dressed extremely modestly. Making personal attacks against the author or his wife is totally uncalled for.

  • 142. To Pinchus ben elozor... wrote:

    Reb Uriel Tzimer from Eretz Yisroel once told the Rebbe that “Pinchus ben elozor ben ahron hakohen haishiv es chamosi… bikanoi es kinosi – DOS IZ SATMAR” The Rebbe told him “ NEIN, DOS IZ LUBAVITCH”

    L’Chaim V’Livrocho

  • 143. danny c wrote:

    Great one mottel!

    For all those who used these comments to bad mouth or spread negativity ANYONE, get life and be mikarev another yid through ahavas Yisroel. Dont leave your power to change the world in a comment string.

  • 144. to number 7 number 26 and number 27 wrote:


  • 145. vas vet zein? wrote:

    some of the language used on this site is pretty surprising.
    I know it is impossible for to read all and therefore some inappropriate comments got posted –
    it just goes along with the rest of the unfortunate behaviour. I am terribly dismayed by the fact that this is posted on a site that advertises on Eastern Parkway on top of a tall building. Yid or non yid see this ad and likely results in their visiting this site.. why would you want this garbage posted for all the world to see?

  • 146. To S.B Mendelson wrote:

    No, I don’t agree with you.

    Bringing people closer to Yidishkiet is with love(and yes even OUR OWN) not by rejecting them or their innocent children from our communities & schools that will mold their future.

    It’s tough times-Cheveli Moshiach but there is only one way to draw a Jew(any Jew)closer- WITH THICK CHORDS OF LOVE, not G-d forbid rejection or any other derogatory way.

    May you be able to truly understand this.

  • 147. Tznius wrote:

    To the writwer of oped – If Tznius is so important to you and you feel a restaurant is not chassidish in CH why don’t you look in the 4 amos of 770.

    In the Jewish Museum they have dinners with mixed seating, people dressed not tzniusdik (pictures were shown on this web site) and more.

    They make Channuka parties which are mostly for Anash without a mechtza and it is so crowded that it is extremely not tzniusdik. If you are so concerned why doesn’t this bother you or anyone?

  • 148. a dude wrote:

    There is NO ROOM for “politics” when it comes to L’havdil-Torahseinu Hakedosha. Keeping a fundamental mitzvah like tznius is an obligation not a “choice”. You weren’t born into it – you never grew up frum – SO LEARN! Not only is it a stupid argument “oh, I wasn’t born smart, so I’ll just stay dumb?!”
    Not doing what you’re supposed to does not allow you to do what you’re not!
    A yid is not allowed to eat traif. period. If you didn’t know it’s traif – and you ate it, then it’s a mistake – but you can’t claim “it’s a mistake” and keep on eating it!
    Lifestyles, choices, feelings, styles DO NOT take a back-seat to halacha.

  • 149. Mottel wrote:

    -Pinchos: Let me understand this, because you don’t know me . . . you took the liberty to “made this into a personal attack against [me].” Somehow your logic is entirely lost on me.

    In any event, while it is true that we disagree on the matter, I harbor no ill feelings towards you – no need for mechila. Perhaps we’ll farbreng together in the future!
    -BeeTee: For the record, in no way am I blaming any problems on the Ba’alei Teshuvah (vda”l) – instead I merely wish to point out, akin to what you write in your own comment, that the needs of the ba’alei teshuvah and their effect demographics of CH make us different.

    -123:You write
    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you are mistaken. If my desire was to attack the ringleader (of note – I do not agree with using names . . .) I would not have taken the time and effort to write this article and follow up in comments!
    I disagree with his ideology, I find it wrong and offensive . . . they are the topic I wish to address, not his personality and character. When told that he is warm etc. I merely wished to point out in my attempts at discussion with him – he’s failed to show such admirable traits.

    -Moise: You sir have stepped over the line! Your baseless attacks on my person, in lieu of any form of cogent thought, are one matter. By attacking my wife with your motzei shem rah, however, you have shown yourself to be a most vile miscreant! Frankly, your fantasies about my personality need no room for mechila – when it comes to my wife (and any future daughters), there I can not help you. Until you either ask my wife for forgiveness, there is no room for future discussion. refuah shleimah.

  • 150. Parsha has answer wrote:

    To Pinchas Ben Elozor, and so called kanoim:

    Why were shevotiom knocking pinchas for coming from yisro who “fattened calves for avoda zoro”? Who cares that he fattened cows, why is that detail relevant?

    Answer (sicha): Zealotry might be true and pure or it might an expression of a latent streak of meanness, cruelty, [or something else…], that is finding an excuse to come to the fore.

    When so many other yirei shomayim are standing there, Moshe, Elazar, etc, and only pinchas stands up, the shevatim hoot: he is an achzor. he is not real, he is expressing his mean streak, he has it in his genes from his great-grandfather’s cruel force-feeeding of calves.

    Only when HASHEM testifies what is going on deep in Pinchas’s heart–that he is a grandson of Aharon Hakohen–loving and caring and peaceful be’etzem, only then we can know that his ka’nous is pure and kind.

    i wonder if anyone can honestly know what is his purest of motivations when it comes to machlokes and hochocho. these are definitely not chaveiro betorah ubemitzvos, as in tanya 32.

    i suggest this individual discusses his methods with his rosh kollel…

  • 151. Guess what wrote:

    121. Posek Hador wrote
    Guess what it is assur to play nigunim in the middle of sfirah“

    guess what ”posek”your an am ha’aretz. For every makor if any that you can show me that it is assur to listen to music ubefrat niggunim during sefira. I’ll show you three that are matir.

    No. I am not a posek….but as someone who has throughly researched the issue. I would have to say that it is muter to liten to music.

  • 152. The Truth wrote:

    Well written as your article is, you don’t really offer any solutions. The truth is that the conflicting cultures you see playing out on the streets of Crown Heights today, has been central to Jewish history.

    Eventually, the community will fragment into two camps, one Modern Orthodox and the Ultra Orthodox. The Modern Orthodox community, like all Modern Orthodox communities, will be well-educated, tolerant, financially self-sufficient, and the underwriter of many new Chabad houses. The Ultra Orthodox community will become even more zealous in their subjugation of women, and raise uneducated wards of of state relying on government handouts for subsistence (see Kiryat Joel).

    Until then, all of your analysis well-meaning as it may be, is futile. There is no common ground between religious zealots and their progressive counterparts. Such is life.

  • 153. Basil Patron wrote:

    What 107 writes regarding the music is true. I as well approached one of the owners of the Restaurant and told him about the music. He, being a sephardic jew told me that he didn”t know that our minhag was not to play music till after sefirah. His Rabbi had told him that the minhag is till Lag Baomer. In any event, they played permitted niggunim after that.

  • 154. fakewood wrote:

    to 149.

    we have tried it the other way for 16 years and its not least in willy there is a certain level of modesty being kept up.

  • 155. LA MORAH wrote:

    if you indeed feel that tzneeus = the subjugation of women then how can you possibly identify yourself as frum? either the whole torah is just and true or it’s not.i personally struggle on accepting certain halachos but i know that it’s my struggle.

  • 157. Yiddishemama wrote:

    I can’t believe that people here are writing “minhagim” when it comes to tznius. Just for the record there’s one Shulchan Oruch. Aviva according to the Alter Rebbe the area past the knee is a “shock” And needs to be covered with opaque tights. So before you call wearing thick tights someones “minhag” check the Shulchan Aruch. This is not the forum to discuss what opaque means practically. Over 20 years ago there were posters in C.H. Regarding women not wearing long sheitelach ( past the shoulder). Whatever happened to that? Just take a look at the long flowing manes out there. These are meant to be provocative. Why are the sheitelach machers in C.H. Even selling them?
    Wake up tznius is everyones problem men & women. These women (and their husbands) are compromising not just the kedusha of their home & marriage but it has a ripple effect. Nowhere is tznius worse than in Lubavitch, why? Is it because women think it’s a minhag? Is covering your knees even while sitting some Williamsburg creation. Can someone out there teach girls that tights according to the Alter Rebbe is not an option ? Does anyone know that a woman collar bone must be covered like a mans with a tie on? None of these are minhagim. We pride ourselves on women and girls learning? Give me an “uneducated” Williamsburg girl anytime.

  • 158. Shaindy wrote:

    A. Show girls love and show them the reasons why YOU appreciate and respect tznius – and if done in the right way, they will take it to heart and do it of their own volition.

    B. I’m repeating this: If my husband told me I look beautiful when I’m completely Tznius, then I would work extra hard to be Tznius. The way I dress is for comfort, not because I’m trying to defy the shulchan aruch.

  • 159. Yiddishemama wrote:

    Comfort? Are you in this world to be comfortable? Are short skirts & tight tops comfortable? Are long sheitlach comfortable, they are very heavy…
    Don’t talk nonsense, if you cared about Halacha you would do what’s right not comfortable. I live in a much much hotter climate & it wouldn’t dawn on me to walk around with bare legs not even in the house in front of my children.
    We’re here to do good not to feel good & the satisfaction of doing good is far far greater.
    Yiddishkeit is not a religion of comfort. Do you only keep mitzvos to get a pat on the back or a mitzvah note? Grow up & take a good hard look at your real reasons.
    Forgive me if I sound harsh but I became frum as a teenager & fought to keep tznius not only in public school but even at home where I was embarrassed & ridiculed for wearing stockings in 100 degree heat. But I stood firm although it would have been easier to give up. I wasn’t comfortable and I’m not referring to heat here. Noone gave me a pat on the back, I learned shulchan aruch & I learned all the meforshim and opinions on tznius. I wouldn’t short change myself, I deserved the best & I wanted to be the best I can be.
    Teach women & girls to love & respect themselves. You may have been given Yiddishkeit on a silver platter, I don’t know, but I know that you do not appreciate yourself or the great privilege of being a Bas Yisroel.

  • 160. a member of that demographic wrote:

    Does Lubavitch insisy on Proving Rav Shach right about being the closest religion, through interchanging frum not frum to chassidish not chassidish?!!

  • 161. To Yiddishemama wrote:

    Even though what you say is true, you say it in such a negative manner. I dress tzniusly, but if I wouldn’t and some one started speaking to me about it the way you do, I would not want to hear at all. Maybe THAT is part of the problem, now did you ever ponder that??

  • 162. innocent bystander wrote:

    Let’s face it. If it weren’t for the Rebbe’s mesiras nefesh, CH would not be a Jewish community today.

    Why did the Rebbe bother if not to create a community where Lubavitchers can live comfortably after decades of ruthless Soviet persecution of Chassidim and their “lifestyle choices”?

    What was all that mesiras nefesh for back there, all those Chassidim sent off to Siberia or simply shot on sight? What were they fighting for anyway?

    I venture to guess they gave their lives so that they, and more importantly, WE can live as Chassidim today. They triumphed, now what?

    The Rebbe wanted to provide a community where the descendants of those Chassidim can live as true Chassidim without fear or intimidation in an atmosphere those Chassidim only dreamt of.

    A high percentage of the CH community moved here to benefit from this Chassidishe atmosphere. Others were born here and stayed for the same reason.

    Yes, this is a free country. Yes, you have a right to live your life as you see fit. But, why do it here and ruin it for the rest of us?

    By all means, dress and believe as you please. But, why insist on living in CH and calling yourself a Chassid? This is a free country. It is also a large country. There are plenty of places to live with the freedom to behave and dress as you wish. There are also plenty of good Jews who feel as you do. Why not join them? Modern Orthodoxy is a perfectly valid way of Jewish life. Why impose your views on the rest of us against our wishes, in public?

    Can you blame some of the less refined members of the community for clawing at you in self defense?

    When in Rome, do as the Romans, at least externally. Whatever your convictions, while you choose to live here, with our blessings, please respect the purpose and atmosphere of the community we have build here.

    I speak respectfully because you are our children.

  • 163. Yiddishemama wrote:

    When one is in pain one screams! There’s nothing negative about emes. If your house was burning down would you be positive & say “what a great fire” or shout “fire”.
    I don’t speak to others like that anyway, but in an anonymous forum things can be written which cannot be said.

  • 164. to # 85 wrote:

    big problem- torah is absolute- its not up yo each of us to determine where we each wanna draw the line- we need to follow the rules- and expecting men not to look is just shifting the blame- its human nature and we each need to work with our struggles but by you being exposed- you are causing him to sin- because those are the torah’s, and his standards. so even, if sadly, you decided that youre modest enough, dont be so selfish and consider those who see you as exposed- according to torah- and wouldn’t you not want your husband to be exposed to other woman’s nakedness? if not for yourself- cover up for others at least, and show respect to the place you live in

  • 165. another mother wrote:

    I had to read until # 161 before I found a comment that reflected my thoughts.

    But I’d like to suggest that the fault lies with BOTH men and women who prefer to follow their “comfort” levels. In ten years, when they face the consequences of their “free choice,” I hope they’ll still have some self-respect.

  • 166. Y Oliver wrote:

    Mottel: Those who dress like shikses and those who are upset about it and may or may not express themselves inappropriately are not two equal sides with equal culpability. The former consist of many, many people, maybe thousands, who are corrupting and destroying our communities, while the latter are just a handful of people who simply need a bit more direction in how to go about their campaign, but their intentions are worthy and proper, and they should be encouraged. (You also neglect to mention–as far as I could see–the non-objectionable activities and campaigns that Kollel yungerleit, I don’t know if the same or others, and other fine people have organized in recent years.) Shame on you for presenting it like this!

    Note also that halacha says that if one has rebuked someone in private and it hasn’t worked, one should rebuke and shame them in public. The question of precisely which case that halacha applies needs to be discussed with a competent Rov, but to say that public rebuke is always wrong is clearly untenable.

  • 167. Solution wrote:

    Story of Reb Zushe of Anyipoli and Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk:
    When they used to walk together and see somebody doing something wrong, they would turn to each other and say, “R’ Zushe/Elimelech, how could you have done such a (named) thing?!” And the person who did the aveirah would see, and understand, and hopefully do teshuvah.
    The message is obvious.

  • 168. Wake up and smell the Coffee wrote:

    To the people who have issues with others that live in Crown Heights:

    If it bothers you how the people in Crown Heights (Kan Tziva Havaya Es Habrocha) behave, dress, appearance, etc.. its time for you to move out and go to Monroe, NY.

    You have no right legally or Halachaly to harass people or throw stones, Boruch Hashem we live in a democratic country called the US of A, not Iran. You can start your own community in upstate NY. You moved to this community or you were born into Crown Heights, does not give you the right to harass people.

    The Rebbe card, to use as an excuse for your discussing behavior is an embarrassment to our Rebbe. Maybe use your Chayos to make a $ or go out and Mekarev another Yid, that will help the Rebbe, your family, and yourself in a bigger way.

  • 169. not quite wrote:

    “Boruch Hashem we live in a democratic country called the US of A, not Iran. ”

    Democracy is golus just as is Iran. In fact, Iran would be better in a sense–as is known, the Alter Rebbe preferred the monarchy of the antisemitic Czar to the egalitarianism of Napoleon.

    Those who flout halocho should have to suffer consequences, just as those who flout secular law do. But clearly you don’t consider Torah law to be anywhere near as worthy of being safeguarded as secular law.

    Those who dress against halacha forfeit their “rights” not to be harassed.

  • 170. Dovid wrote:

    Do you people know halachah at all? What do you mean that it’s the responsibility of the man to avert his eyes, have you ever heard of “lifnei iver lo sitein michshol.”


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