Ultra-orthodox Jewish village in New York builds children's playground where genders are strictly segregated

The Satmar Hasidim of Kiryas Joel, New York built the park without the help of government money. It remains to be seen if area townspeople will also be welcome in the playground

The Daily Mail, UK/April 14, 2013

An ultra-orthodox Jewish village in upstate New York where the welcome sign lists modesty rules has built a series of children's playgrounds segregated by gender.

And though it may sound extreme to some, for a community where male-female interaction is strictly controlled, it was all but a necessity.

Kiryas Joel, in New York's Catskills region, was founded in 1977 by members of the Satmar Hasidim orthodox community as a place where they could practice their strict, morally conservative lifestyle unfettered by outside influence.

The construction of the playground takes this ethos a step forward.

'It was time, that the city which was founded according to the regulations and directives of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, have a park which is fully sex segregated, according the strict laws of true Torah Jews,” a Satmar community activist reportedly said.

The playground is partitioned into four parts: one for fathers with their sons, one for mothers with their daughters, a third for just boys and another just for girls.

Each sectioned is spaced far from the others and the male facilities are blue, while the female sides are red and white.

A sign in Yiddish outlines the gender-specific rules and warns visitors to 'maintain gender separation in all public areas.'

BHOLWORLD.com reports that the playground will be 'under the supervision of the Committee of modesty.'

It has also been reported that only the Satmar of Kiryas Joel will be allowed in the playground.

Around one-third of the town's over 20,000 residents received some form of government assistance in 2011, but the town itself apparently draws a lie at receiving free government money.

Kiryas Joel reportedly refused a grant of $195,000 from the state of New York in 2001 to build a park, and instead used 'special financing' courtesy of the mayor, Rabbi Abraham Wieder.

Meanwhile, the playground is located at the outskirts of Monroe, New York-the town in which the village is situated-making it uncertain how the strict rules will be greeted by the larger community in the area.

The tradition in the villages of Satmar Hasidic Jews is modesty. Even on the hottest of days, most residents cover up from head to toe, with unmarried men and women kept apart at all times.

Women also cannot wear provocative clothes as men are not supposed to see anything that inspires inappropriate thoughts.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.