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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