Shoulders, knees and no’s: NYC sues Satmar businesses over modesty signs


Good news for Brooklynites who like to shop while scantily clad: New York City’s Commission on Human Rights is suing seven businesses run by the Satmar Chasidic sect located on Lee Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The case, which has been brewing for months, will go to trial in January, city officials announced this week.

The occasion for the suit? Nearly identical signs  hung in the shop windows, which specify modesty requirements for entering the businesses: “No shorts, no barefoot, no sleeveless, no low cut neckline allowed in this store.”

The Commission on Human Rights claims that this practice is discriminatory against women, whom the signs disproportionately target. Representatives of the businesses disagree, although presumably most of the male shoppers at Friedman’s Depot, the Tiv-Tov hardware store, Sander’s Bakery and other local businesses generally shop with their shoes on (and their collarbones covered).

Marc Stern, a counsel for the American Jewish Committee, contends that other businesses, such as upscale restaurants and private clubs, can enforce a dress code.

Of course, the comparison might invite the curious, sleeveless hordes to see just what’s so exclusive and exciting about the hardware stores and bakeries of Lee Avenue.

Brooklyn man charged in attack on rabbi who advocates for sex abuse victims


A Brooklyn fishmonger was arrested for throwing a cup of bleach in the face of a Chasidic rabbi who advocates for victims of sexual abuse in the haredi Orthodox community.

Meilech Schnitzler, 36, of Williamsburg, turned himself in to police on Wednesday afternoon, the New York Times reported. He was charged with felony assault, misdemeanor assault, menacing, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg on Tuesday was walking down the street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he lives, when a man approached him from behind, tapped him on his shoulder and then threw a chemical believed to be bleach in his face, according to reports.

Rosenberg, 62, was treated for burns on his face, around his eyes and in his left eye. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The rabbi runs a website and blog for sex-abuse victims, as well as a telephone hot line.

Rosenberg reportedly had recognized his assailant, who comes from the Satmar Hasidic community, as does Rosenberg. He had accused Schnitzler's father on his blog of being a sexual predator, according to the New York Times. The man has not been arrested or charged with a crime. 

Nechemya Weberman convicted on 59 counts of sexual abuse


Nechemya Weberman, a member of the Satmar Chasidic community in Brooklyn who practiced therapy without a license, was found guilty on 59 counts of sexual abuse.

Weberman, 54, was convicted Monday by a New York State Supreme Court jury for encounters he had with a female patient when she was between the ages of 12 and 15. He was charged initially on 88 counts, but the number was consolidated by Justice John Ingram, who presided over the case.

No physical evidence was presented during the trial, effectively leaving the prosecution to make the case based on the credibility of the accuser's testimony.

The encounters started in 2007; the accuser turned 18 last week.

The girl's parents sent her for sessions to Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, at the recommendation of the child's school. According to the New York Daily News, the girl was referred for not meeting her sect's strict modesty guidelines regarding women's dress and asking questions about the existence of God.

The trial drew attention for a couple of unusual developments over the last several months.

In June, four men from the Satmar community were arrested for allegedly offering the accuser $500,000 in an attempt to silence her. And on Nov. 30, four spectators at the trial were arrested for taking photos of the accuser during her testimony, including a man by the name of Lemon Juice.

For Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who came under fire in June for his handling of prosecuting sex offenders in the haredi Orthodox community, it was his second high-profile conviction in a week.

On Dec. 3, Emanuel Yegutkin, the ex-principal of the Brooklyn-based Elite High School, was convicted on all charges of sexual abuse stemming from his relationship with three boys between 1996 and 2005, including one who was 7 at the time.