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London - Belz Schools Retract Ban On Women Driving Children To School

Published on: June 5, 2015 11:46 AM
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FILE - A police officer waves to a child as members of the Jewish community wait to cross a road in north London January 20, 2015. REUTERSFILE - A police officer waves to a child as members of the Jewish community wait to cross a road in north London January 20, 2015. REUTERS

London – Two ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in the Belz sect of London have retracted their ban on female drivers taking their children to school after they were told the ban was unlawful by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Commission, after consulting with the Department of Education, sent a letter to the schools stating the ban is illegal, reports The Guardian (http://bit.ly/1HQ0snh ).

The Belz sect, which runs Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass boys’ primary school, and Beis Malka primary school for girls sent a letter in late May to parents of the children saying the children of mothers who drive them to school would be banned starting in August.

Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel, recommended the ban based on modesty rules of the sect.

Chief Executive of the schools Ahron Klein said the ban was made without full approval of the governors in England, and that women will be able to drive their children to school.

“The school believes that women have a choice about whether they want to drive or not, and our policy is to accept all children who are members of our community, which we have been doing for the last 40 years”, Klein added.

A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said they hope to receive a formal response from the schools confirming they will agree to their legal obligations.

Earlier this week, the schools wrote a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan defending their stance on the topic, saying they apologized for the “unfortunate” choice of words, but that they stood by their decision, and that efforts were being taken to stop the fall of religious principles and maintain traditional Hasidic values.

Information taken from The Guardian


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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 05, 2015 at 12:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Retracted huh? They may "allow" it, but heaven help any mother who actually exercises those rights.

2

 Jun 05, 2015 at 12:40 PM MrSmith Says:

Am I missing something, if they don't like the school rules they shouldn't send their children to that school.

3

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Ok so people will comment if we are open minded we not let Belz hold as they wish? Shouldn't we respect other beliefs? Yes we should. My answer is this. If Belz got up and said our minhag is that ladies don't drive. Please try to keep that. Then that would be OK. But when Belz or any other sect says if you break it then you can't come to our schools thats already ostracizng those that can't keep it. And if it were an issue thats not an added inconvienance then I understand that too. So for example if a sect said you must where x inch darked stockings if you wish to send to us. Fine OK . Don't send if you don't want to dress that way. But in the case of driving unexpected things come up. People struggle juggling daily lives. Imposing an extra hardship on a mom is not rational. Again its ok to say please try to withhold a minhag. But not to ex-communicate.

4

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:07 PM MavenMoshe Says:

This should be a warning of the type of government oversight that can happen when yeshivos accept money from the state. I am not saying that the trade off is not worth it but we should recognize that state funding for our schools will come with more government intrusion into our schools' practices.

5

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:11 PM barbaabba Says:

Sounds like someone got a call from the money people saying "thanks for the publicity!!"
a bunch of idiots are running schools

6

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:20 PM posaikacharon Says:

what a crying shame. a group should not have the right to enact rules and regulations in their OWN school as seen fit by THEIR leaders???!!! nobody is forced to send their kids to that school. (P.S. I do not belong to the belzer group, but I respect their right to follow their beliefs.)

7

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:30 PM Anonymous Says:

this kind of backward thinking is why so many jews leave the flock. we should be welcoming in students and teaching people how to be modest not throw them out

8

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:32 PM Losers... Says:

Only idiots make stupid decrees, that are rescinded, only days later.

9

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:35 PM grandpajoe Says:

I would like to know what has a woman driving with modesty - they are in the car 'covered' away from the public- then the women should not go to work to support their husbands learning as it would be immodest to be in the work environment.
What if Chos Vchalilla there is no husband or man to take the child to school - to me it is the 'chumrah' of the week.

10

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:36 PM MyThreeCents Says:

I think if this is the Belz policy they should have a right to enforce it. Imagine an Amish person deciding to drive a car. He would be ostracized from his community. I am not Belz and I drive a car, but, I respect their right to their have their own rules. That's why people sometimes leave their way of life and split off to start another more moderate group. If you can't join them, leave them.

11

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:36 PM RebKlemson Says:

belz of saudi arabia still can uphold the ban

12

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:40 PM Duvid Says:

PLEASE can someone explain what the reason and rational behind the ban on women driving. I have heard 'tznius' and modesty but I fail to understand that.
Yes I am grown up. Yes have been brought up frum and understand tznius issues, but this just baffles me. In all seriousness, I would like to know the logic behind this minhag.

13

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:41 PM asaf Says:

Reply to #6  
posaikacharon Says:

what a crying shame. a group should not have the right to enact rules and regulations in their OWN school as seen fit by THEIR leaders???!!! nobody is forced to send their kids to that school. (P.S. I do not belong to the belzer group, but I respect their right to follow their beliefs.)

When they accepted the kids in nursery this wasn't a issue, so why should these driving mothers look for a new school after their kids are integrated into their school lives.

14

 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:56 PM Butterfly Says:

Mothers have been taking their children to school for years! Now this! It baffles the mind!! The Rabbi does not mention shopping! Who will do the shopping? (not just grocery, clothes for kids etc, linens) Do the men have so much time on their hands to do all the shopping?

15

 Jun 05, 2015 at 02:04 PM villyamsburger Says:

If your school receives government funding than u simply cannot call the shots.
If u are ready to fund it yourself than u can implement any rules u please and no one can say boo.

16

 Jun 05, 2015 at 02:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

this kind of backward thinking is why so many jews leave the flock. we should be welcoming in students and teaching people how to be modest not throw them out

Exactlt. This Taliban like behavior (women not driving) is not machzek hadaas but drives people away. This is not tznius, its extremist shtus which holds yidden up to public ridicule.

17

 Jun 05, 2015 at 02:13 PM anonymous23 Says:

One thing is to say "it is our minhag for women not to drive and another thing to say your kids will be kicked out from government funded schools if you drive your son or daughter to school."

18

 Jun 05, 2015 at 02:16 PM posaikacharon Says:

Reply to #8  
Losers... Says:

Only idiots make stupid decrees, that are rescinded, only days later.

only idiots totally miss the point of an article, and should go back to grade school to learn how to read. they were FORCED to rescind the ban. they are entitled to their opinion. if you see otherwise, you have a choice. so next time you call someone an idiot, and more so, an entire sect of klal yisroel, take a good hard look in the mirror. please be kind to the idiot staring back at you.

19

 Jun 05, 2015 at 02:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

this kind of backward thinking is why so many jews leave the flock. we should be welcoming in students and teaching people how to be modest not throw them out

FACT: a lot more jews have left the flock due to FORWARD thinking than backward thinking. history clearly testifies to that. the American dream has unfortunately murdered more jewish neshamos than hitler ym"sh.

20

 Jun 06, 2015 at 03:32 PM MayerAlter Says:

Reply to #4  
MavenMoshe Says:

This should be a warning of the type of government oversight that can happen when yeshivos accept money from the state. I am not saying that the trade off is not worth it but we should recognize that state funding for our schools will come with more government intrusion into our schools' practices.

Nothing to do with state funding. The practise is illegal in the UK: period. All Belz need to do is state clearly and unequivocally that the Rebbe Shlita requests that women not drive their children to school and the problem will be solved. Those families that let their women drive can sing for shidduchim from within Belz.

21

 Jun 06, 2015 at 11:31 PM Reb Yid Says:

How could it be against the law? The school isn't discriminating in employment, admissions based on race of the students, or anything like that. It's like saying you can't come here if you have Internet at home.

22

 Jun 06, 2015 at 11:50 PM Stupid decrees Says:

Reply to #8  
Losers... Says:

Only idiots make stupid decrees, that are rescinded, only days later.

Only idiots made stupid decrees, like forbidding women to drive. It is a stupid decree not because it was rescinded days later, but because it is just plain stupid, period. What does this have to do with modesty? That women have too much power if they drive their children to school? Give me a break!

23

 Jun 07, 2015 at 02:15 AM Extremist Shtus Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Exactlt. This Taliban like behavior (women not driving) is not machzek hadaas but drives people away. This is not tznius, its extremist shtus which holds yidden up to public ridicule.

It is very unfortunate that frum Yidden generate such shtus which has nothing to do with Torah. We need more than ever to be an example of the chochma and beauty of the Torah to all Jews and to the entire world. Let us hope we can become more aware of our greater role in the world.

24

 Jun 07, 2015 at 12:01 PM Jewish BT of one year Says:

The picture in this article is not tznius as well. I believe women should not be pushing baby carriages on the street in public. Only men should take their children to school. A women's place is in the home. If a women must walk in the street then she should be walking on the women's side of the street. If there is no designated side of the street for women, then stay home till one is designated. There is no excuse for pritzis.

25

 Jun 08, 2015 at 12:19 PM Tachash Says:

>>efforts were being taken to stop the fall of religious principles and maintain traditional Hasidic values.

This must have been one of the ancient traditions put in place by the Maggid, or possibly the Baal Shem Tov, himself. From what I understand, their wives didn't drive cars either.

26

 Jun 08, 2015 at 12:25 PM Tachash Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

FACT: a lot more jews have left the flock due to FORWARD thinking than backward thinking. history clearly testifies to that. the American dream has unfortunately murdered more jewish neshamos than hitler ym"sh.

Great! So, therefore, let's encourage BACKWARD thinking.

27

 Jun 08, 2015 at 12:26 PM Tachash Says:

Reply to #13  
asaf Says:

When they accepted the kids in nursery this wasn't a issue, so why should these driving mothers look for a new school after their kids are integrated into their school lives.

Obviously because of "Tradition".

28

 Jun 08, 2015 at 12:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Ok so people will comment if we are open minded we not let Belz hold as they wish? Shouldn't we respect other beliefs? Yes we should. My answer is this. If Belz got up and said our minhag is that ladies don't drive. Please try to keep that. Then that would be OK. But when Belz or any other sect says if you break it then you can't come to our schools thats already ostracizng those that can't keep it. And if it were an issue thats not an added inconvienance then I understand that too. So for example if a sect said you must where x inch darked stockings if you wish to send to us. Fine OK . Don't send if you don't want to dress that way. But in the case of driving unexpected things come up. People struggle juggling daily lives. Imposing an extra hardship on a mom is not rational. Again its ok to say please try to withhold a minhag. But not to ex-communicate.

>>Shouldn't we respect other beliefs?
So you're all up for female Maharans? Other beliefs, and it isn't "assur", per se. So do you REALLY mean that we should respect other beliefs, or just certain ones?

29

 Jun 08, 2015 at 12:33 PM Tachash Says:

Reply to #9  
grandpajoe Says:

I would like to know what has a woman driving with modesty - they are in the car 'covered' away from the public- then the women should not go to work to support their husbands learning as it would be immodest to be in the work environment.
What if Chos Vchalilla there is no husband or man to take the child to school - to me it is the 'chumrah' of the week.

Didn't you read the article grandpajoe? It says that it's a "traditional Hasidic value"! Did the Baal Shem Tov, or the Rebbe Elimelech, or R. Levi Yitzchak let their wives drive cars??? Of course not!

30

 Jun 08, 2015 at 03:37 PM Reb Yid Says:

What man would want to encourage more women drivers? I say, don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

31

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