Montreal Cab Driver Fined For Decorating Taxi With Mezuzah’s & Photo Of Lubavitcher Rebbe

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A cabbie learned on Thursday that his taxi isn’t a vehicle for freedom of expression and religion.

Arieh Perecowicz lost his court challenge against Montreal taxi authorities who fined him for filling his cab with an assortment of personal and religious objects.

Mr. Perecowicz, who’s driven a cab for over four decades, had decorated his dashboard and other parts of his taxi with family photos, a Canadian flag, and articles of his Jewish faith – including photos of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and two mezuzahs affixed to the car frame between the front and back doors.

But a municipal court judge ruled that Mr. Perecowicz was guilty of violating city bylaws and fined him a total of about $1,000.

Mr. Perecowicz said he will appeal and is ready to take the case as far as the Supreme Court. He says it’s unfair that he cannot display his Jewish prayer scroll in his cab, while a crucifix hangs over the speaker’s chair in Quebec’s National Assembly.

The case is the latest flare-up in Quebec in the debate over the display of religion in public spaces.

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(Source: Globe & Mail)

9 COMMENTS

  1. I actually agree with the ruling of the court. I would hate to get in a cab with someone’s religion in it. Once my family went into a cab and it was obvious that we were religious Jews, and the driver did not have any “objects” but put “Ch…” music on. I kindly asked him if he could pls turn off the radio. The driver said, that THIS type of music helps him relax and drive better. I said “I understand” “Now if you can kindly let us out and we can go to a different cab. We had another cab from the same company pick us up right away, when we got to where we were going, the new driver said that it is no charge – he was sorry.
    I do not understand why people put mezzuahs attached to their car….what Halacha is this? Also with the Rebbe OBM displayed like that it bothers me as a frum person. Great Torah leaders and Gedolalim should be displayed in our homes for our children to see not for the goyim to mock at.

  2. Should frum exhibitionism be permissible in such a public secular environment? Nogeah this article and this week’s discussion on davening in public places, a very prominent rabbi with a very black hat and the most impeccable of credentials once told me to daven sitting in my seat when on a plane…that there was no reason to “show off” in public.

  3. I agree with the judge. I would brech if my cab driver had crosses and buddas and jcs and watchtowers all over the cab because of freedom of religion.
    How about freedom not to be subjected to your religion beliefs in public places, including and especially chabad.

  4. #3 What exactly do you mean “especially chabad”?
    The question is not whether it bothers somebody’s sensitivities to have religious displays in public but whether it’s legal. In this case the judge ruled that it’s not. I guess the judge believes that inside a cab is considered public space. However, the person is within his rights to appeal which according to the article he will do.

  5. I don’t get it. Please explain:

    Why are you allowed to have hanging a picture of an actor or a baseball player – but not of the Lubavitcher Rebbe?!

  6. Quebec does NOT have separation of religion and state. As a result, it provides more support for Jewish schools than any government in North America. That is FAR more important than being able to have a “car mezzuzah” which is of no halachic value whatsoever.

  7. I agree with number 1 and many of the above – ONLY to the extent that this should mold our behaviour – BUT as a Judge, the ONLY consideration is THE LAW. And yes, #7, as far as the JUDGE and the LAW is concerned, there should be NO discrepancy between sports idols, pop stars, or lehavdil photos of gedolim, or religious symbols (unless there is a specific law against them – such as in Saudi Arabia) as decoration in a cab.

    The $1000 fine is outragous. If there was something legally wrong, he shouldn’t have gotten more than a warning to remove the offensive decoration.

    Again remember – we are in galus and must not aggrevate our surroundings with our religion unecessarily. Do not relly on their justice – I don’t need to give examples.