Friday, October 7, 2022

Shadowy "modesty squads" police ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn

The Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, housed on the second floor of a Williamsburg row house, issues guidelines on modesty, but says it does not explicitly enforce any code.

“We give out proclamations,” Rabbi Yitzchok Glick, its executive director, told the Times. “We don’t enforce. It’s like people can decide to keep Shabbos or not. If someone wants to turn on the light on Shabbos, we cannot put him in jail for that.”

But others, community members say, have used force and coercion to enforce the code.

“There are quite a few men, especially in Williamsburg, who consider themselves Gut’s polizei,” Yosef Rapaport, a Hasidic journalist, using the words for “God’s police,” told the Times.

“It’s somebody who is a busybody, and there are quite a few of them — zealots who take it upon themselves and they just enforce. They’re considered crazy, but people don’t want to confront them.”

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