It’s Hanukkah time, but don’t get carried away with the holiday spirit.
Fliers posted in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of New York City warn: amidst your Hanukkah parties, dreidel spinning and menorah lighting — don’t let the men and women mix. There should be no engaging in “unnecessary chatting,” “frivolous laughter,” or “playing games together.” This even includes socializing between brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and cousins.
“The separation between men and women,” the posters read, “must be completely enforced.”
The concept of modesty, tzniut in Hebrew, is used, mostly in Orthodox circles, to describe the character trait of modesty and a group of Jewish laws relating to conduct, especially between the sexes. Some of the most visible observances of these customs are the hair covering and long skirts worn by Orthodox women and the separation of sexes during prayer.
This poster, found in Boro Park was also published in 2015 in The Weekly Link, a premier Orthodox magazine.
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Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .
Happy Hanukkah — Cut the Chit Chat With Cousin Gertrude!