Belzer chassidim cave in to secular pressure

Make no mistake, this was not about Judaism. It wasn’t about דינא דמלכותה it was about keeping their school open. I had blogged about the issue here. They have caved in and shown less guts than the days of yore when the Gedolim of Europe had to deal with the issue of introducing secular studies into Yeshivos. If they really followed their Rebbe, then they should have gone on Aliya to Kiryas Belz or something and followed his ruling. Instead, they decided Golus in Stamford Hill under מלכות של חסד was preferable.

From the Jerusalem Post

Plans by leaders of the Belz hassidic community in north London’s Stamford Hill to expel pupils if they were driven to school by their mothers have been countermanded by the school governors, after a strong warning Education Secretary Nicky Morgan that it was “completely unacceptable” and her instigation of an inquiry into the controversial policy.

The issue arose after the head of two junior schools – Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass, for boys, and Beis Malka, for girls – sent out a note threatening to institute the new policy from the beginning of the new school year in August. The note stated that the edict conformed with the ruling of the leader of the Belz Hassidim, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, that women adherents must not drive.

Headlines about bans on women driving led to close attention on the Belz community in particular and hassidic Jews in general, with parallels being drawn with Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive. Jewish communal leaders – including Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi Joseph Dwek, the head of the Spanish and Portuguese community – distanced themselves from the ruling.

Morgan, who also serves as women’s and equalities minister, said the government would take any necessary action to “address the situation.”

Faced with negative reaction, Ahron Klein, chief executive of the boys school, issued a statement at the end of last week in which he stated that the head teacher had “sent out the letter on behalf of the spiritual heads of the community, who had not taken into account the implications of such a policy.”

He added that Neshei Belz, the community’s women’s organization, had also issued a statement saying that Belz women’s values may be compromised in driving a vehicle, although they added that they respect individual choices made in this matter.

Klein pointed out that the message that children would be excluded had not come from the school’s board of governors, “who did not approve the letter in advance.” And he clarified that the schools believe that women have a choice about whether they want to drive, “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 confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that, indeed, women driving their children to school would not be faced with their children being turned away, though he emphasized it was generally accepted by hassidic Jews – and not just by the 700 families of the Belz community in the UK – that for reasons based on their form of Judaism, women do not drive.

While welcoming the clarification, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, which declared the policy “unlawful and discriminatory,” announced it had written to the schools demanding further clarification that they were complying with UK law and seeking confirmation no pupils driven by their mothers to school would be subjected to sanctions.

I wonder which היתר they used and whether it was sanctioned by their Rebbe? Whatever, they have come out of this looking quite silly.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

10 thoughts on “Belzer chassidim cave in to secular pressure”

  1. The “retraction” means nothing, and the parents know this. “Our policy is to accept all children who are members of our community.” Families that don’t follow the standards set by their rebbe and rabbonim are not part of their community, and therefore will not be allowed in their school.

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    1. You are living in a fools paradise. The relevant investigation will deal with such Gneivas Daas statements. I read that as well. Unlike you, I was saddened by it for another reason. What if I was a Kloisenberger kid living in the area and my parents wanted me to go to that School. They would reject me? Over what? זו תורה , זו שכרה?

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    1. Misleading people with word games, usually the domain of politicians. What do you think Adass did when they said Laufer wasn’t a headmistress because she was hired by the Shule. We all know the b….t they tried to put on the court and why. And thanks for reminding me to get to hilchos dayos. I had forgotten

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  2. I searched the newspaper articles re the court case of the Leiffer affair. Nowhere could I find anything about them saying that she was not headmistress. Just that the shul hired her, which seems to be the case as koppel was questioned. He was at that time president of the shul. He didn’t seem to deny hiring her.

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    1. I guess he hired her to clean the floors. I will give you a tip. To be registered you need certain qualifications. So, you hire the unqualified ones as Shule Employees. And Mars is green

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  3. Maybe, but you wrote about Adass “said Laufer wasn’t a head mistress”, which for someone who judges so punctiliously “certain others” for what they say and do, this is not what they said.

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      1. I also only know what was reported in the newspapers. Unless you’ve seen in them something I haven’t, none reported Adass as saying “she wasn’t a headmistress”

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        1. I saw it. Ask me where and you will get a blank. As I recall she was not registered and as such they employed her through the Shule, but she was really working as the female headmistress and everyone knew it. Unfortunately many schools are employing unregistered teachers but it is improving I understand. Chochmo BaGoyim Taamin

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