Welcome To Kiryas Joel: Please Dress Accordingly

KIRYAS JOEL, N.Y. (CBS 2) — You may never see a more unusual “Welcome” sign in Orange County.

A sign in Kiryas Joel, the Hasidic Jewish enclave, is evoking mixed reaction.

Monroe resident Jessica Pantalemon stopped to cash a check in Kiryas Joel wearing a bright pink tank top and white shorts. She said she noticed scowling faces.

“Just from the women, mostly,” she said. “The guys let me walk by, the women stop and stare, start whispering to each other…I just ignore them.”

The tradition in the village of Satmar Hasidic Jews is modesty. Even on the hottest of days, most residents cover up from head to toe. But visitors don’t necessarily follow that tradition, and now the main synagogue is asking them to comply.

Congregation Yetev Lev posted signs at the village’s entrance – in both English and Spanish – asking outsiders to cover their legs and arms, use appropriate language and maintain gender separation in public.

“It’s a way of respect,” said one resident.

In fact, most residents say it’s simply a polite reminder to respect the local culture, and many visitors take the signs in that spirit.

“It’s nice to request that people behave in a way respect to their beliefs,” said Barry Kaufmann of Wantagh.

But the sign struck a sour note with some.

“They’re telling us that we can’t come into their community unless we dress a certain way,” said Adia Parker, an Orange County resident.

“I feel like my constitutional rights are being violated,” said Tyrone Wheeler, a day laborer in the village seeking work.

A village trustee pointed out the signs said nothing about consequences for violating these guidelines – because there are no consequences.

“We’re not threatening anyone,” said Rabbi Jacob Freund. “Everybody is free to come in and be the same, like all other places in the United States.”

So dressing like Jessica Pantalemon may elicit a scowl, but it won’t earn you a summons.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said because the signs were paid for privately and are not on public land and they pass constitutional muster.

  • Kyle

    lol It’s been mostly Jews (non practicing or liberal) responsible for Porn, in your face perversion, etc in America.
    So funny to see Jews asking for Modesty.

    BTW aren’t these Jews very strict on a woman’s place?

  • Kiryas George

    The girl is not dressed like a slut, she’s dressed for the weather. Some folks commenting here seem frightened of females, not sure why.

  • Russ

    She has a nice body, doesn’t bother me! If she were 250lbs and dressed like that, then yeah I wouldn’t care to see it, BUT it’s still her body and her freedom. There are “social” consequences for everything we do…to me it’s no different than a golf course requesting you wear a collared shirt. There’s no point to these arguments, the buck stops at the fact that we’re all hypocrites in one way or another. For instance these religious women staring at her and whispering to one another…does their religion condone that behavior and judging?? ORRRR is it not “judging” because they’re keeping it secret to themselves. I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin…

  • Mary

    Respect their culture. If you choose not to, take your business to a place that could use your money. As a consumer, you have that option.

  • Capt

    This thread is on FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What does that tell you??

    Think about it

  • Wichita Woman

    Beth said: If this were a Muslim community asking men and women to maintain seperate spheres and to dress modestly, would you be writing, “only a liberal cries foul…”? Hardly.

    This is the camel’s nose under the tent for pushing our legal system to accommodate fundamentalists.

    You might try actually reading the article, Beth. This has absolutely nothing to do with “legal system.” Sheesh. It’s just a private request from a small community. Get a grip, girl.

  • Mark

    While i like the idea of respecting community standards…if this was a Christian group doing this…there would be hell to pay.
    The ACLU and the PC police would be all over this.

  • GooGoo GaJoob

    I think all communities should have these kinds of signs, especially in large American cities where sodomy, 75% teen pregnancy rates, 75% drop out rates, 75% minority unemployment rates, and narcotic drug abuse is practiced on every street.

  • Capt

    Water restrictions in Orange county, why?

  • Tommy

    Does anyone have Jessicas phone number?

  • Mick

    I love the comment made by the interviewee Tyrone that he feels his Constitutional rights are being violated. Where in the Constitution does it state that a community cannot request that visitors act and dress with decorum?

    If I were to go to Tyrone’s house and start swearing at his kids and dressing in a manner that he felt was offensive, would it be a violation of my constitutional rights if he requested that I cease or change my behavior? Respect where you are or choose to go someplace else, if it offends you so much.

    Seriously… people in this country really need to grow up. It is not always about you.

  • Stone

    IF this were a Muslim community asking the same thing many of the comments on this board would be quite different

  • Paul Michaels

    When news babes go to the middle east, they wear veils and respect the dress/customs of the area they are reporting from. So, for muslim towns or villages, it’s perfectly acceptable. God forbid they comply with the ‘wishes’ of this predominantly Jewish community. Suddenly, it’s a violation of ones civil liberties, give me a break.

  • Cherie

    The comments on here supporting this town are absurd! This is AMERICA and we should rightfully expect those “immigrating” to America to assume the AMERICAN culture, not bring their own with them. If they don’t like the AMERICAN culture…. GO HOME. And NO, I do not support scantily-clad women running around leaving little to the imagination — but this is uncalled for.

  • Dog Taco Fridays

    It is OK to thrust the garbage Mexican thug culture down our throats

    but it is wrong to respect the decent religious customs of the proud Jewish people.

    Being of German European decent all this latinia garbage is just sickening.

  • Allan

    You Said … Embarrassed to be a Jew

    I say you are not a Jew, but instead a perfect example of a very plump, fat, ugly pig. I think the intent was clear … you are free to be disrespectful if you chose.

  • B Green

    Just avoid that town. Then they’ll suffer from lack of tourism until they can figure it all out.

  • http://mrbrand.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/monday-august-30-2010/ Wednesday, August 31, 2010 « Mr. Brand’s Blog
  • Danny Ross

    :-) Now, if it was a clothing-optional community asking visitors respect the local customs..

    • Location Location Location

      Try Nevada or California. Nudist colonies need warm climates to live in health. The northeast would kill them or freeze the tiny bits….

  • Angela

    You people claiming the “Taliban” has come to America, please get a clue. The difference between Muslims and Jews is that Jews politely request that you do this, with no consequence except dirty looks if you don’t. That same thing in Muslim areas would get you STONED or BEHEADED. It’s their community; they have a right to ask people to dress and behave a certain way to keep the atmosphere of their community the way they want it.

    • daveinqueens

      “It’s their community; they have a right to ask people to dress and behave a certain way to keep the atmosphere of their community the way they want it.”

      Really? If you replace separation of sexes in public with sepatation by race, does that change your opinion?

      • dbdbdbdbdb

        Does that mean the people of the same sex can be affectionate in public? just sayin’…

      • chuck

        Modesty is one thing. Requesting that visitors maintain gender separation? Yeah, I do have a problem with that. It’s ridiculous, sexist, and I think a lot of people who are defending this are overlooking that part of the “request.”

    • Russ

      I agree Angela, and to add to that other people have a right to dress and behave the way they want while in their community…if it’s not in compliance to their requests, then OK, they’re subject to the “social consequences” but when are we not? I happen to think that social consequences tend to be just as influencing, if not more influencing than legal consequences in most cases…but, that’s just me and my right to have an opinion. ;)

  • Archie

    Boy the way Glen Miller played
    Songs that made the hit parade.
    Guys like us we had it made,
    Those were the days.

    And you knew who you were then,
    Girls were girls and men were men,
    Mister we could use a man
    Like Herbert Hoover again.

    Didn’t need no welfare state,
    Everybody pulled his weight.
    Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
    Those were the days.

  • Linda

    It’s about time someone stood up for appropriate language in public! I can’t even go to McDonalds without my 13 year old being inundated with the F-word!!! When I asked the two guys to cease their profanity, one of them said, “You could have asked nicely!!!” Can you believe that?!?!

  • RP

    This is AMERICA, where girls start showing their cleavage as soon as they hit puberty. If you don’t want to see cleavage and short shorts on our teenagers, move to a muslim country. This is a CHRISTIAN country, where we get to see so much cleavage and arse from random women that it feels like we have already had sex with them.

  • Mac

    Comply or you are unwelcome.

    Fundamental zealots attempting to impose their will on the general public in the US and being supported/defended/encouraged by weak-minded fellow Americans. Wow – what a shocker. At least have the nads to say “they may have the right to say it, but it’s intentionally divisive and they shouldn’t”

    Reminds me of the ‘white only’ signs from the early 60s… Who is next for these folk? Fat people? Ugly people? Brown people?

  • CAJ

    Whatever happened to if you don’t like it, don’t go there? For those of you whining, get over yourselves.

  • AK

    That there Jessica has one fine stern section. No wonder the guys were just trying their best to ignore her while the women were going psycho. Their lives were at stake….

    • Eyes Forward

      HEHEHEHEHEHEHAHAHA I agree with you AK. I knew it the moment I read it!

  • bladyblah

    They get to post signs – and we get to complain about it …

    Quintessentially American!

    • dbdbdbdbdb



    A little decency in America would complement nicely with all the vulgarity via the likes of Paris Hilton and Tiger Woods. Give it a go. Change is coming to America.

  • Truth

    Obama will just sue the city and send the mayor off to the Obama Gulag “The MLK Concentration Camp”

    Mayor can share a cell with AZ sheriff Joe Apario.

    FEMA has a cell waiting for all those that diss the Almighty Muhammad Obama

  • URwhatiswrong

    F them – sexually repressed idiots are the reason for all the worlds needless suffering.

    • The Duke

      Aside from your very emotionally-charged and incorrect hate-speech fluff, which is all feelings and no substance, look at where modern sexually loose morals are getting us.

      • Icraveattention


  • Fred1234

    This site continues to be half covered by the “Select the station you wish to listen live” advertisement and reload every minute or so cutting off any attempt to compose a comment. It is very poorly done.

  • Lawrence P

    Three cheers for the Satmar Hasidic Jews!! It’s about time someone asked–asked for not demanded some common decency.

  • Fred1234

    Moderator could you please inform the webmaster that half the screen is covered with their “Select the station you wish to listen live” message. It cannot be dismissed. It cannot be opened. It may be transparent but it is covering half the screen and causes a reload of the page every minute or so making commenting difficult since it clears the comment box each time it reloads.

  • justsayin

    Hey, did anyone point out that Jessica has a great butt?

    • Gary

      yes I did!

  • Sirlanse

    What would you be offended by on the street in front of YOUR house?
    Someone having sex? Burning a flag? Burning a Cross?
    Weearing a yellow ribbon?
    What would offend you but the ACLU say is a legal expression?
    What would offend your grandmother?

  • Mike

    She can wear those shorts in my town!

  • steverooni

    LOL her constitutional rights are being violated? wth-ever.

    people need to actually read the constitution and see exactly what “rights” we are entitled to. it’s actually a pretty short list.

    if anyone’s rights are being violated here it’s everyone else’s! people dressing like prostitutes and forcing our already over sexed culture further down the drain is the closest thing to a constitutional violation here. how can anyone be surprised by increasing numbers of sexual assaults and earlier sexual activity among youth when you can’t turn on a television or walk down the street without seeing someone half naked?

    unfortunately, public places or even broadcasting just arne’t child friendly anymore. and that may be the worst thing that can be said about the state of our once great country.

    dressing appropriately is not a burden. actually ladies, for those of you who’s mama’s may have skipped this lesson, subtlety works better than flaunting it :) MUCH better!

  • Phocus

    This is simply an invitation to respect the town…no more, no less. Those of you that are offended or think this is terrible can visit somewhere else. As for the comparison to the Taliban etc., they won’t stone you to death in this little village if you break the suggested rules.

  • Corn N Mypooh

    Did anyone READ the sign? It closes with the phrase “thank you for respecting our values.” That’s the problem with progressives, if someone wants to have a gay “pride” parade and with male perverts walking down the street in thongs with giant phallus’ strapped to their crotch simulating sex acts in your face, then then they are doing nothing more than expressing themselves and exercising their rights and “values.” But let someone asks other politely to dress and act modestly out of respect of others then they are narrow minded and intolerant. As Americans we are so focused on our RIGHTS and what it means to “me” that we totally spit in the face of anyone else and call them bigots if they object to the hocker on their face. Let’s cut through the <rap…the sign could have said, "We don't give a rat's a$$ about what you think. Take your foul mouthed, nasty disease infested, stanky crotch skanks, and VD laden player's a$$e$$ out of town. No THAT would have been offensive.

  • John Wolf

    Finally, someone is standing up for a bit of decency.

  • mary

    The request is a bit over the top. Reminds me of Isam without the consequences. The dirty looks and mutterings by the community is in really poor taste. They soil the idea with their attitude. To some degree I understand the message but it’s just too much.


    Go Kiryas Joel !

  • Kevin

    Ugly and/or fat women have caused more stupid laws that have taken away more rights that any group in the history of this once free country. We should create ugly women camps and lock ’em all up….

    • Yes You Can

      You should run for office! I’d vote for you!

    • Dd

      Lol. But yeah, it is funny to hear the cries of “shameful” and then see a very overweight person behind those cries.

  • Think for a second

    Stop for one Second and think. Just like you have a right to walk into their town with Shorts and tank top, THEY have a RIGHT to ASK that you don’t do so, you have a right to do as you wish and they have a right to do as they wish and put the sign up on private property and ask that you try to cover up, again there are no consequences its simply a request, and if you wish to obey by it, G-D bless you, and if you wish to Rebel against it, that’s fine too, it’s a simple request.

  • Bonnie

    It’s arrogant to put your cries for your freedom of attire over the desires of a community which you are visiting. My demanding your freedom to dress however you want, you are denying the community of its freedom of tradition. Will a violator be arrested, shunned, or stoned? No. It’s a polite request, and it should be met with polite response. If I were visiting there, I would respect their wishes and adjust my attire accordingly…out of respect for their tradition. That’s not asking too much, imo. To many scream “foul” when their own wants are restricted, but they don’t give a flip about how others might feel about it.

  • Chris

    I can’t believe all the whining and crying about this. People b!tch and moan at the drop of a hat these days. This community is respectfully asking you to follow their customs in their village. What’s wrong with that? If you don’t agree with their customs, simply go and do your business elsewhere, where the customs are more to your liking. Nobody is violating your constitutional rights Ms. Parker. Quit getting your friggin panties in a bunch

  • Larry

    They said the magic word… Chill out people, its a request.

  • Mike - New York City

    Why so easily embarrassed to be a Jew? These people are living in a community in which they are trying to maintain a certain decorum. There are numerous analogies throughout our lives in the United States. In Kiryas Joel they are neither trying to exterminate anyone nor are they seeking to proselytize. The Hitler and Taliban comparisons are dangerous and cheapening of the impact of real killers. As far as the scowls and whispers, they are frequently in the mind of the person who feels that such derision may be hurled her way like the bad dancer who is afraid to go out on the dance floor for fear that all will be talking about him. The residents of Kiryas Joel live in the real world with the rest of us; I think it is nice that they embrace values of modesty. If visitors choose not to abide by the etiquette of the local community it is their prerogative. It may be slightly inconsiderate but not a crime. I bet we can all find some bigger real threatening civil liberties challenges to take on.

  • Walt Williams

    Its not a rule, its not a law, its not a statute, its a request. Thats all. If you travel abroad you try to respect the customs of the locals don’t you? Why not in this little town? Are you really that self centered?

  • joey b.

    i think pantalemon has a really nice ass and she should show it off. i know i’d definitely hit it.

1 2 3 4 9
blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live