Park in Jewish Enclave Will Not Segregate Based on Gender - The Jewish Voice
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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Park in Jewish Enclave Will Not Segregate Based on Gender

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The New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union have settled a lawsuit against the Village of Kiryas Joel with the government agreeing it will not endorse segregation of the sexes in a public park.

The NYCLU and ACLU sued the village in December after press reports documented a public park where women and girls were confined to an area with red benches and playground equipment, with boys and men confined to a blue area. In settling this case the NYCLU has confirmed that the village has removed all signs suggesting the red and blue areas may only be used by females or males.

“Public parks cannot segregate on the basis of sex any more than they can for race or national origin,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This agreement ensures that all park visitors have equal access to the entire park.”

The Kinder Park, on unincorporated land in the Town of Monroe, opened to residents of the Satmar Hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel last year. According to press reports, signs written in Yiddish instructed that women and girls in the park must be confined to areas with red and pink benches, slides and jungle gyms, while boys and men were confined to areas of the park with blue equipment.

Kiryas Joel has been subject to numerous legal challenges because of the excessive entanglement of religion in all aspects of village life. Under the latest agreement, the NYCLU and ACLU will drop the lawsuit, but will continue to monitor the park over the next three summers to ensure that there is no endorsed or enforced segregation on the basis of sex in public places or programs.

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