Quantcast
Connect with us

Religious group forces NYC public pool to reinstate gender-segregated swimming

Published

on

A New York City swimming pool has been forced to maintain gender-segregated swimming hours at the insistence of local Hasidic Jews.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State reported Thursday that the Metropolitan Swimming Pool, located on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn held separate swimming hours for women for more than two decades.

ADVERTISEMENT

However, the city’s Commission on Human Rights warned last month that the practice of segregating swimmers by gender violates equal access laws.

It briefly appeared that the Metropolitan Pool would comply with the council’s order to desegregate swimming hours to make the pool available to everyone, but State Assemblyman Dov Hikind strenuously objected to the ruling.

“What happened to being culturally sensitive? I thought we were in the midst of a ‘Progressive Era,’ where we do everything we can to be more accepting of cultural differences,” said Hikind in a statement.

He continued, “In no way is this program for separate gender swimming meant to be discriminatory. Anyone, regardless of their race or religion, is more than welcome to take advantage of the facility’s services. We call upon the City and the Parks Department to reverse this decision and ensure the continuation of this program.”

The Parks Department relented and for now, gender segregated swimming hours will continue.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rabbi David Niederman — director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg — told The Forward, “It is a question do we believe in equality or not?”

“Men,” he said, “are much more active. They go, they walk, they go to work. They’re all day outside. Women are more homebound… Especially women who have a lot of children, that type of exercise [swimming] is very healthy for them. Depriving that…it hurts.”

Americans United pointed out that gender-segregated swimming is already available in the area at members-only pools.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Boro Park Y and Shorefront Y both offer women-only swimming hours,” wrote Sarah E. Jones at the Wall of Separation blog. “It’s not clear why Hasidic women apparently prefer the public pool to these options, but their ability to swim in a manner that conforms to their religious practice is not actually dependent upon a public facility’s decision to accommodate them.”

The New York Times Editorial Board weighed in on the matter Wednesday with an essay declaring that forcing everyone male out of the pool for one religious group’s special dispensation is an unlawful use of public property.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There is no just way to tell a sweaty Brooklynite on a Sunday afternoon that he should be ejected onto Bedford Avenue because one religious group doesn’t want him in the pool,” the editors wrote.

“The best solution would be for the city to immediately end religious segregation in the pools, and limit the rules of separation only to practical considerations, like keeping lap swimmers away from splashing children. Let those who cannot abide public, secular rules at a public, secular pool find their own private place to swim when and with whom they see fit,” the Times concluded.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Pence adviser says that Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian president was ‘unusual and inappropriate’

Published

on

Mike Pence sneer

Jennifer Williams, a Special Adviser on Europe and Russia issues for Vice President Mike Pence's foreign policy team, told congressional investigators that she viewed President Donald Trump's July 25th phone call to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky as "unusual and inappropriate." Williams had listened in on the phone call while it was happening, and a whistleblower revealing the controversial contents of that call prompted the current impeachment inquiry into Trump.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Chuck Todd burns down GOP’s Ron Johnson’s Ukraine excuses: ‘You seem to blame this on everybody but the president’

Published

on

A clearly exasperated Chuck Todd was forced to talk over a loud and filibustering Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Sunday morning for once again pushing Ukraine conspiracies and arguing over whether Donald Trump wanted the president of Ukraine to attack former Vice President Joe Biden on his behalf.

Having let Johnson throw out several scenarios and try and spread the blame around, Todd, finally cut in to say, "You seem to blame this on everybody but the president. It was the president’s actions."

"You’re blaming everybody else for the reason we’re in this situation, other than the president," Todd continued. "Isn’t the president’s own behavior, which raised all of these yellow and red flags, isn’t is that why we’re here?”

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

I can ‘do anything I want, I’m a police officer’: Indiana cop fired after racially profiling black men in mall parking lot

Published

on

A white police officer working for Lawrence Township in Indiana has been fired after he was filmed accosting two black men sitting in their car outside of a Nordstrom Rack and accusing them of being "suspicious."

According to WTHR, Lawrence Township Deputy Constable Daryl Jones approached cousins Aaron Blackwell and Durell Cunningham on the north side of Indianapolis but was filmed on a cellphone that eventually led to him losing his job.

The cousins stated that Jones racially profiled them and tried to run their car plates.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image