Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents are fed up with tourists who swarm their insular neighborhoods by the busload — all to gawk at their clothing and customs.
“People snap pictures of you like you’re on some sort of display — like you’re in a zoo,” said Chaim, 42, who lives in Williamsburg’s Satmar community and asked that his last name be withheld. “We are people, not animals to be photographed.”
Sightseeing groups venture into Williamsburg and Crown Heights several times a week, some via tour-bus companies InterviajesNY, Tour America and Civitatis. The three offer so-called “contrast” tours of various cultural communities in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Bronx — with one touting the “numerous memorials to gang members who were killed in shootouts” in that borough.
The tours — which cost from $40 to $70 — have been going on for years, but locals say that this summer the throngs, and the tensions they cause, have reached a new high.
“Lately they’re out there every day by the hundreds, and it’s become a ‘must see’ for tourists,” said Max Hauer, 41, who lives in Williamsburg’s Satmar area. He added that he has been photographed many times without his consent.
“They see me as a freak,” said Hauer. “They see us as people from another world [and] if you’re not seen as human, then they think it’s OK” to take photos and stare.
Hauer blames the uptick on a recent cultural obsession with his way of life, thanks to the documentary “One of Us” and the Israeli series “Shtisel,” both popular on Netflix.
On Wednesday, The Post attended a Spanish-speaking tour with InterviajesNY. As the bus entered Williamsburg, the guide discussed the ultra-Orthodox lifestyle.
“It is considered wrong to touch bodies . . . how can they procreate?” he said. “There is a sheet, or fabric, with a strategically placed opening for — you all know what that is for.”
Later, he pointed out the window.
“Look at this woman, how many children she has and how young she is,” he said. In the past, he claimed, the community would “intermarry. The uncle married the niece, the cousin would marry the cousin.”
The dissemination of outdated stereotypes has locals upset. “I’ve tried to engage with these visitors, but they aren’t interested to learn more about us,” said Hauer.
At 1 p.m., the bus, along with two others, parked along Lee Avenue in South Williamsburg and unloaded nearly 200 people — from countries including Spain, Argentina and Germany — outside Oneg Bakery.
One woman tapped herself in the sign of the cross before stepping off the bus. Another loudly asked, “Are they wearing wigs?” while pointing at a Hasidic woman.
A representative for InterviajesNY had no comment. Tour America spokeswoman Karen Dane told The Post: “Our tours are meant to show the diversity of New York, and Williamsburg is part of that fabric.”
Hauer said shutterbugs get extra excited on Saturdays — the Sabbath — when local men don large fur hats called shtreimels.
“Whenever I go to synagogue . . . they’ll all start snapping photos in front of my face,” said Hauer.
Some people do ask for permission before taking pictures, and “the answer will always be ‘no,’ ” said one Hasidic woman, who wished to remain anonymous because of her religion’s expectations of modesty.
Stops include a Hasidic toy store called Toys 4 U, and Kaff’s Bakery for a taste of challah bread.
In Crown Heights, a tour led by Rabbi Yoni Katz takes groups into an extremely intimate space: a shop that sells wigs, or sheitels, to women who are mandated by Jewish law to cover their heads. The Post observed as tourists were invited to touch the wigs.
The Hasidic woman said that her beef has been with the interlopers’ racy, flesh-baring summer get-ups.
“The levels of modesty are totally against our beliefs,” she said. “We have a right to request that they respect our customs . . . when they walk our narrow streets.”
Some stores have gone so far as to hang signs that say “Conservative Dress Appreciated” followed by “No Shirtless, No Shorts, No Tank Tops and No Barefoot.”
Even tours headed by people associated with the community — such as the ones Frieda Vizel leads in Williamsburg and Katz guides in Crown Heights — are controversial.
Vizel is “very respectful, and she knows the culture well,” said Hauer.
But Chaim said Vizel’s background as a former Satmar raises suspicion.
“Some people [who are Satmar] think because she left, she’s probably saying bad things about us,” he said. “We are an insular community. And we want to remain isolated.”
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