Reader-submitted: I’m considering not allowing my son to go to the grocery for me

Call me ‘Farfrumt’, or whatever else you’d like, but I consider myself a mother who actually cares, and I just wanted to point out that I’m considering not allowing my young Bachur go to the grocery for me.

The reason? Lakewood is no longer the same Lakewood it was 10 years ago with regards to Tznius.

I’m a regular ‘with-it’ woman (who happened to have moved from out of town close to 25 years ago), and I must say I’m appalled at the complete lack of Tznius I see.

I know the issues of Tznius has been addressed here before, as well as in some national papers, but I never thought it would reach a point where I would simply not want my son exposed to these elements in my local grocery store?

Who ever heard of women walking around as if Halachos are optional? This isn’t your backyard. This is a public place, and the Michshal is tremendous.

I’m just hoping this can somehow be rectified before we completely lose the sensitivity expected from us as an Am Kadosh.

Thank you (and thank you Scoop, should you publish this letter).

Mrs. C.L.,

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  1. Thank you for bringing us this message! It’s worthwhile even if only one person makes one little improvment, and you can be sure that it will be more than that. And the more backlash you get, the more reward you get too. Thank you!

  2. Not to condone the lack of Tznius or tell you how ty raise your child. Maybe you should first speak to a competent posek before implementing such a change in your child’s life. There are potentially many factors that are to be considered alongside your own.

  3. I think it’s important to raise your son to know where to look and where not to look. I want my daughters to have husbands that can go to the grocery for them.

  4. Don’t paint with broad strokes. The tzibbur living in Lakewood is comprised of bnei aliyah. Look for the good and don’t draw the spotlight to a negative place. Classifying a community negatively has serious repercussions.

  5. I can’t agree more. My husband just mentioned that his boss just hired 2 women who don’t dress according to halacha. This is about black and white Jewish Law, covering the parts that are required to be covered, and not wearing tight fitting clothing. This is not discussing “yeshivish” looking clothing – that’s not one of our 613 mitzvos. But the basic laws….

  6. You are absolutely correct! It’s completely gross disgusting and highly inappropriate to see older women with kids in their strollers dressed as if their 12 year old (moderated) and wigs that reach past those skirts!this is an issue that has existed in other in town cities but never before in Lakewood. I’m not from around here but you can be sure I definitely will not be bringing up my kids in this highly inappropriate environment

  7. #10 – that is a real issue and and thats the world ,( let him know you understand & are machshiv his zehirus more than his nt seder , although nt seder is a shmirah as well.) however that also answers the grocery . if your bochur cant handle going to the grocery than he will fail miserably when like #10 he needs to work ,& wants to be ehrlich , yet is forced into a position not of casually seeing this one or that one but having to work in close proximity or possibly even collaborate on office work …with a woman who probably doesn’t mean it but is provocative and challenging. if you can get thru try calling a rav or someone like rabbi efraim glassman in lkwd for guidance, lastly tefilah ” val teviaynu…

  8. The same way you teach your children not to go to McDonald’s, etc., you teach them about znius and other issues. If you explain to your children what’s right & wrong, they’ll implement it in life. You cannot hide forever in the four walls of your home. You think you’ll not find issues with znius even in shul? We’re in USA…only Yidden are dressed zniusdig….everyone else dresses as they please!!!!

  9. mega dittoes! Inculcating in your son the importance of avoiding problematic places and choosing which dtored he frequents id a good thing. And how can you compare a bochurs struggles to a husband. .

  10. Lakewood grocery stores attract customers from all over the tri-state region. Why do you assume the shoppers are exclusively from Lakewood? And, what specifically do you object to? Hair length? Skirt length? Tightness of clothing? You simply make general assertions. Get a grip – the grocery store isn’t the beach; your son should begin learning how to live in American society – he’ll need a lot more coaching on self-restraint than by seeing shoppers in the grocery store;

  11. You should send your son to the Bais Medrosh. He NEVER should go shopping. He belongs in the Bais Medrosh for as long as he can be there.
    Non Yeshivas he boys go shopping and waste precious time in many other ways. But not a fine Lakewood “Bachur”
    If you would have this basic chinuch policy in your home your son would never have “tznious” issues.

  12. This is not a new thing 20 years ago there were women who had husbands who would not go shopping in the (moderated) because of how women were dressed.

  13. I completely agree with the letter writer. I used to live in Lakewood and recently moved out of town and its quite sad that the “Ir Hatorah” is so severely lacking in this area compared to out of town communities. there’s no reason woman need to get dressed as if they were going wedding for a simple trip to the grocery store.

  14. #18 AMS – your comment has nothing to do with tznius. Dressing up to go shopping may reflect placing the wrong emphasis on gashmius & clothing, but has nothing to do with dressing in a modest fashion. Perhaps the discussion should revolve around placing too much emphasis on material goods. And frankly, as an out of towner myself, I often shop in LW when I’m on my way to a LW chasuna – I’m dressed up! You can’t generalize.

  15. Genius! Because everytime someone tried doing something stupid like this their kid became a huge yarei shamayim? No, you are completely messing up you child.

  16. I think you should not stop there. Please don’t allow your son to walk down any streets with new ostentatious homes on it (almost every street in Lakewood unfortunately) and cover his eyes as any Lexus and Land Rover drives down your street (increasingly often).

    Because modesty does not stop at clothing. And I think there is a greater chance that our children will be negatively affected by the new intense focus on gashmiyus in Lakewood than the way the women of our community dress. My children never say they want to dress like a certain lady. The DO ask why I don’t drive a fancier care than I do and why I don’t build a new big house.

    BTW, I can afford to drive any car I want to and can afford to build a new house. I choose not to because I believe to live below your means is better..


      • Perhaps, but his point is correct. Gashmiyus is worse. It affects our kids way worse.

        But for some reason we hear about tzniyus. When is the last time the town had an asifah with all the rabbonim against the crazy standards of gashmiyus? I remember we’ve had a couple on tzniyus

  17. I to encountered a total lack of decency and outright pritzes while shopping in a large heimish supermarket. I politely asked the manager if there was any lawful manner to request customers dress appropriately. He was patronizing however didn’t leave me with the impression he was going to find out. 1) Research the law 2) insist the stores do whatever they can

  18. How many times will we fall back on “build the wall” mentality (pun intended). Our gut reactions are always to insulate! this has failed time and time again. You will NEVER be able to shield your son from this problem. He will, sooner or later, be forced to deal with it whether its in an office, walking down the street or dealing with mothers as a Rebbe.

    Now is the time to field his questions and train him on whats out there. The shelter will collapse one day and he will find himself without any tools to deal with shmiras einayim.

    How is it that one’s mother can touch a hot pot handle while we would shriek in pain? she has been handling the pot ( i.e. a boy going to the grocery looking away) for along time and has developed the Armour to do so. Can/should she stick her hand in a fire ( i.e. can/should a boy go to a beach or any other type of place)? of course not!

  19. The kedusha has sadly left Lakewood since 10 or more years ago when the town’s growth stopped being based on torah. Now people don’t come to Lakewood to devote their life to torah-as it was originally started by Harsh Aharon ZT”L-They come to enjoy themselves in the gashmius town today.

    Very sad that this happened.

    The new Torah community today is Cleveland or Fallsburg

  20. do you let your husband shop there ? if yes why? if not why was your son there in the first place, you seem to think theres a difference between the 2. why? both must not look where they shouldnt.

  21. Wow! What a special people Klal yisroel are, this is what were worried about, keeping the highest standards of tznius and keeping our and our children’s neshamos clean and pure!!

    As a yungerman now, having been a bachur growing up in lakewood around 8-9 years ago I strongly considered writing a letter and addressing it to all ladies and Girls in lakewood. Noone has bad intentions c”v but they just dont realize the michshol and hardship they are causing to Men and bachurim. It is hard for someone to keep in mind something that doesnt personally affect them, but that is where the halachos of tznius come in, and just like any lady or girl would never want to cause any pain to another yid c”v, they dont realize that dressing and acting in certain ways has a direct affect on people, and causes real pain and michshol. There is enough michsholim out there, to quote my grandfather zt”l, ”in one days mail youre exposed to more michsholim then we were in year in the Shtetel”, and trying so hard to fight, every michshol is another painful challenge. And yes, it affects married men to, not to mention how many shalom bayis issues are caused by this.

    How lucky we are to be part of the Am Hanivchar with such special Nshei and bnos Chayil who are a million times better than what is the norm in the world today, and just if they can give another little push would make all the difference, The sechar is unimaginable, and it also a chance to be mekayem ”veahavta leraicha kamocha””

    Thank you and ”ashrei ha’am shekaha lo”!!

    In this zechus may we merit moshiach bekarov!!

  22. Son going to grocery is just an example to make a point!!! The tznius is outrageous, and yes, it IS something to talk about!!! Forget about it being Lakewood, but how can yiddishe neshamos go dressed like that??? Stay home with such attire. It is unfortunate how such a lovely town has fallen so low…

  23. I won’t call you farfrumt. I’ll call you stupid.

    Do you want a son who never learns how to deal with the world outside of your (what I am sure is) holy home?

  24. I think I’m going to open a large grocery store where I will advertise large savings for all those that come dressed to shop appropriately. I will have a mashgiachess at the door who will hand out coupons – not just an hour before closing on erev Shabbos but every hour of the day to hand out to all that are dressed appropriately. I think it will be a very busy grocery store and yes with plenty of bochurim too.

    • One of the large grocery stores implemented gevarim’s hours for one hour a week, one of the nights (about 12 years ago). It worked quite well, I think. I’m not sure if they still do it.

  25. B”H most people are betznius, but there are people who can use improvement; whether they live here, or whether they are coming from other locations, as some commentators mentioned. I think, also, that the store-owners have to set a certain tone. For example, one seforim-store here (and the seforim-stores get many out-of-town customers), has a sign on the door to dress modestly. Although it is referring to matters of sleeve-length and skirt-length, still, Bnei Torah should know all the details. Likewise, people coming here; whether to live or just to shop, should in fact ‘shtel tzu’ to the location. Why should people be saying ‘it’s not like it used to be’, when in fact it is enormously so. About half the town are current yeshivaleit, and probably at least another quarter are alumni. On the other hand, you have to know how to deal with people – especially visitors. There is a story in the book about Rebbetzin Kanievsky A”H, that often ladies and girls considering becoming frum, would come to her, and escort her from shul to her home. Understandably, their tznius was lacking. Once a bochur [in Bnei Brak – on the most frum communities in the world] saw this, and called out in protest. The rebbetzin responded to him: ‘What you said is wrong, and I’ll tell you something which I have never told anyone: As long as this is your attitude, you are not welcome in my house’. So you really have to know whom you are dealing with and how to talk to them. On the other hand, as we were saying, if there is a restaurant owner who is known to be somewhat ‘laitza’nes’dik’, (and I don’t mean all), and you see a serious lack of tznius there, you realize whom you’re dealing with. Customers tend to have a feeling of what the owner goes for; if he felt it would impact his business, he would give an attitude. I hope these words are taken in good light. Any questions, please use ‘respond’ button.

  26. It’s very nice to see how everyone thinks our community needs change but did you think of the other side do you know how hard it is for someone struggling with tznius to put on a longer skirt or to buy a top one size larger most of us know we are doing something wrong but us easier said then done and everyone needs to stop judging so much each person has their own challenges and nisyonos and stop looking at what everyone else is doing and start working on your own faults first

  27. I’m a yumgerman and haven’t really noticed that there is an issue. I guess I’m usually in a rush and busy shopping, but I have noticed that the checkout in some establishments is problematic and is uncomfortable for a Frum man…

  28. Whoa all you tznius bashers out there. I read Mrs. C.L.’s post and did not get the impression she’s going to mess up her kid by “forbidding” him to go to the grocery store. I think she’s just going to think 100 times before sending him out to do a מצוה הבאה בעבירה. I feel the same way, and while I don’t actually “forbid” my husband or sons from doing as such, I certainly hesitate and avoid it whenever possible. It’s that bad. I don’t know how the yetzer harah won this one BIG TIME in of all places – Lakewood. Sad sad sad. Anyone who is arguing this point is either oblivious, or has already been drawn in to the עצת היצר.

  29. I am with you 100 % !! And whoever sais ” get on with life , it’s a new world out there “shud check himself/ his Yiddishe soul ( if it’s still intact !) Because our Torah is and shud remain the same , no matter what year we are ..if its 1972 or 2017 and so on…
    Lakewood shud be one of the main “Torah pride” cities in the world and look what we’ve come to – not only thw women are the issue here , but unfortunately the men too !!
    The goyim in town don’t run a fashion show – why shud we ” am kadosh ” !!??

  30. Please stop saying if you would only know my nissayun for tznius. You are part of a very special nation that abides by the Torah. So there’s no two ways about it, you must follow it. Now with the mothers concern of course don’t prevent him from going to store because these stuff only backfire. Trust me I know. However you should explain to him the importance of shmeras einayem and how big the schar is for not looking even just once.

  31. Everyone calm down. The lack of tzniyis is just a reminder that there are many women who are in pain and manifests in their dress. We all have issues. We all experience pain. Everyone copes differently. Everyone look inside yourselves and figure out how to maintain Kedusha despite the outside world. Enough being so superficial and blaming the world..that is childish and so emotionally immature. The world (lakewood included) is the exact way Hashem wants it to be..if it was supposed to be different, He would change it. If you want Lakewood to change then daven and ask Hashem to change it instead of blaming people and having expectations that may or may not be realistic. Hashem is all powerful. You are not.

  32. Not judging others and being dan lkaf zchus is also part of our torah. Perhaps some women are baalus teshuvah, or on their way to yoddishkeit. You get the point. People get so hooked up on one or two halachos and forget about the rest of the 613 mitzvos!

  33. Just email, fax or phone orders! No need to send anyone to the grocery!
    Also, not sure which groceries you shop in but I haven’t noticed any tznius issues at the ones I visit.

  34. If you have an issue with him going to a grocery store then you must not let him go to any other store or place where there is non-religious Jews there, dressing immodestly.
    Enough with this issue constantly being rehashed over and over. Do you think it will really change any woman’s closet?

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