London Removes Hareidi Signs Telling Women Where to Walk

September 20, 2014  

Signs telling women which side of the street to walk on, which were put up by a hareidi group in the northern London neighborhood of Stamford Hill, have been taken down by a London council.

The signs, with “women should please walk along this side of the road only” written in Hebrew and English, were put up by a hareidi group during a Torah procession earlier last week according to the Shomrim Jewish group policing the neighborhood, reports The Independent.

The goal of the signs apparently was to prevent “improper contact” between unmarried and unrelated men and women in the neighborhood that houses over 20,000 hareidi Jews.

Chaim Hochhauser of the neighborhood’s Shomrim group told the Hackney Gazette that he had spoken to the group that put up the signs, and warned them that their posters are misunderstood as being sexist in the English text.

Shomrim have since contacted the event organizers, and explained that these posters lacked explanation in the English text, and therefore could have offended people who don’t understand the Hebrew wording and the logo,” said Hochhauser.

Evidently those offending by the sign included by Rosemary Sales, a Stamford Hill West councilperson who called the posters as “unacceptable,” added they had been taken down.

Several residents in my ward in Stamford Hill have drawn these posters to my attention,” Sales said. “It is of course quite unacceptable to try to restrict women’s movements in a public place and council officers removed these posters as soon as it was reported to them.”

Hackney Police Superintendent Andy Walker said that he had discussed with the organizers who had posted the signs, telling them about the “potential misinterpretation” they elicited.

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