Since I've started this blog, I've seen so many stories of businesses attacked by these self-appointed Vaadim. Anything relating to women seems particularly susceptible. In Israel, we've seen stories of clothing boutiques being threatened and even set on fire. A popular vocation for kollel wives in Israel is cosmetician services. But don't dare advertise your business in Modiin Ilit! The kehilla committee, has told publications that they are not to publish advertisements for eyebrow shaping, even if the ad is text only. Pharmacy and grocery stores in Israel face special challenges regarding kashrut demands and specific opening hours. Under normal circumstances the market would dictate things like opening hours or even having separate shopping hours or areas for which feminine products are to be secluded. But the Chareidi business man or the business man looking to establish a store in a Charieidi area knows that demands must be met even if the market might dictate a different policy. American pharmacy owners in areas like Boro Park or Lakewood also face similar challenges.
Even in America, a boycott was announcement when the owner of sheitel shop on the same street as Yeshiva Chaim Berlin refused the demand of some man to remove framed pictures (I guess this is better than requesting the removal of real live women walking around in the same sheitels).
So what is the newest report of economic terrorism? It regards an ice cream store (!)-- not a sheitel shop, not a women's education program, not a call center manned by Chareidi women, a cosmetician advertising eyebrow shaping services, a women looking to sell clothing, a woman looking to teach the arts to other women and girls, or a pharmacy being told to keep the pads out of public view or remove/cover a picture of a teen star (in a sheitel of her own no less).
As per this report published today, a new ice cream and candy store, Zisalek of Geulah, has found itself in the middle of a hashgacha battle and has faced protests regarding tznius, hashkafa, and ruchniyus. The store owner met with protesters and agree to institute the following to appease them:
1. The store won’t sell on Erev Shabbos after 1 p.m. ice cream that can be eaten immediately, such as ice cream cones, and will only sell at that point packaged ice cream that can be bought for families for Shabbos.
2. The store will not open on Motzoei Shabbos.
3. The store will close at 10:30 p.m. each night.
The store owner wouldn't agree to have female employees only sell to females and male employees only sell to males. (The quick way to bankruptcy!)
Running a business and making a profit is very difficult work! Profit margins in nearly every industry are normally very slim and adding demands that increase the most costly area of business (payroll) is sure to topple a business. To place demand upon demand upon Chareidi entrepreneurs looking to support their families in dignity is nothing but Economic Terrorism. The market will decide if it is in the best interest of a store to close at 10:30pm! The market will decide if it is in the best of the store to have an employee scooping ice cream after 1pm on Erev Shabbat!
I think it is obvious that self-appointed tzniut vaadim aren't the least bit interested in the financial health of their communities. (I'd argue that being self-supporting is integral to tzniut/dignity. "Hustling" certainly lacks dignity). Leaders, both lay and Gedolim, who are interested in the financial health of the community MUST tackle this issue with courage and allow businesses to function and prosper.