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Reform Movement Challenges Beit Shemesh Tznius Signs

tznius.jpgThe Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism was back in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Tuesday 19 Sivan 5774 challenging the legality of modesty signs in chareidi neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh. The petitioner is also seeking 100,000 shekels in compensation for four women in the city that endured pain and suffering as a result of the modesty signs.

The first hearing in the case was held a number of months ago. At that time, the court rejected a request from the Reform Movement to order the immediate removal of the objectionable signs pending the outcome of the case. The court accepted the argument of Beit Shemesh City Hall, which is represented by attorney Moti Berkowitz.

The petitioner presented recommendations contained in a report prepared by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein addressing discrimination against women as a result of modesty signs in a local municipality. The attorney general ruled the signs are not legal and it is the responsibility of the local government to make sure the signs are removed.

In its defense, Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul informed the court City Hall has removed the signs numerous times, but they continue to reappear. He explained the city inspectors lack the ability to continue the cat and mouse game and therefore, City Hall turned to Israel Police to become involved in the matter, to enforce the law. Abutbul added similar signs appear in Jerusalem and other cities, yet no one is running to City Hall complaining. The mayor added “I am pained” that the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism feels the need to continue with this and bringing up old issues that have been long forgotten, stirring renewed controversy by its action amid a realization the overwhelming number of residents of the city prefer to live side-by-side in a harmonious relationship.

City officials were present for the hearing, testifying just how City Hall did remove the signs repeatedly, yet they continue to reappear despite their best efforts. They explained that enforcing the law in this case is near impossible. City spokesman Matisyahu Rosensweig detailed the efforts made by the mayor for the court, concurring with other officials regarding the efforts made in the best to enforce the law prohibiting the signs. He detailed the endless hours invested by the mayor and his staff to resolve the conflict without inciting renewed tensions and conflict in the city.

Justice David Gidoni suggested to the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism to withdraw its petition seeking monetary compensation for the women and to make do with the petition to remove the sings but the petitioner refused to comply with the court’s request. The court promised its verdict in the next session.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

7 Responses

  1. Would they also feel pain and suffering confronting signs advocating shmiras Shabbos or kashrus? And would it not be more painful to them to observe people in the act of acting modestly, or observing Shabbos, or eating kosher food – and would they ask the zionist courts to prohibit people from engaging in such acts.

    Reform Judaism has always been about destroying Torah. Their assumption is that traditional Jewish is incompatible with the world of 2014 – and our continued existence proves they are wrong.

  2. These Reform and zionists can give up their fight against tznius. The signs will reappear forever each time they tear it down. They can hire and pay for a 100 new police officers 24/6 full-time if they think they’ll ever be able to be there every time they are put back up. Kudos to those keeping the signs up.

  3. Shocking position from a movement that used to have a policy of forbidding yamalkas and hats in their temples with signs posted to that effect. Maybe they now permit them, but I fail to see the harm caused by signs advising women to dress modestly.

  4. Yaakov doe:because it may start with some pashkevi and endd up in harassment of women and violence against anyone not following the harasser’s view.That is why any sign should be prohibited

  5. ujm: Reform and Zionist are not the same thing. There are lots of frum, shomer mitzvot Jews who are Zionists. Like me.

    Keep hating everyone that’s not like you. That’s what Hashem wants, right?

  6. yaakov doe: You have your facts wrong. Reform is not about banning ANYTHING. They’re all about tolerance. Everyone can do what they want.

    Do you even know any Reform Jews? Have you ever been to a Reform synagogue? Do you have any Reform friends?

    G-d forbid you should try to talk to Jews that aren’t just like you! Don’t try to get along with them!

  7. Unfortunately this article contains many untruths regarding the legal issues. They are the same untruths circulated by the Bet Shemesh Council’s facebook page. I will not go into those -I would just like to point out that all of the 4 women suing are ORTHODOX WOMEN with sons in yeshivot now and in the past. The reason that we have teamed up with the reform movement’s lawyer is because she is a champion of women’s rights. Our lawyer is responsible for suing a bus company for allowing a girl to be forced to sit at the back of a bus. She is responsible for the signs on public buses in Israel assuring women that they have the right to sit where they want on buses. Unfortunately in Bet Shemesh, it is only the reform movement that is willing to stand up against the violence directed at women. Isn’t it sad? To be a rabid feminist in Israel today you just have to demand your right to walk on any side of the sidewalk that you choose , to not have your dress code dictated by a modesty patrol and to sit anywhere you want on a bus . WHERE ARE THE ORTHODOX ON THESE ISSUES? Why aren’t they supporting women against the extremists????

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