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

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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. REUTERSLondon – 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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    30 COMMENTS

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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.)

    4. 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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!

    5. 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!

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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?

    9. 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.

    10. 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.”

    11. 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.

    12. 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.

    13. >>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.

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