If you were deep in the heart of South Williamsburg Monday night, you might’ve come across a baffling scene: four Hasidim stood outside 868 Bedford Avenue, chanting loudly in protest against the grand opening of Moishe’s Place, a kosher take-out and delivery restaurant that — in addition to falafel, soups and salads — serves a Shabbos menu on Thursdays.
According to the restaurant’s owner, the in-fighting had nothing to do with the menu. Instead, the protestors were taking a stance against “hangouts” – or, a place where modern-day socializing might occur.
“We had a grand-opening event, with live music and a band. We had a magic show, we had a clown giving out balloons, we had a beautiful and successful event,” Moishe wrote in a text message. “And then the protest came along later that night.”
In February, the Daily News reported that a “modesty patrol” had been protesting stores and eating establishments for offenses that ranged from failing to enforce dress codes, to having big windows through which women could be seen shopping for clothes. The Jewish Week has also reported on “modesty committees” that “conduct surveillance” on “local businesses that may be featuring immodest window displays or creating an atmosphere conducive to mixed-sex socializing.”
We’re hoping to hear more from Moishe as to whether these were members of the so-called Va’ad Hatznius.
In any case, the protestors don’t appear to have a large following. A second Youtube post shows one young Hasidic bystander openly mocking the men. When cops showed up, they quietly scuttled away, while Moishe’s party attendees curiously watched. A single comment attached to the first video reads “lol.”