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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Modesty signs reach central Jerusalem

A women's beauty parlor located on Jerusalem's Pines Street, opposite the Prima Palace Hotel which caters to the ultra-Orthodox public, posted a sign recently asking customers to enter in modest clothing.

A religious neighbor who spotted the sign expressed her concerns that the area, which is adjacent to the city center, would become haredi and that women would be forced to wear modest clothes on the street.

"I dress modestly, but not in a haredi style, and suddenly I find out that we are being given modesty instructions. Are they planning to bring the darkest people here?" the woman complained.

The complaint exposes the delicate situation on Pines Street, which is located on the seam line between the haredi neighborhood of Geula and the city center. The street itself is open to traffic on Shabbat while its stores are closed.

An inquiry conducted by Ynet's local portal, Mynet, revealed an additional case of threats and pressure on the part of the haredi public. The store owner, who is not haredi, told Mynet reporter that the decision to hang the sign followed requests and threats on behalf of her haredi clients.

"I was warned that I should write it so that they won't cause me any trouble – so I did," the store owner said. She added that the sign should not bother non-religious customers, but that if it did – she would remove it.

A haredi man leaving nearby said there had been no conflicts so far over the modesty issue. "What's fun here is that we all live together," he said.

The man added that as an Orthodox man, he did not understand the modesty request from a women's store. "There is no prohibition on a woman seeing an immodest woman. It's only considered an offense for men," he said, adding that those who demanded that the sign be put up may have intended for women to avoid dressing immodestly on the street itself.

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