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Video: Can Modesty and Modernity Go Together?

The New York Post today profiled two Orthodox-Jewish sisters living in Crown Heights who want to break the stigma associated with dressing modestly.

Australian transplants Simi Polonsky and Chaya Chanin are the creators of a fashion label, The Frock NYC, which adheres to the dress code required in the Orthodox Jewish community but does so with a fashionable flair.

51 Comments

  • 1. Anonymous wrote:

    That is not what the first chassidim had in mind and it is not ruach israel saba no matter how you slice the cake.But it is America.I personally don’t think that this will rush the real Meshiach to us.He would probably look to shabby for the beautiful Chassidim

    Reply
  • 4. Wow wrote:

    Putting down people who dress modestly but not in your clothing brand is mean. We are not frumpy, dowdy or uncool.

    Reply
  • 5. huh? wrote:

    But most of the dresses you showed didn’t follow the tznius code. That’s misleading. Call it hip but not tznius.

    Reply
  • 6. Tznius and Fashion? wrote:

    Tznius is not just adhering to specific guidelines, such as covering certain parts of the body (called Dos-Moshe) – Tznius is simply being modest, not being provocative, not sticking out, not being in people’s faces, not drawing extra attention (called Dos-Yehudis).
    So, even when a women covers all necessary parts of her body – adhering to Dos-Moshe, if she’s not modest, she’s transgressing Dos-Yehudis and it’s just as prohibited…

    Reply
  • 7. what? wrote:

    dont get the chidush!!

    there was always nice frum clothing to wear if anything their clothing looks very clumsy

    Reply
  • 8. We're doing this wrong wrote:

    This is so embarrassing for Lubavitch.

    The Rebbe sent us out into the world to bring the light of Torah to them. Instead we allowed the darkness of the world to penetrate our own community.

    We have failed the Rebbe.

    Reply
  • 9. MA wrote:

    Thank you Rabbi Jacobson for bringing some sanity to the picture. It’s a shame no one is actually listening.

    Reply
  • 10. Shame wrote:

    How dare you!!! Shame on you two!!! You don’t represent Lubavitch or any Orthodox community. Take your reform ideas back to Australia. Leave it at Coogee Beach. You two are almost single handedly responsible for the lack of standards in CH today. Shame on you!

    Reply
  • 12. Zev wrote:

    It’s a beautiful concept but when the models that you have aren’t covering their knees with your dresses and you yourselves don’t cover your knees than how is this tznius?

    Reply
  • 13. A mother wrote:

    And where did tznuis guideline pass the ok for wearing pants even tho worn under long tunics and dresses ?! Pants are pants !!!!
    This is hip but defiantly not tznius !!!
    Modest is also how you present yourself , speaking walking etc … so I think you should reconsider your behavior ….
    not what I would want my daughters to look up to .

    Reply
  • 14. A mother wrote:

    And is pulling your front hair out on top of your wig is tznius ?
    Shame on you for calling yourselves lubavitch .

    Reply
  • 15. BUSHA wrote:

    The women is wearing ripped jeans pants in the video how is this Tznius ? YOu guys are embarasing to judaism

    Reply
  • 16. Anonymous wrote:

    I went into two stores last week on Kingston Ave, and I was shocked to see how two Sales ladies were dressed. Crown Heights is becoming way to Hippie..
    This is not the Rebbe had in mind.
    Its time we get some real leadership in Crown Heights.
    Its really a shame.
    (Its really sad, because this is becoming the norm in Crown Heights)
    Its time to move out of Crown Heights. What will our kids look like????
    Hashem, please HELP

    Reply
  • 18. As a BT wrote:

    I always wonder if the rebbe knew this would happen as a result of bringing so many people from not frum backgrounds in. Personally most teens used to hang out at my house because we had tv, magazines, non tznius and were very laid back. I or my parents didn’t realize it st the time but our house was used to break the rules for the ffb crowd. But to us this was just normal secular life and we were still learning and growing. Now most of those friends who who hung out in my house many years ago are no longer frum, and if they are they push these type of boundaries with tznius, non Jewish music, non chalav yisroel outside the home and basically live a double life. I have guilt over it and wonder if it wasn’t for me would they still be frum, because now me and my family are fully frum and like I have been told by once friends I’m too frum to hang out with.

    I see what’s happening in CH and amongst my bt friends we wonder if bringing us in was worth the cause of losing your kids.

    Reply
    • 19. Citizen Berel wrote:

      Being BT doesn’t afford you moral authority to malign all other BT. It’s a malignant trashing without basis, whether or not you include yourself and your family in your target.
      I’ve had not heard any explanation as to how in an age of Internet and in a community, a subway’s ride away from NYC and walking distance from park slope, where billboards and wall adverts scream out all sorts of depravity, where you can go into any bodego and buy any magazine you wish, where teachers who are in every other respect completely frum and chassidic brush up against legal minimums of modesty — Yidden who the Rebbe brings into the fold are responsible for CH’s moral decline.
      In my years of reading this website, I’ve never seen a smaller comment.

  • 20. ????? wrote:

    How is wearing pants part of being tzniusdik?
    These young women are presenting a warped idea of our way of dressing.
    It is possible to be fashionable and tzniusdik.This is not it.

    Reply
  • 22. We own this process wrote:

    Something to think about,
    (I don’t know these women – so I won’t comment directly to them – I will use this as an opportunity to make my point)

    We – Lubavitch, own the schools (they are all run by our people), own the rabonim (elected by us), own the sedurim (printed by us with our nusach), own the torah shiurim (our chasidim giving the classes), we own the communal process how we educate and engage with children, Summer camps. Rebbe Video’s…

    Yet we are so surprised and shocked at one of our own, people who have grown up in our system (JCW, Some Music Videos, CAY Ect…), that they are not toeing the party line.

    Maybe we need to rethink how we are “messaging” our values and the ideas we think are scared to our children. We own this process.

    Reply
  • 23. yankel wrote:

    puting everyone down just so that you can make some money, how sad!!!
    There is beautiful tznius clothing out there, you have to want to look for it.

    Reply
  • 25. Rabbi Jacobson wrote:

    I feel they really would be good at reaching out to others but are ignorant of the basic laws of tznius. Perhaps Rabbi Jacobson can teach these young ladies kitzur Shulchan Aruch and sichos. They sound like they really want to do a lot of good but just have to be taught the Torah’s laws. Perhaps they never learned it well. Ladies are the ones to bring the geula – perhaps these websites can teach the general laws of tznius – our news is the parsha of the week – the ladies did not worship the egel and worked towards the geulah. Please teach Torah on your website.

    Reply
  • 26. Website wrote:

    Your website teaches Torah on videos but could use more and some to read, not just to watch.

    Reply
  • 27. You have Potential wrote:

    from comment ‘Rabbi Jacobson”: You have potential to persuade other Jewish women. Perhaps you do not realize a Jewish woman has to be careful not to be a show off in public, has a halacha not to follow the latest fashions, and have not continued your learning of the Rebbe’s sichos of the great potential of the Jewish women. A Jewish woman can be great and still follow all the halochos of tznius – covering all her hair, her elbows, her knees, her collarbone, and not wearing tight fitting clothes. Please continue spreading the Rebbe’s sichos about the great job Jewish ladies can do in bringing the geula – please continue your learning. May your tznius increase and may you help other Jewish ladies increase in their tznius and learning. You have great opportunites – the Rebbe was always positive – I am sure he would not have put you down like the other comments. Work together with Rabbi Jacobson to truly turn the Crown Heights community around and become even more tznius than the ‘Bais Yaakov’ communities and increase the learning of chassidus among young ladies.

    Reply
  • 29. Anonymous wrote:

    Too many of these styles are shown with knees not being properly covered and arms exposed!

    Reply
  • 30. Doesn't make sense wrote:

    I like the idea! To make it a new style! Bh do it!

    But what???? Look at the way ur dressing!? There’s a HOLE in her “PANTS” or leggings wtvr!
    That’s what u call tzinius? U serious? No! Three simple rules u can’t follow? Now more are following this and going off the guid lines! Where have we come to!!??

    Reply
  • 31. Dear Lubavitch sisters, Kol hapoisel bemumoi poisel wrote:

    What you see in others is indeed, what you look like yourselves …Shriveled frumpy…And zero class. beauty is not external.

    If / when I have the gelt I would take my wife and girls to Switzerland and Italy and shop for gorgeous tznius classy clothing.

    This piece is indeed appropriate for the “rag” (no pun intended) NY PoST.

    Reply
    • 33. Not even a bit funny wrote:

      Are you serious?
      If she even had a geirus KHALACHA then she is in BIG trouble because a ger has to be totally frum, and this one doesn’t keep shabbos or kosher, and walks around barely clad. Feh

    • 34. Milhouse wrote:

      She did indeed have a giyur kehalocho, so it’s an issur de’oraisa to demean her for it.

      Every Jew has to be totally frum; gerim have no more obligation than you or me. And yet I know I don’t live up to this requirement, and I’d bet a large sum that you don’t either. So what do you want from her? She tries her best within the limits of her knowledge, just as we do. Vehu rachum yechaper ovon.

    • 35. Positive comment wrote:

      Sorry Milhouse. You are wrong again.
      A ger has to accept ALL 613 MITZVOS, and yes it’s more stringent for them because they were not born into it, but CHOSE it.
      Her flaunting of Torah and Mitzvos is painting frum Jews in an awful light.

    • 36. Milhouse wrote:

      No, you are wrong. Go learn hilchos giyur properly and educate yourself. Gerim’s obligation to keep all 613 mitzvos is no stricter than that of any Jew. The fact that our ancestors made our choice for us does not excuse us even a little bit; on the contrary, the fact that it is yerusho lonu mei’avoseinu means we have less excuse than someone who grew up without mitzvos, without an education, and without even a deep cultural background derived from Torah. Gerim are expected to fall short and to make mistakes; we are not, and yet we do so regularly.

      Oh, and flaunting Torah and mitsvos is a good thing, halevai that we would all flaunt them all the time, instead of flouting them as we do so often.

  • 37. Anonymous wrote:

    Some of the styles were fine, with a few simple adjustments the dresses that are problematic can be fixed. The overall look isn’t tight looking both bottom and top. Also the colors and over all style isn’t attention getting in my opinion. I’m a Chabad CH woman btw

    Reply
    • 38. chabad women wrote:

      Being tznius and modest isn’t only about tight clothing. being too baggy is not modest either.

  • 41. A Proud BRHS Girl wrote:

    What? How could people condone these lies?! You are supposed to look nice, representing HaShem and all but cannot call immodest clothing “tznius”. Don’t mislead others just because you consider that as tznius! Search what the Shulchan Aruch and other seforim or rabbonim say BEFORE judging if it’s “kosher” or not.

    Reply
  • 42. Former Crown Heighster wrote:

    I read.so.many judgmental.and.nasty comments.
    So.glad.I left the nasty and judgemental shechunah.
    These women should.be praised.
    Hatzlacha Rabba

    Reply
    • 43. Sad wrote:

      Thank you for leaving.
      But did you really go? You have nothing better to do with your life than to read nasty co.mrnts from judgemental women?you cant let go of the truth, so when you’re ready to admit you mistake, then come back.

  • 46. :( wrote:

    Guidelines? Boundaries?
    Seriously? Are they for real??
    They’re sitting there, knees totally exposed, with ripped jeans to add to it! their shaitels with the hair out in the front. . . their models totally revealing the elbow,and they’re talking about guidelines and boundaries!! :((
    What a sad day for Lubavitch!
    And why, the question begs to be asked, do CH info even post an article such as this?
    35 negative reactions . . . and still counting

    Reply
  • 48. old news wrote:

    The Forward ran a piece about them many years ago, and we all were aghast back then too.

    Reply
  • 49. Positive comment wrote:

    Look for the good and you will find it.
    Use this video to teach your children that even though these women are totally wrong and know nothing about tznius, they CARE.

    Their standards are more in line with Catholic standards i.e. 4″ above the knee, 4″ below the neck, but nebach, if you go on line and search “modest clothing”, this is what you’ll find, and it’s probably what they found R”L.

    So tell your kids, take their concern, and add it to your Torah based knowledge, so you can step forward as a truly Tznius bas Yisroel.
    MZ

    Reply
  • 50. Yehuda Haskelewitch wrote:

    Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. In the domain of the family, fathers or father-figures hold authority over women and children. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.

    Reply
  • 51. Disgusted wrote:

    “The Frock?” Should be called “The Frump”!!!
    Nothing on your webesite is tznius, or fashionable!

    Reply

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