Signs have been springing up recently around the Hasidic neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bearing a Yiddish decree that translates thusly:
"Precious Jewish daughters, please move over to the side when you see a man come across."
16 of the signs have already been taken down by maintenance workers, because they were illegally nailed to trees. The signs feature no other designations, but The Brooklyn Paper cites sources who claim they are part of an ongoing campaign by a rabbinical group who have posted several other "modesty" decrees, including one from last summer forbidding women from wearing tank tops.
The Paper anonymously quotes one Hasidic local, who says the signs are not meant to enforce women's second-class status among the ultra-Orthodox. Rather, it's just a reminder to keep the milk and meat separate on sidewalks during the busy Hanukkah shopping season:
"It is very respectful; it's not ordering you to cross the street - it means, ‘Let him pass head on,' " said one Hasidic man who declined to give his name. "There are a lot of people on the street during the holidays, and this is a reminder to let men pass so they don't go barging into a group of women."
So why can't the signs tell the men to move aside? [The Brooklyn Paper, photo credit: Aaron Short, Community Newspaper Group]