The New Modesty Patrol: Anti-Indulgence Activists


Charedi activists in Brooklyn have begun to increasingly vent anger at a new perceived threat to the heim.

Not immodesty.

Not secular or non-Jewish music.

This time it’s restaurants.

As the charedi newswire VIN reports, ads which display overly tantalizing food are now non grata in the charedi world:

Over the past several years, the Chasidic community of Williamsburg has experienced several incidents in which anonymous community activists destroyed, damaged or defaced advertising or signage of various business establishments.

The motivation behind the incidents is spiritual. Ads featuring highly detailed images of tantalizing food—and businesses hawking an unnecessarily wide variety of food, such a the now-shuttered Sub on Wheels once parked along a Williamsburg street—are seen as excessive and indulgent by austerity-minded activists, who are alarmed by what they see as an intrusion of secular, pleasure-oriented values into their community.

An unnecessarily wide variety of food? What, then, is the “necessary” level of variety, and when does one cross the line?

That is, if there is even a line. Now subs are indicative of secular, “pleasure-oriented” values?

Things like this make me wonder what Brooklyn’s frum communities will look like in 15 years.

Y-Love

A modern charedi Jew-by-choice since 2000, and igniting headphones with Torah hiphop since 2001.

Originally from Maryland and now holding it down in the shtetlach of New York, won the Jewish Music Awards for "Best Hiphop" in 2006.Vocally anti-prejudice and pro-unity.

Love me, hate me, or debate me, know you can't ignore me, though.

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11 Comments

  1. Chutzpah

    10/12/2008 at 2:49 pm

    It depends on whether they will be able to raise enough money to buy off the City Prosecutor and purchase some Police Sergeants and Judges. If they can, it will look like Bnei Brak.

    Nevertheless, they are doing an excellent job of making it very unpleasant for any “outsiders” to feel comfortable there, and that’s what self-ghettoization is all about.

    There was a flight of Jews out of Passaic New Jersey’s 3rd Ward Park…first the reform, conservative and modern orthodox left. Now the Black Hats just have to finish buying up the rest of the houses from the non-Jews and they will never have to look at a non-frummy on Shabbat again. Ah, life is good when you own your very own State Assemblyman and when you are so offensive that no one else wants to live around you.

  2. froylein

    10/13/2008 at 1:08 am

    What will the community look like in 15 years nutritionwise? The trends are obvious: anorexia and obesity, not much of “healthy” figures to be seen there. This isn’t really a surprise when I see that most of my Chasidishe friends live on nibbling snacks and sandwiches apart from the holidays. And somebody who doesn’t “know” food cannot understand the beauty of variety – as little as many of them understand the beauty of using spices instead of just salt and fat. Suppose it’s analogous to the ban on music; the less they get exposed to different varieties, the less they’re able to develop their personal tastes and will have their preferences set by a set of pseudo-religious extremists.

  3. Tom Morrissey

    10/13/2008 at 8:55 am

    This illustrates the difficulty of the ultra-orthodox enterprise in a pluralistic environment like ours. America may be the least promising place for a ghetto, hasidic, Mormon or otherwise.

  4. Pingback: Mixed Multitudes - My Jewish Learning: Exploring Judaism & Jewish Life » Blog Archive » Kugels and Chulent Only!

  5. s(b.)

    10/13/2008 at 2:21 pm

    Submarine rolls are tempting to women because they are shaped like … sheitels. No, really, these people are not community activists; they are community vandals. A hood is a hood is a hood. You slash someone’s sign, you deface, you destroy, you’re a hoodlum, plain and simple. And that sort of behavior is unacceptable.

  6. gweitz.ar

    10/14/2008 at 10:05 am

    Tom, as an Argentinean I disagree: my 40-million-inhabitant country doesn’t have a single “ghetto” and the USA does have many (hasidic, Mormon, plus Amish enclaves). I know that many think it’s easier to build a ghetto in a poor, under-developed country but the USA seems a good place too, or at least so they think the Satmar, Mormons et al

  7. froylein

    10/14/2008 at 12:34 pm

    Gweitz, from afar it appears as if Argentina has been a safe haven for a considerable number of German criminals (political / war criminals, pedophile sectarians etc.). So I was wondering whether there are German “enclaves” as by their appearance and language skills, they should be easy to tell from native Argentinians.

  8. themicah

    10/14/2008 at 4:10 pm

    So I was wondering whether there are German “enclaves” as by their appearance and language skills, they should be easy to tell from native Argentinians.

    Given that Argentina is 97% white, I’m not sure just how much Germans would stand out.

  9. froylein

    10/14/2008 at 4:13 pm

    Germany’s as far up north as Canada; the average German therefore is a pasty as the average Canadian philosophy professor. :)

  10. gweitz.ar

    10/14/2008 at 10:11 pm

    themicah: 97% white?? CIA’s Factbook has many mistakes, it’s better to check the Wikipedia… trust me… it also says that 2% of the population are protestant but its somewhere between 12 and 15%…

    to sum up: 10% of the population are descendants of the indigenous population and there are quite a few blacks, asians, etc. But yes, most of the people are white and Germans don’t stand out ’cause the girls from Northern Italia are also green-or-blue-eyed white blondes. But most important is the fact that fleeing-criminals who come to my always-welcoming-country try to pass for someone else so they tend to stay away from people who could recognize them from the “old country”. So usually they don’t mix with other Germans… Read “The Man from the Garibaldi Street” to understand how Eichmann lived…

    Froylein: two or three generations ago there were many ethnic enclaves in my country, like the Jewish ones where my maternal grandpas grew, or the (non-Jewish) German ones where you can still go during OktoberFest and drink good berr… but there are none nowadays, because Argentine’s ethos was always one of INTEGRATION…

    that’s why neighboring countries like Chile, Paraguay and Brasil have religious or ethnic enclaves but Argentina has none… there are parts of the country with more or less indinegous (or Mestizo) population; and of course inmigrants from the Middle East settled more in the hot north and the ones from North Europe prefered the cold South…. but if you’re looking for a close-knitted community of German-speaking argentineans you won’t find anyone less than 60-years-old.

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