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They knew something wasn’t kosher when they came across a ““Welcome to Kiryas Joel”
sign suggesting that they cover their legs, arms and necklines and maintain “gender separation
in all public areas.” www.pixiq.com...
There are no theocracies in America, right? After all, we have constitutionally mandated separation of religion and government. Perhaps not. A village in New York called Kiryas Joel appears to be going right up to the line – and perhaps lurching over it.
An interesting case just filed in federal court will test the ability of a religious group to actually run an entire town. Kiryas Joel is an enclave of ultra-orthodox Jews who belong to the Satmar Hasidic sect.
Members of this group believe in separating themselves from others – they’d rather not be around non-sect members.
Thirty-four years ago, they won the right to create their own village from the surrounding community of Monroe. The village’s founders might have envisioned an idyllic community where people of a shared faith lived in harmony.
“The case alleges discrimination against dissidents…in various facets of public life, from tax exemptions for synagogues to election improprieties to selective enforcement of village noise ordinances.
Among the most serious allegations is that Kiryas Joel’s Public Safety Department, a quasi-police agency, has acted as enforcers for the main congregation and tolerated acts of violence and intimidation against dissidents by unruly crowds of young supporters of Satmar Grand Rebbe Aron Teitelbaum, the leader of Kiryas Joel’s majority faction.”
The Satmar group may not be large, but its members are politically savvy. In 1989, they successfully lobbied the New York legislature for their own “public” school system. The Satmars didn’t want their children to be educated alongside non-Satmars.
A sign at the village entrance admonishes visitors to dress modestly. Cleavage-revealing tops for women are verboten, and both sexes are told to cover arms and legs. Couples are advised to “maintain gender separation in public places.”
The sign was erected by the town’s largest synagogue. Its wording is tough, but in fact the village can’t legally enforce rules like this. Still, women who dare to visit the community while wearing skimpy summer outfits have reported scowls and glares. (Imagine the reaction from the Religious Right if this were a town of fundamentalist Muslims and they erected a sign reading, “Women are welcome to visit if accompanied by a male relative. Please respect our values by wearing a burqa.”)
How did a little community gain such influence? The New York Times explained earlier this year that while Kiryas Joel is a poor community, it has discovered the secret of getting a lot of attention from politicians: “Because the community typically votes as a bloc, it wields disproportionate political influence, which enables it to meet those challenges creatively.”
Originally posted by ColoradoJens
reply to post by burntheships
Isn't this the USA? Can't you travel freely and document it?
Originally posted by PsykoOps
Source has youtube vids so you can see these heroes in action.
The poorest place in the United States is not a dusty Texas border town, a hollow in Appalachia
Crime is virtually nonexistent.
Nearly half of the village’s households reported less than $15,000 in annual income.
About half of the residents receive food stamps, and one-third receive Medicaid benefits and rely on federal vouchers to help pay their housing costs.
Ultra-Orthodox Satmar Hasidic Jews predominate in the village
The concentration of poverty in Kiryas Joel, (pronounced KIR-yas Jo-E
“I cannot say as a group that they are cheating the system,” said William B. Helmreich, a sociology professor who specializes in Judaic studies at City College of the City University of New York, “but I do think that they have, no pun intended, unorthodox methods of getting financial support.” www.nytimes.com
One lawmaker, Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, a Republican who represents an adjacent district in Orange County, has demanded an investigation by state officials into why Kiryas Joel received grants for the center. “They may be truly poor on paper,” Ms. Calhoun said. “They are not truly poor in reality.”
Originally posted by kosmicjack
reply to post by burntheships
So they are spending state and federal money to establish or strengthen a religious enclave?