Reader-submitted: ‘Do not enter unless dressed according to Halacha’

Attention Lakewood store owners,

I feel it’s about time that we in Lakewood take a strong stance on the breach of Tznius which some believe is optional.

I’m not a ‘Yeshivishe guy’ or ‘Frummie guy’, but this has got to stop. Why do some feel it is okay to dress completely against Halacha, and then shop in our stores, being Machshil those who are looking to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Torah?

I was recently at a NON-JEWISH family-friendly facility, and there was a sign on the door asking patrons to dress with modest clothing (cover-ups etc) to ensure a family-friendly atmosphere.

It hit me.

Here you have a facility that has no Mitzvah of Tznius, yet it set guidelines to enforce basic decency, but here in America’s largest Torah city we have zero requirements?

I strongly feel Lakewood shops, including but not limited to groceries and restaurants, should hang signs stating ‘Do not enter unless dressed according to Halacha’.

Thank you.

A concerned Lakewood Baalabus.

(TLS welcomes your letters by submitting them to [email protected])



This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 20,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.


  1. I understand the concern, but I have two points. Firstly, who is anyone to decide what is considered halachically tzniyus and what’s not? Secondly, the responsibility for what an individual sees and how that affects them is ENTIRELY their own responsibility. We live in a world in which everyone thinks that the hard parts in life shouldn’t exist, and when they have a hard time, it’s someone else’s fault, instead of focusing on how to overcome their trials. Yes, in a perfect world, everyone would meet your standards of tzniyus at all times, but it’s not a perfect world. So instead of preaching how people should strive for perfection, look in the mirror and see how you can improve.

    • Point #1 is excellent.
      Over the last few decades the boundaries for what is acceptable have evolved. What was considered acceptable 40 years ago would be in many of our quarters be considered unacceptable today.
      What is acceptable by some is considered treif by others. What is considered silly by some is required by others.
      Are you going to require a “double decker”?

    • “who is anyone to decide what is considered halachically tzniyus and what’s not?” “the responsibility for what an individual sees and how that affects them is ENTIRELY their own responsibility.”
      You are dead wrong! Listen to The Shmuz. There are “triggers” in every person’s mind that could be set off by something as simple as Empire State Building – looking like a hypodermic syringe – that could cause recovering drug addict to fall of the wagon. Chazal knew better than all psychologist what those triggers are in the area of Arayos and set the rules of Tzniyus, Yichud and Harchokois accordingly! According to you, rules of Tzniyus could be totally ignored, just let the men not look, and if they see something by mistake, let them learn some more musar, right?!

  2. You live in Lakewood, not Meah Shearim. Please let’s respect eachother’s differences instead of finding things to judge others and exclude them- why divide our beautiful community? It’s time to spread a message of acceptance and love around our town, and I’m sorry but as a parent and educator this isn’t going to help, it’s just going to hurt the situation.

  3. …and before anyone says “just don’t look, have some self control”, I would like to challenge those individuals (men or women) to try going just one month with out looking at anyone’s shoes. No glancing or peeking and if you see them “by mistake” redouble your efforts not to look. When you have successfully passed at least a month of no “I couldn’t avoid looking” shoe viewing then you might be able to tell men “just don’t look –
    for your entire life” at the hundreds of women that they cross paths with on a daily basis, many of whom are dressed in very very questionably “in your face” fashion.

  4. Agree 100 percent. It’s awful. But being that tznius has such gray areas everyone can justify that what they are wearing is ok. The real issue is the clothing stores…I hope they are preparing to answer up to hashem how they could sell such borderline or even non tznius clothing… that’s a michshal!!

    • Yup the clothing stores that sell dresses that literally will only GRAZE your knees, forget cover, if you are under 5′, they have a lot to answer for. Especially since half the brands they carry are created by frum companies. If people would complain, they would stop doing it. They sell to the market. . .

  5. Because there is a difference between asking people to dress modestly or up to your tznius guidelines.
    Be Dan lkaf zechus that they are dressing according to a tznius guidelines. If it is not up par with yours look away and move on.
    Klal yisroel does not need others looking down on each other and pointing out the flaws of people you don’t know even. Work on your family’s tznius and those that you can influence and I’m sure hashem will be proud of you.

    • I don’t think he is talking about gray areas. There are many women who don’t dress according to BASIC jewish law! I was in (moderated) and stood behind a women who I can’t believe has kids in lakewood mosdos. (moderated)

      I am appalled that these people can do what they want and even get their kids into the local schools!!!!!!

  6. Shani Klein:
    “…message of love and acceptance…” That is a Christian outlook at best; a liberal progressive statement at worst. It was never the outlook of daas Torah. Love your fellow Jew, but not all he does. Call a spade a spade; call pritzus pritzus.
    And when it gets out of hand, and someone cries out, hear him and listen and learn, that’s all! We shouldn’t justify what’s wrong in order to erase the guilty conscience.

  7. No personal feelings here, because i am regular yeshivish, i dress tzniusdig according to everyone’s opinion… but i do have friends and coworkers who do dress a lot less tzniusdig. The reason i stay such good friends with them, and maybe its nice they have a regular yeshivish friend, is because we don’t discuss their clothes. I accept them for who they are. I know without a doubt that if stores would put up signs like that, these girls would shun the community and be a lot worse than they are right now.
    The fault with your comparing it to the nonjewish place is, they request no bathing suit. What you are asking is way more covering than that

  8. Fashion and the latest style became such a part of the frum world today by women and men today, so sad. Men turn their heads more at some frum women then non frum women.

  9. One of the breaches of tznius I have a problem with is when a man gets on the intercom (or shouts across the store) and says, “Rochel/Chanie/Miriam, phone call on line two.” If she’s not your wife her name is MRS. Klein/Cohen/Levy.

    • Yes, this has often bothered me too. Think about the familiarity that comes along with calling co-workers of the opposite gender by their first names…

  10. Bravo on your memo! You are ?% right!!
    For all those commenters out there, first of all there was no judgement or put down in the request. Secondly, the halachos of tznius are very clear as brought down by chazal and gemara. The only gray areas are in chumros, and that’s individual and an area which we can work on respecting each other’s levels…
    Thirdly, we are each responsible for helping each other in our ruchnius and definitely not to be a michshol. We help bring yidden closer to Hashem with our various kiruv programs, and then we lead others to aveiros?
    Fourth, don’t look? Maybe we should walk around blindfolded? We’re not talking about gazing… It’s enough when we have to go out “in the real world”, but at least in our community we should do our best.
    Fifth, we’re not in meah shearim, we’re only in Lakewood. How sad, in the ihr hatorah these halachos are not applicable.
    And finally, for all the women out there who wrote out against this letter, seriously?! Which woman do you want your husband to think about instead of you?
    Let’s all try to protect each other’s marriages and ruchnius!!!

  11. The tone here is judgmental whether you are being judgmental of the OP or of the tznius breakdown- these are ideas, and should be posed with ‘we might consider, would it be possible- i find it challenging – – and that unfortunately is what a comments forum does- Thank you OP for making an effort to come up with an idea that brings the problem to light, albeit you are presenting a possible idea almost as a requirement- and the kindness defenders here are not addressing the fact that we do have a problem.

  12. Your looks and wardrobe are your choice
    But we ask you as a favor
    To consider the zchus of embracing tznius
    As your personal proud behavior
    Your rewards will be endless
    Your sacrifices trying
    But Hey you never know whom you might save
    From getting sick or dying………………

  13. Theres actually a mitzva to tell your fellow jew when he or she is doing something wrong..And i think the writer is being general and generous. Noone is the tznius police nor is he saying to dress as in meah shiurim. The writer is asking that ppl dress more careful of the laws. Walking into a store with flip flops and no stockings or a dress with flaps as sleeves covering the shoulder only is a far cry from meah shiurim.
    The is a wide range of who keeps what chumra and who is more meikul. I believe the author of this article is speaking to those who have stepped wwaaayyyyyy over the line.
    On a different note ..Rabbi Z Wallerstein has a great speech on shmiras einayim on

  14. I am not an expert on this, but there is a concept Das Moshe and Das Yehudis. Das Moshe is cut halacha, which areas have to be coverd etc. Das Yehudis depends on the time and place of what is the accepted norm. It is very hard in 2017 Lakewood to say or define what Das Yehudis is with the wide variety of yidden we have in this town. Because someone has a certain chumra let say with the color of the stockings, I am not sure if that is bound on the entire town. I don’t think that store owners could impose a Das Yehudis standard of tzinus on everyone.

  15. I wasn’t going to say anything but I read some comments and feel like I must. I’m a young guy, married and in college. However, I feel disgusted when I see woman walking into Lakewood clothing stores clearly not tznius. Clearly, as in not the tznius police. Skirts way above the knee, collars way too low and elbows galore. This is not a matter of who is to decide what is appropriate or not. This is a matter of tznius or not.

  16. I can’t help but notice that every time this topic is published there are no details as to what the breaches are? I don’t think anyone would disagree with requiring that people not walk around in their bathing suits! But what we are talking about is more along the lines of the following: is this color too bright or just right? is this shaitel too long? is this skirt too tight? nude stockings or black stockings, lined stockings or non-lined stockings, shaven head or non-shaven heads, hats or wigs and so on.

    Shaitels are a very accepted mode of hair covering in our town. But there are many Sephardim who don’t wear them because of tznius reasons and they can make a very good case against shaitels! Anti Shaitel movement anyone?! ( I am being sarcastic of course).

    At the end of the day, I feel that articles like these do ONLY harm and No good. It just makes those struggling with tznius more alienated and reactive in the opposite way.

    • I have to respond, because, no insult meant, but you must be blind if you are responding this way. Do you not see women walking around with mini skirts? 2 inches above their knees. As if it’s normal. Forget about ‘tefach b’isha ervah’ you are talking about a lot more.
      And then there are the women who pull half their hair out in front of their sheitel. Who decided it’s okay? Yes, everyone is on a different level, but let’s not fool ourselves. Many if not most, of these girls are regular bais yaakov girls who think that these things are actually okay…
      Its a very big problem and I hope that they are all zocheh to overcome their yetzer haras very soon.

      • Exactly my point! you just defined specific tznius problems and I totally agree with you on that. Most people read these articles are not thinking about the “teens at risk” problems or those more rare occasions where an adult’s frumkiet/tznius is questionable. Most people, I believe, are just burnt out from all the tzniyus “keeping up with the Jones” problem. Many individuals and mechanchim/mechaneches try to out chumra the current trend and harp on things that are halachically permitted (please see what I listed above comment).

        I totally agree with you that what you described is totally not acceptable and I totally stand beside you against this. This goes the same for the article on mingling at weddings on the scoop which I was thrilled that someone brought to attention.

        At the same time, we must be very cautious with how we deal with our fragile young girls who are struggling or bais yackov girls who for the moment, forgot where they came from. I share in your tefillah that all should be zocheh to wage war and emerge victorious against this great yetzer harah. Thank you for responding.

  17. My take:
    The “tzniusdike” Lakewooders keep voting for the same people who allow unlimited building and development, thereby bringing in more “untzniusdike” people to live in our midst.

  18. all we are asking for is covered knew/elbows , standard neck lines . Im a regular businessmen but ladies in this town walk around with their sheitals down to waist and flip flops. We love and accept everyone but we would appreciate if you would be respectful to the tens of tgousands of bnei torah and dress respectfully and stop using this “dont judge me ” and ” thats why people go off the derech” excuse. People walk into vatican dressed proper and no one flips out. If you want to walk around like a protozoa then do so in your own home and shop in non jewish stores. I as a married man do not want to be looking at your toes . Thank you

  19. With all due respect, this letter should not have been published.
    Our job is to focus on ourselves, not dictate how others should live their lives. Altho upsetting at times, we can not control what others do or how they act. We can only strengthen ourselves.
    This is not what’ה wants from us.
    He wants us to love one another regardless of dress, status, levels, beliefs, etc.
    Statements like the one above will only push those that are struggling further away. Please spread unconditional and non judgemental love.
    Been there.


  20. Hey, does that mean not Jews can’t shop in our stores if they are not following halacha? A store can’t put up such a sign. We live in the United States. Freedom for all. Maybe one can put up a sign requesting basic decency because that’s inclusive of all. We are not living, B”H, in a Jewish ghetto. We have to be mindful of our Torah at all times and be mindful not to be hurtful to our non-Jewish customers. Our Torah is a gift for the Jewish nation and not required for all of humanity.

  21. Yes, in America 2017, it’s 100% appropriate to request decorum of decency in a private business. No less than courts in NYC settled that:

    If you have a problem with the “judgment” of the Torah and all Gedolei Yisroel, that’s your issue, not everyone else’s. Walking around immodestly “in your face” in a community that is sensitive to modesty is deeply offensive and detrimental to our quality of life and child rearing. This does not in any way mean that one does not have ahavas Yisroel towards individuals struggling with nisyonos.

    No one screams ‘”tolerance” when an establishment or event requests proper attire for non-religious purposes.

  22. What a bunch of fools you all are. why are you paying attention to someone who wrote of an incident that none of you know about? For all we know he could be complaining about someone who changed a baby’s diaper in the store. The person is obviously not genuine and just felt like sowing discontent on a public forum.

  23. Part of the problem is that women are supposed to ware clothing that don’t attract people’s attention. And with today’s styles, that have things hanging from all sides and clingy fabrics it’s a problem.

  24. Love and acceptance is a totally Jewish concept- perhaps this Shabbos when we bentch Rosh Chodesh ELUL we should omit “chaveirim KOL Yisroel” from our tefillos in Lakewood?!?

  25. “You are not welcome in our store if you speak loshon hora!” End of story.
    This town has a way worse problem speaking loshon hora then people not dressing tznius. So if u speak loshon hora please dont enter my store.

  26. Tznius is not reserved only for the female gender. It applies to everyone. Maybe if the men would talk and dress tznius they make a good impression on everyone else.

  27. I’ve been living out of town now for more than two years. The place where I live has very few “yeshivish people”. Yet, I find that Shmiras Einayim is much easier in my home town than it is in Lakewood. I’m currently here in Lakewood for a few weeks and literally couldn’t believe my eyes. The women are dressing in a way that clearly shows they want to be seen. Is all we are asking for is just a little less focus on what you’re wearing on a Tuesday afternoon. Shabbas and Yom Tov is a time to get dressed up, but not the middle of the week. We know it’s difficult, and us men aren’t perfect. We can also learn more, daven a little better, and be better husbands/father.
    Thank you for writing this letter and bringing the attention this subject deserves.

  28. When I became a store owner in town it was a hard adjustment seeing so many colorful ppl walking through the door. The mode of dress for some were and still are a terrible breach in tznius. On many occasions I had to seriously hold myself back from approaching someone who wasn’t sitting properly etc. The more I get to know my customers however, the more I see them as wonderful people on all different levels. Not everyone who live in Lakewood are on the same level. Everyone has a yetzer hara, some ppl wear it on their shirt sleeve. Others don’t. Do I agree with their dress code? No way! But I can’t judge them. Who am I? Everyone has their journey in life.

  29. Ahavas Yisroel doesn’t become my problem because I prefer to follow a pushit’e Halacha in Shulchan Aruch!
    And if someone doesnt like it let them leave!
    Since when does everyone in this town have to be Machnia to Avaryanim!!!

  30. Not sure if the letter was appropriate to post. I feel that its not bringing any additional kovod shamayim. Its just allowing people to shout and scream the frustrations they have. Whenever this topic comes up there are always tens of comments. I almost feel the letter itself is a breach of tznius as comments discuss details of how people are dressed inappropriately. thats why perhaps the yetzer hora is sitting on this letter. it allows people to “imagine”. Sorry but its the truth.

  31. I’m a woman and I think that the way many women dress here is disgraceful (including some of my own close relatives). I don’t feel comfortable telling even my nearest and dearest how to dress for fear of alienating them, but, I am glad this letter was posted. There are some tznius guidelines which are not excessive and should be adhered to – covered elbows and knees, high enough necklines and either long skirts and socks, or stockinged legs, no flip flops or sandals with bare feet. I am not going to say more about the long sheitels, or hair that sticks out under a cap etc.

  32. I’m not sure why the subject of ahavas yisroel and judging others keeps on coming up. There was absolutely no judgement or looking down at others in the letter. It just mentioned what a hard time the particular baalhabos has with shmiras ha’eiynaim due to the breaches in halacha, and one idea in helping the issue.
    The only ones lacking ahavas yisroel are those prancing around in ways that are anti halacha thereby being machshil others. Where is their concern for their fellow Jew who is trying to serve Hashem properly.
    And to Reb Yid, I’m sorry but your letter was not too yiddish at all.First of all, there was no lashon hora in the letter, just a sincere request to upgrade the ruchnius. Secondly, your scathing remark was definitely intolerant and anti torahdig as opposed to the letter writer who never unwelcomed anyone directly. (Albeit there are nicer ways of expressing this request.)

  33. All those who want others to change their mode of dress to suit them, is just plan and simple selfish. If you cared about your fellow brothers and sisters this article would’ve been written out of concern for those dressing immodestly and how they must be struggling with the pain of low self esteem or the like. You have a problem seeing women dressed immodestly? Go find out how to deal with that!..there is help out there (in Torah and in psychology..or both..whichever you prefer). Do you remember that you fasted just 2 weeks ago to commemorate the destruction of the beis hamikdash? The churbun was brought upon us because of lack of unconditional love for one another. It says that straight out. It is selfish to want others to change so that YOU can struggle less in that area. And dare I can only love a fellow Jew if they make your life easier and conform to your set of rules? Or even Hashems set of rules. Where in Torah does it say “Love your fellow man like you love yourself..ONLY IF…”. It is sad when one does not look within and see where they need skills or chizuk in areas of their personal growth and instead blame those around them. How about changing perspective? Perhaps Hashem is testing you and giving you the ability to prove your strength? Stand tall! Be proud that you can be in a town where people are dressed immodestly and surpass your expectations! May Hashem give all of us strength and courage to love everyone unconditionally and grow to out fullest potential!

  34. Hot topic thanks for posting. We need more aware Ness. Definitely the clothing store’s can help bring aware ness. I think Shabbos teshuva should be also Shabbos Tzinius.

  35. For all of you crying out to “Love thy neighbor”, take note that the letter writer did not say anything about not loving other yidden. He is taking issue with an aveirah that they are commiting and being machshil the rabim. Anyone here who cares about what the Torah requires, will not only focus on “Love thy neighbor”, but will pay attention to the basic REQUIREMENTS of tznius. No, they are not meant for only yerushalmi or chassidim! They are for all Jews the same way shmiras halashon and all other mitzvos are commanded by the Torah. The letter writer is 100% correct that people should be considerate of others and of themselves and dress appropriately. That does not take away from the fact that we all need to improve in many areas. You naysayers are avoiding the tznius topic by focusing on other topics as if tznius is a bad word… Shame on you!!! Face the facts and act and dress appropriately!!! If you can’t go to court that way, you shouldn’t be walking our streets that way!!

  36. There are Yiddin who have trouble practically applying Halacha to their lives: whether it be in dress or other areas. They may be struggling to connect to H-Shem, or maybe they just became frum? All is true and possible, and for those reasons, as yiddin we shouldn’t come to conclusions about the individual and judge. Though this may be the case, this is still not an excuse to be disrespectful to the people who are living around you. This is a concept that has nothing to do with religion! For example: a person who usually wears shirts that are more revealing will “cover up” a little more if they were to be in court. Why? Because there is a certain dress standard when appearing in a court room. If that individual were to wear what s/he usually wears- it would be DISRESPECTFUL to the judge and the court! Therefore, if you are a yid who is struggling with tznius- just the basic of what is clearly in Halacha, not referring to “grey areas”- please try to be mindful and respectful to the community you are living in. Yes, Lakewood is not what it used to be in many ways, but I’m assuming we can all agree that it is still a town that is based on Torah values. It is good middos to respect and be sensitive to the environment you are in. (The opposite of “entitlement”).
    Thank you, A happy Jewish MOM:)

  37. To Mrs Look Inside Yourself,
    I’m assuming your a lady.
    I didn’t read your whole comments. But the Bais Hamidosh was not destroyed to not having unconditional love. It was because baseless haterd, that’s far from unconditional love.
    And people do need to dress according to the minhag of Lakewood which is what the minhag of Yeshiva is.
    Otherwise go back to Brooklyn!

    • I disagree with your comment. Not everyone in this town is part of the yeshiva. There are many people here who are on all different levels and to said that the yeshiva minhag is what everyone has to follow is wrong.

      • As a non-Jew I find this discussion fascinating. Not everyone in Lakewood is Jewish. Despite appearances, Lakewood is NOT a “Jewish town.” I have often wondered, am I allowed to shop in “your” shops? Is it legal to forbid me to shop there? Honestly curious.

  38. If we really loved one another enough, we would correct and accept criticism from each other.
    The men are mostly responsible for the way the woman dress. If a mans wife would hear from her husband to please dress less flashy etc, she would listen.
    Unfortunately, we judge ourselves in contrast to the world and so we aren’t appalled by how we look.
    Rosh Hashana is around the corner when we will all come to shul to ask HaShem for a sweet New Year. Let’s be honest about our shortcomings so we can become better people and be written in the book of life.

  39. Ok – So we wanna welcome everyone into our schools (how dare we turn away a yiddishe neshama ??!!) but not into our stores. That makes a lot of sense. Thanx, TLS, for posting. You’re the best !!

  40. I would like to first say that I can’t believe this is really even an issue. We need to really look at ourselves at observe what we are doing to each other.

    Covah HaBrios demands that we accept people for where they are. I grew up in a house that accepted people if they were not as frum as we were. If I want people to be respectful than I must be respectful. I can’t demand anyone be different based on my say so.

    When I was in Yeshiva in the 10th grade, my Rebbi taught is that it is up to us to keep our eyes to the ground in front of us. It is up to me to learn what my character defects are and work on them. It is not the other person’s issue or responsibility to change, especially if we live in a secular society.

    If we keep isolating ourselves with our own halachic stringency than we are no different than any other elitist ‘hate’ group.

    We need to stop all this once and for all. We are only hurting ourselves.

    And one other thing, to the best of my knowledge, it is illegal in the US to refuse service to a customer in a business based on race, creed, religion or lack of religion.

  41. One of the gedolei hador of the post war generation said that the reason why Germany fell so fast in Ruchnius was because everyone felt it’s not my business and it’s lashon hora to talk about the people breaching halacha
    Something to think about

  42. Perhaps Mr. Concerned is right, but we are all sounding like the college kids everywhere who think it’s their right not to be offended #antifa

  43. I think its time we make a big kinnus in CitiField to discuss what is appropriate and what not.
    We can get all the high end clothing stores in the tri-
    state to sponsor this magnanimous event…

  44. Does noone else see that the entire world is at ideological odds against each other? Iran, Isis, Londonistan, Paristan, North Korea, Charlottesville, Berkley, Evergreen St. So of course Lakewood, hatzlacha. #astheworldburns

  45. Posting from Lancaster. I think Lakewood should go with a Mennonite model where there is one style and length outfit that everyone wears on a weekday and another on holidays. You dont see any of them dressing problematicaly because its all one style and length.It would solve not only the Tznius problems but many of the budgetary problems as well.

Comments are closed.