Sunday, June 5, 2016

New York Times attacks gender separation at hasidic-area pool

An only-in-New-York story about a public swimming pool that offered women-only swim periods for the area’s Orthodox community turned into a full-blown media firestorm when the New York Times weighed in on the subject.

The pool, located in the heavily Orthodox Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, had been offering women-only hours since the 1990s to accommodate those whose religious sensitivities forbid women and men from swimming together.

Last week, the Parks Department cancelled the women-only swim periods after an anonymous complaint was made to the city’s Commission on Human Rights, only to reverse itself following objections by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an Orthodox politician representing the nearby Borough Park and Midwood neighborhoods.

That reversal led to a strongly worded editorial in the Times Wednesday, which asserted that setting aside a special time for a religious group at a public facility violated “the laws of New York City and the Constitution, and commonly held principles of fairness and equal access.”

“The city’s human rights law is quite clear that public accommodations like a swimming pool cannot exclude people based on sex,” the editorial argued, adding that the current practice has a “a strong odor of religious intrusion into a secular space.”

The Times editorial drew a swift backlash from parts of the Jewish community, who accused the paper of unfairly rejecting a reasonable religious accommodation and of applying a double standard to Orthodox Jews.

Seth Lipsky, the founding editor of the New York Sun and a former editor of the Forward, wrote a heated missive in the New York Post titled “Let My People Swim — and Damn the New York Times.” [...]

In Tablet Magazine, Yair Rosenberg pointed to examples in St. Paul, Minnesota, San Diego and Seattle in which accommodations made for Muslim women to swim without men were applauded in some cases and sparked controversy in others. But he questioned why the Times editorial failed to mention these precedents and focused exclusively on Orthodox Jews.

“It is exceedingly odd that the national paper of record only excoriated the practice of sex-segregated swimming when it became aware of religious Jews engaging in it, and even then, omitted the identical practices of religious Muslims,” he writes.[...]


  1. Politically IncorrectJune 5, 2016 at 3:11 PM

    Those religious ones (can't say who - would be POLITICALLY INCORRECT) getting away with everything and no one dares say anything. ......except that Trump. ..

  2. Are we talking about a publicly funded facility, or a private facility which is open to the public?

  3. Here in Canada there are still some places where at least a little bit of common sense remains. Community facilities are to be used by the community in a manner that accommodates the community that uses it. Children ("minors") are given swimming lessons (at the public expense) and there is no screaming "age discrimination" just because adults are denied access during those times. If enough women in a community (and recently the same also for men) want privacy they are given their own scheduled time.

  4. I wonder what the NY Times will say if all American women including Orthodox must register for the draft and if drafted must serve everywhere with men. And once men realize that being drafted means going into a mixed army where many men and women act the way Orthodox Jews are not allowed to act, and when somebody shows them that to go to such places especially for long times may be a question of יהרג ואל יעבור, what will Orthodox Jews do in America? The real question is why Orthodox Jews are completely silent about this when literally the lives of men and women whom may be abused in the army and who may commit suicide either out of anguish or because they asked a shaalo and were told to die rather than be in a mixed army, what will we do and why is nobody concerned about it?


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