Councilman Greenfield Defends Kiryas Joel Community On Private Segregated Park


kj park“People are entitled to live in peace. That’s our right, its America,” said Councilman David Greenfield Thursday evening, on his weekly radio show, with regard to the recent New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit challenging the village of Kiryas Joel’s refusal to disclose public records about a gender-segregated park.

“Public parks cannot segregate based on [gender] any more than they can on race or national origin,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a press release. “New Yorkers have every right to know if this is happening here and if tax dollars are supporting something so blatantly unlawful.”

But according to Councilman Greenfield, the attempt by the NYCLU and “secular liberal Jews” to blacken the Hasidic community in Kiryas Joel over this park is absurd.

“It is important that we get the facts straight,” the Councilman said.

“NYCLU and ACLU have a fair argument – sort of a legal precedent – that government should not be paying for a gender-segregated park on government park land,” he said. “Where they are wrong, is that the village attorney clearly said, “The village has no gender-segregated ‘public’ park,” because it’s indeed a private park with private funds on private property. So what are they criticizing? It almost seems they are picking on these Hasidic Jews in Kiryas Joel.”

“The reality is that many of the Hasidim, especially the older children, would not go to a park unless there was a separate area for boys and a separate area for girls,” he asserted. “It is important to recognize that People are entitled to live their lives in peace. And if you go to Kiryas Yoel, clearly you want to live your life a certain way, you’re living in a village for the purpose of surrounding yourself in a certain kind of community and environment that is based on your Religious/Chasidic traditions. That’s your right.”

“That’s what I find offensive. That’s not the kind of resources that the NYCLU and the ACLU should be engaged in. They should be helping people, not hurting people,” Mr. Greenfield said of the lawsuit.

Photo: screengrab – News12

(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)


  1. If it is a private park but open to the public, it is a public accommodation and therefore subject to the same civil rights laws that prohibit private parks open to the public from enforcing policies that keep Jews out.

  2. 1) You’re a bad NYC Councilman, there is no need to share your opinion on non-NYC matters.
    2) Instead of finding the ACLU offensive, you should indeed find the actions of KJ offensive to your religion. We have enough commandments and issurim, we don’t need to make up new ones.

  3. Oy, #3 (truthsharer)
    How little you understand…

    I’ll start you off with one morsel:

    One of our (Rabbinical) commandments is indeed “Asai S’yug L’Torah”. (“Make ‘fences/barriers’ for the Torah.”)
    That’s in Pirkei-Avos. Look it up.

    Apparently our ancient Sages don’t agree with your premise that “We have enough commandments and issurim, we don’t need to make up new ones.”

    Each Kehilla is entitled, nay, obligated, to establish extra parameters that they deem necessary or constructive.
    And whoever disagrees with the Kehilla’s policies is welcome to join another.

    As for admiring vs. condemning any new particular Chumra, first have a frank discussion with one of their knowledgeable members or, better yet, leaders. Then you may possibly be qualified to stick in your 2 cents!

  4. Charlie,

    What is your point? Does that somehow justify them coming to harass the frum people over it?

    And just for the record: your shul Hebrew Institute os Riverdale is also a public accomodation that is (at least now) gender segregated. And it is actually supported by tax money since it is tax exempt.

  5. If it is a private park open to the public, the public should be greatful. Perhaps they should keep it public and sell lifetime memberships for a penny so everyone can leave them alone on how they live. If they built thisb place to uphold their faith and give kids a safe appropriate place to play, good for them. If your life is so boringb you have to worry about what everyone else is doing and try and make them fit in your box….take up knitting or something constructive.

  6. #3 you clearly contradict yourself . “there is no need to share your opinion” yet in #2 of your comment you are giving your opinion You don’t hear yourself what your saying !!

  7. If it is government funded it is according to the government’s rules, but if it is privately funded they can do as they want (similar to having private single-sex schools which are clearly legal). IF the people running Kiriyas Joel are co-mingling funds, they need to learn basic accounting which is probably what their lawyer is telling them.