Montreal, Canada – Jews Defends Religious Freedom at Hearing

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    Montreal, Canada – For three months now at the Bouchard-Taylor commission, they've heard criticisms of Jewish orthodoxy – its dress codes, its segregation of the sexes, its closed communities, even its kosher food.

    Today the Jewish community finally came to its own defence. "Freedom of religion and conscience are fundamental freedoms," said Steven Slimovitch, legal counsel for B,nai Brith.

    "What harm is there in a doctor at a hospital or a teacher at school who wears a religious symbol, whether it be a kippa or a crucifix?" Slimovitch asked.

    "It might upset some people and offend others, but those people's tastes and idiosyncrasies shouldn't take precedence, even if they're members of the majority."

    Going against the current of popular opinion expressed at the hearings, Slimovitch said there should be more accommodations of religious difference in Quebec, not fewer.  For example, a Hasidic woman who doesn't want to take a government driving test with a male evaluator should be allowed to ask for a female one. [montrealgazette]

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    5 COMMENTS

    1. Why is there so much hatred against french Québécois on the part of american orthodox jews. After all, the Québécois are providing you with an extensive public health coverage unavailable in the U.S., many state fund social services, the’re providing you with safe neibourhoods and they don’t harrass or make fun of you. Moreover they respect the environnement. Are you some kind of ostriches, heads in the sand!

    2. Anon. 4:17PM There is no hatred (not even a little) against French Quebecois! Only some misinformation [on both sides of the issue]. To begin with, the French-Canadian population [who live in Quebec], being deeply religious themselves, have the utmost respect [and admiration] for
      all ethnic minority groups, and especially Religious and Chasidic Jews on all levels, both civilian and Government. Of course, there are exceptions. Such as was recently
      reported that a certain Monsieur (messieur) La Certe testified about his problems [real or imagined] with the neighboring Jewish community. And to the extent that there is some friction, it’s of a different nature. Sometimes, Political with a tinge of nationalism or other perception of being shortchanged. But all those differences can [and should] be ironed out through dialogue and mutual clarification of the issues.

    3. Big Wheel – what are you talking about? do you live in montreal? On what are you basing your statements. I lived there for over 10 years. the yidden are tolerated at best. we are hated by the frenchies there!

    4. Moishie 8:56AM So did I. Or I wouldn’t know where the border of [cite de] Montreal and Outremont was. Furthermore, here in the Good Old USA, try to go out of our own[Yiddishe] enclaves, and you’ll find out how much we are loved!

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