Jerusalem – Judge Rejects Orthodox Mother’s Request, Permits Father to Drive Kids on Shabbat

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    Jerusalem – A secular man separated from his Orthodox wife is not required to maintain a religious lifestyle while the couple’s children are at his home, the Haifa Family Court ruled on Monday. In her ruling, Judge Esperanza Alon threw out a clause of the couple’s custody agreement that required the father not to drive his children on Saturday, one of the days they stay with him.

    Alon ruled that this clause infringed on the father’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

    The mother, who is a physician, lives in Jerusalem with the couple’s two children, while the father, also a physician, lives in the north.

    “Married couples sometimes conduct lifestyles that differ from one another, and the children absorb both worlds. It is the right of each of the parents to freedom of religion or from religion, and the right of each of them to equality,” Alon said.

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    65 COMMENTS

    1. This is a case where the gedolim should be involved and should make every effort to protect the children . So much more important to focus on issues like this then how a little girl in bet shemesh dresses.

      • It would indeed be preferable if the parents can agree on such matters in the interests of the child but domestic civil litigation is not somthing for “gedolim” to get involved with. What I don’t understand is why the terms of the custodial agreement, which is more in the nature of a “civil contract” areed upon by the parties, can be arbitrarily changed by a judge after the fact, unless of course the agreement was imposed on the father by the court originally. In the latter case, an appeals court can always reverse or undo a lower court decision.

        • He can do as he pleases with his neshoma!!! He can taint it paint it!!! Etc but if u had kids with a religious woman u can’t violate the rights of her and the kids cause u decided that a different lifestyle will work better!!

          • Until the kids are of legal age in EY, the father absolutly has the right to raise the kids in a frei lifestyle, be mechallel shabbos and feed them treifus. Obviously, thats not what we would want, but the court cannot force one custodial parent to conform to the religious preferences of the other. The rabbonim can daven for his neshamah and hope he does tshuvah but cannot force him to suddenly become frum.

            • From my friend’s first-hand experience, I can tell you the following:
              1. If both parents were religious, and the get/divorce was done in “Bet Din” [instead of “Bet Mishpat”], there would be no issue at all – the children must be in religious environment.
              2. Even in Bet Mishpat, they are bound to by Israel law to do what is best for the child, regardless of the stipulations of the divorce contract. Hence, if the children maintained that they want to be religious and not drive on Shabbat, the court must abide by that decision. The mother would be wise to continue to stress to her children the kedushah of Shabbat and consequences of its violation [ in their level]. In time, the children will refuse their father’s rides.
              3. In Israeli law, the divorced parents may discuss any issues & opinions with their child; the only area that is prohibited to to denigrate the other parent. A parent may say, “People who drive on Shabbat are foolish”, but may NOT say “Your father is foolish for driving on the Shabbat”.

          • you are wrong about what “u” can or cannot do, and your repeated use of “u” indicates that you are a child who does not understand these things yet.

            • Child? Don’t think so as a member of Sister to Sister an organization, created to care for the needs of over 800 divorced woman. I know much to much about these situations!!! But if the U makes me a child! I feel good cause last week was my 40th B-day!

        • He had signed an agreement, then apparently changed his mind. He has no honor. She should have never married a secular man to start, but this case about the divorce, not the marriage.

      • it is up to the parents how to bring up their kids not the gedolem.

        having said that, didn’t the father agree, not to drive his children on Saturday.
        The judge said that the clause, infringed on the fatherโ€™s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. NOT really he can drive as much as he wants, do as he pleases, but cannot drive his kid. I think the judge erred

      • a little more to the story maybe i spoke to sson

        The judge also noted that the mother had hired a private detective to work on the Sabbath to obtain the evidence that proves that the father was breaking the Sabbath laws. “It was my impression that the mother also has a religious world that does not not adhere to all the strictly Orthodox definitions.” Alon wrote that it seemed to her that the children had grown up with this religious complexity, “and I therefore assume that the children have the emotional strength to deal with the differences in the lifestyles of the two parents.”

        • what’s your point? one has nothing to do with the other, they don’t infringe on each other, and they are not mutually exclusive, in fact, issues being dealt with on different continents.

          Why bring it up?

    2. Why should a non-religious court have authority over children being raised in a religious environment? The judge is biased against religion and the case should be retried by someone who is not biased against religion. The mother didn’t say that the father shouldn’t drive on Shabbos but that the children shouldn’t be driven on Shabbos- it’s not the father’s “rights” that are being violated, it’s the children’s. If the physician had a patient and the patient’s relative refused to give medicine, wouldn’t the physician want the patient to be given his medicine? The mother wants the children to grow up with a healthy neshama.

      • The same judgement would be reached in the US. This isn’t necessarily malice, and the court is upholding the law. Israel is a democracy, not a theocracy. Hallacha is not the rule of the land. This may not be an anti-religious thing, it’s not a judge’s job to rule on religion.

      • And why should a religious court have authority over this non-religious man?
        Both are living in the secular Medinah. Therefore, they both must abide by the laws of the land, including the court system. However, both are not required by law to follow any religious ruling or doctrine if they don’t choose to do so. They don’t have to follow Islamic law, Christian law, or (lehavdil) Jewish law.
        Your comparison to medicine is irrational. A person’s medical history is not allowed to be revealed to another person (HIPPA). Court cases are public record.
        Furthermore, to follow your logic, the mother can want her kids to grow up frum, can want them to follow the Torah Hakedosha. But can you force the patient (ie the father) to take medicine? Legally, you can’t force someone to take the meds.
        Sorry. As much as I would want them to grow up frum, these arguments are not legal ones. Contact a lawyer and they can best help this case.

      • You’re so closed minded that it hurts to read your post. Wouldn’t a religious court be biased against non-religious individuals? There are laws that judges must follow when making decisions and this is even more so in cusotdy cases. Just because a judge (which you assume is not religious in this case) is not religious does not make it automatically follow that he is biased.

    3. As upsetting as this story may be, it is really none of our business. There is no indication of child abuse, malnourishment, or any other actionable cause which should precipitate the involvement of the civil authorities or rabbinic bodies. In retrospect, perhaps the parents should never have gotten married, but anyone can be a Monday morning quarterback. I’m sure that no sane VIN blogger is suggesting that the children should be kidnapped from the father in order to “save neshomos.”

      • Not kidnapped REMOVED PERMANENTLY!! what a loser, here in the USA (GOYISHA MEDINA,) The court ruled IN favor of religion. I have a friend whose ex spouse decided to lead a secular life, the court ruled that he can’t revoke the religion rights. HOLY LAND? THE ONLY THING THAT HAS HOLES IS THE ZIONIST SYSTEM. A bisha V’charpe

        • oh, you have a friend this happened to? so what?

          You obviously agree with the frum position. the father does not. You cannot impose your will on other people.

          • Its not called FRUM ITS CALLED ADHERENCE TO THE 613 MITZvos!!! Even a goy knows jewish people don’t drive on shabbos!!! U can be modern n not even wear a head v
            covering!! BUT SHABBOS!!!

        • Instead of crossing the street, you’re traveling to the moon. Let’s deal with the facts – not your conjecture. If you and your spouse had different attitudes toward Yiddishkeit and separated, you would be quite upset if a judicial party ordered you to conduct yourself in your kids’ presence according to the other one’s beliefs. There is nothing in the case to suggest that the father was at one time frum. The mother should have taken his lack of being a Shomer Mitzvos into greater account before marrying. What happened may have been inevitable. As upsetting as this is to you (and me), it behooves you to stop mixing in a business that is clearly not yours!

      • It really depends on the conditions under which the couple initially married. If they were both religious then, the marriage – which is a legally binding contract, not the ‘relligious’ hocus-pocus of the goyim or secular Jews – obliges the father to continue in that vein with his children. No court can overturn a contract that has been entered into voluntarily. However, if the parents became religious later, or if only one did so, the situation becomes extremely complex and, although from a strictly halachic perspective, of course the children should be given a lifestyle that contains no contradictions, that ideal situation cannot reasonable be expected to be maintained in a country where religion is despised and harrassed.

        • how would that be a binding contract” regarding raising the children, any more than it would be a binding contract for the father to remain religious?

          You can’t just invent new “laws” or rights that don’t or didn’t exist, like many people here do.

        • Where does it say that in the “marriage contract”???
          Re-read your Ketubah. Every one I have seen says a few things, including that X married Y on a certain date in a specific place. It then says that if Y abandons X or wants the divorce, he must pay up Z amount in a lump sum, and continue to support her until he can pay it in a lump sum.
          Where does it say the level of religiousness the couple has? Where does it say that they must keep to that level post-divorce??

      • No but any sane reader can understand the impact of such contradictory views on the children. And any sane judge would take into consideration the children’s emotional and psychological well being in such a situation. A child cannot be harmed by doing mitzvos and refraining from doing melocha on Shabbos, however a child can be psychologically damaged if they are being trained to be frum and forced to do otherwise.

        As a physician the father is smart enough to know this and is only playing this game to hurt the mother. Which should also be taken into consideration. Not knowing the age of the children it is hard to make any professional evaluation, but if the father truly loved and cared for the children he would put their needs first before his own. If it is difficult for him to keep Shabbos he can agree not to take them on Shabbos and to pick them up immediately after Shabbos, even have extra evening time with them during the week. Everything can be worked out when you have the best Interests of the children in the forefront. If the husband behaves this way the mother would show more respect for them and teach the children to respect him as well.

        If you can’t make your marriage work for the sake of the children then you must do your utmost to make your divorce work for the sake of the children!!

    4. This most unpleasant circumstance ignores the fact for the children who gaurd the Shabbos to drive in a car is a “die and not do” and the traumatic result irreparable (and the father certainly aware of the fact). Anybody who represents that point of view will achieve the goal and the newspapers don’t need to become involved. This high pressure approach to Judaism making degeratory remarks in loud tones with the intention of causing tension can no longer be condoned. As such, I offer my appeal to the father to not violate the holy aspects of the education his children receive from their educators, have the fights with thteir mother in the private counsel of those whom can instruct them to allow the children to grow with parental love filling them for the long haul through adulthood. The mother might offer an extended vacation time for dad to be with child and show her appreciation of the fact the father has a human relationship that is part of the nature of existence having nothing to do with ideas that circulate in the minds of men and women. Parents must allow the children to love both father and mother as an implicit of their emotional balance, balance of all the beings in a world

      • you apply the “do or die incorrectly”. the children have no such choice. and the father simply does not care.

        For some reason, commenters here cannot get over the fact that most of the world does not go by the rules of the torah, and cases like this do not get decided by VIN readers or on Torah laws.

    5. It is a bit liked any mixed marriage
      Not sure all details here but I have a friend chasidish who married a guy and had kids. He totally fried out and left her. She wants the kids to have a normal relationship with their father but he is not respectful of their observance. She is in a terrible situation. In her case they married and agreed to lead a frum life. He has changed his mind but should respect the kids upbringing

    6. Wait, but… correct me if I’m wrong: Aren’t the kid’s neshamos still pure at this stage? Does how their father live HAVE to stain *their* neshamos too? It didn’t w\Abraham’s & his father was an idol maker!

      No disrespect: I understand the importance in the religious community w\respect to not driving on Shabbos. That’s not my point.

      My question centers on some of the responses I’m seeing here, that allude that somehow the children’s neshamos will be affected by their father’s sins & mistakes & please forgive me for saying, but I didn’t think it worked that way in spirituality!

      I thought at a young age like this, whatever their parents *raise* (or rather, force) them to do… is purely out of their hands, totally irrespective to their own personal relationship w\G-d & not something the child has to be held accountable for!

      ie: I love my mother dearly & I believe she did the best she KNEW to do for me, by raising me a Christian as a child. Now it was wrong, but also no different than Moses being raised Egyptian by his folks, or Rabbi Akiva spending the 1st 40yrs of his life living as a goy. And did they not still BOTH turn out to be great Prophets?

      Give the kids a chance! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • no, but even if they could, what on Shabbos could they control? Force her to Drive, or watch TV or shop? How would you enforce that anyway? What act(s) would you prevent her from doing?

    7. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body!! These kids are going to grow up as a pair of mixed up kids!! Confused might be a good word for it!! They will not know which world to live in.

    8. It’s hard for us to accept that other Yidden don’t feel as we do about Hashem’s Torah. Nevetheless, other Yidden see things differently, and they are as passionate about their beliefs as we are. We have no right to tell either parent what to believe or what to teach their children.

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