Beitar Illit, Israel – Haredi Rabbis Issue Ban On All-Female Zumba Classes In Beitar Illit

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    FILE PHOTOBeitar Illit, Israel – A panel of ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the settlement of Beitar Illit have issued a ruling banning women from participating in all-female workout classes associated with the Brazilian fitness program Zumba.

    HAARETZ (http://bit.ly/18eXzQo) reports that the edict, issued by the Rabbinical Court of the Ashkenazi Community in Beitar, carried a bold headline saying “WARNING,” and “explicitly” prohibits women from further participating in the all-women classes which have become popular.

    The ruling reads, “”Recently our city has seen the opening of classes employing the South American ‘Zumba’ method. After having established that both in form and manner, the activity is entirely at odds with both the ways of the Torah and the holiness of Israel, as are the songs associated to it, I hereby announce that the organization and participation in such classes is forbidden.”

    Sources say that a strong distaste for the Zumba fitness craze among the extreme Haredi elements of the city may have led to the issuing of the ruling.

    Sources also said the ruling has not been well-received by many local residents, who see nothing wrong with all female classes taught only be female instructors.

    One resident accused the ruling of “wanting to turn our city into Afghanistan, and we won’t go along with it. The rabbis and the judges can’t determine whether or not we participate in Zumba. I’m sick of them strangling us with these illogical halachic rulings.”

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    42 COMMENTS

    1. In Response to that one resident, if you don’t want to live in Afghanistan, get out of Beitar.

      I cannot fathom why anyone who has any exposure to the modern world, would have any desire to live in such a repressive and backward community.

    2. This generation will be remembered as the generation of surplus bans.

      One can discourage with influence how other forms of exercise is more themed with Torah Ideals and give a inspiring thought provoking, compelling explanation…..instead of another ban yet.

    3. with all of the blubber buckets walking around in the frum velt, you would think getting the weight off and adding years to one’s life would be welcomed. I don’t know what Zumba is but if it has nothing to do with avoda zora, what is the problem; it is not stated in the article.

    4. I would think that zumba helps people exercise many muscle groups that they normally do not exercise. It also encourages brisk movement. I am sure there are many that regret not doing exercise when they were younger.
      I personally do not think it should be done in public, or with a male teacher or in a mixed group, just saying my personal opinion. Aside from my issues I think it is great.

    5. Why destroy their simchas hachaim, when there is nothing halachically wrong? Remember that the RBSH desired the mirrors for the mishkan, which Moshe thought were improper.

    6. What next???? Dont these “rabbonim” realise that if they stop all of this KOSHER entertainment girls will go elsewhere and then theyll have some real problems! They just dont get it!!! Let them focus on real issues.

    7. The dance moves in Zumba are perhaps not very tsniusdik, but, I doubt if any of the Rabbonim who are banning this exercise ever saw a Zumba class (I hope not). If there is a Torah prohibition of dancing this way strictly for fun, exercise and of course with only women, I don’t know. If it is wrong, I wouldn’t want to do it, but the question is – do the Rabbonim know what Zumba is?

    8. I want to first see a hard-copy of the ban. (The “Kol-Koreh”)

      There may be an explanation there with sources that we laymen didn’t think of, or aren’t aware of.
      (If we were really well versed in “the 4 volumes of Shulchan Orech” we wouldn’t be laymen now, would we?….)

      Only THEN can one attempt to decide if this ban is too extreme.

    9. Why do these rabbis even know how women dance to Zumba at private dance lessons??? Such leaders need to reconsider their strategy to keep the genders from seeing each other dance. But Zumba has been the new scapegoat to orthodoxy for some time now. Rabbis have been making entertaining lectures on the topic, of course with their expertise on sociology. These rabbis are like their predecessors who sweated with fear when jeans, rock and roll and the twist dance was sweeping the world. Maybe in their fantasy world they truly believe the shidduch crisis is caused by women dancing Zumba?

    10. You start with goyish music and copying the way they dance, and that leads to wanting to do other things they do. I don’t know how they dance, but I imagin it wasn’t tzenua, resulting in the ban. Just because the dance classes are “for women only” does not mean that they are kosher for our holy daughters of Hashem. Why can’t we have jewish dancing to Jewish music? that can be just as much of an excercise, and entertaining.

      • Hey knucklehead…do you ever wear ties, wear canvas sneakers, take off Sundays, throw around a baseball, shoot hoops, enjoy a hot dog, go to a hockey game, vote in an election, use legal secular services..or do any of the myriad of culturally based activiries where you live…. because if you do, oy…chas v’ shalom…you are starting with goyish culture and that leads to wanting to do other things they do. Woe unto us.

    11. As the immortal Ralph Kramden told his wife Alice when she failed to prepare him supper due to a Mamba lesson – “You wanna Mamba? Go Mamba into the kitchen and get me my supper!”

    12. Thanks to decrees like these, more and more people will be compelled to examine and question the other teachings of the extremist factions in which they find themselves. Once they start uncovering the lies that they have been taught, they will find their freedom.

    13. Before spouting nonsense, how many of you actually asked a reliable observant Rabbi if he felt Zumba is permitted?

      This is not a “chumra of the day”. It is clearly assur. I don’t understand why they can’t simply exercise to Jewish music rather than imitating the goyim in this manner.

    14. The Rebbunim of today are very depressed individuals and they associate that depression with serving hashem, so they therefore try to make everyone around them as depressed as they are by taking away anything that makes anyone happy. a gut gebenched yur…..

    15. And exactly what is ‘Jewish music’ ?
      I bet they say that S’fard music is no-no
      Send them all to the army, and they won’t have time to dream of such nonsense

    16. It’s not just in Israel it is banned. My Ruv in Rockland says women should not take Zumba classes under any circumstances. I was thinking of joining a class and asked him first.

    17. To the people who are saying that the behavior is assur and therefore the rabbanim are right to ban it, you are missing the main point. They can paskin all day long and people have a choice to follow them or not. But, they have no authority in a free society to create a ban and make people’s lives miserable for not following their decrees. And to the guy who claims he banned his wife … There are no words to describe your ilk.

    18. How about a decree that people need to work and become productive members of society. According to a source cited in Wikipedia about Betiar Illit “In 2010 it was reported that 64.3% of working age men and 45.8% of working age women in Beitar Illit were unemployed.”

    19. I want to know who on here considers him/herself a talmid chochom? HM? No one? Then shut up! You are not versed in all of shas or poskim to make any comments at all. c is an am hohoretz gomur anyway. Everything he says is a joke and without brains.

      • Thank you Rudolph for your kind words. I can assure that I am far more educated than you. I can also assure you that most orthodox yidden today, other than extreme charedim, are sick and tired of charedim shoving their beliefs in our faces and forcing them upon us.

    20. And in other extreme charedi modesty and anti-secular happenings: The satmar modesty squad in Kiryas Joel threatened a Jewish store owner for playing Jewish music on a loud speaker, because it is not Jewish behavior. And in Jerusalem, Rachaeli Evenbaum was forced to drop out of the city council race due to threats from the local modesty squad thugs. I say, lock these goons up!

    21. Zumba involves dancing in a manner that can be considered provocative, particularly if the women get good at it. My wife used to go to the classes and she told.me all about it. In her words – its like sefardi dancing, you need to be able to move.in certain ways.

      However, she went to an all women’s class in Ramat Bet Shemesh that used alternative music that didn’t have the lewd lyrics. Her class included more than a few rebbetsins and was generally viewed as an acceptable form of all female exercise. It wasn’t her thing, but the class still takes place and from.what I understand has not come.under fire from local rabbanim.

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