London Based Belz Chassidim Criticized by UK Jewish Feminists

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belzThe following is via OnlySimchas.com:

In a letter signed by leaders of Belz Hasidic Schools in north London, Jewish mothers have been banned from driving and rabbis have also agreed that children dropped off at school by their mothers should be turned away because women drivers break “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp”.

The letter was sent to members of the community and has since been criticized for trying to turn their London community into Saudi Arabia.

The UK Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Dina Brawer, told the Jewish Chronicle that the “draconian ban” is only about “power and control of men over women”.

She added: “In this sense it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia. That it masquerades as a halachic imperative is shameful and disturbing.”

Since the establishment of the state of Saudi Arabia in 1932 women have been banned from driving and last year a woman reportedly received 150 lashes for being caught driving.

There are two large schools in London operated by the Belz Hassidim: Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass and Beis Malka are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

The Jewish Chronicle said that some of the wives of some of the rabbis backing the ban do actually drive.

One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said the proposal “disables women” because “the more kids they have, the more they need to drive”.

And of the rabbis she said: “They say one thing, they do another.”

(Source: OnlySimchas.com)


45 COMMENTS

  1. JOFA is a radical feminist organization that is attempting to replace halacha with feminist ideals. They pretend to be Orthodox to pursue and entrap real Orthodox Jews. They are as Orthodox as Mr. Avi Weiss and his so-called Open Orthodoxy. Feminism and Judaism don’t mix as they have opposing principles.

  2. Ahron Tuvia: Are you also “horrified” with Shulchan Aruch that rules l’halacha in EH 73:1 that a woman should not go outside often and are you “horrified” with Rambam that rules l’halacha in Hilchos Ishus 73:1 that a husband shouldn’t let his wife go out more than once or twice a month?

  3. “that a husband shouldn’t let his wife go out more than once or twice a month?”

    The men should take their kids to school.

  4. Nobody is forcing the women to stay in the Belz community. If they disagree with this hanhaga, they can make their protest either as Lysistrata did, or by just going to a chasidus that is less restrictive. They can become Bostoners or Boyaners, and they would be happy. If they stay and are silent, that is a decision they are entitled to make. They’re not infants that need anyone’s intervention. So leave them alone.

  5. Chuck: And do you agree that the wives should go out to work while the husbands are in Yeshiva (or supposed to be) all day?

  6. Chuck Schwab: My, my my. Aren’t we so full of yiras shomayim! For someone who knows Shulchan Aruch and Rambam so well, you surely know that the rabbonim today have prohibited being on the internet. So it seems that you are machmir for others, but meikel for yourself. Or, in other words, you listen to the Shulchan Aruch when it suits you and you ignore it when it doesn’t.

    Oseh maseh Zimri, umevakesh schar k’Pinchus.

  7. Chucky: Are you suggesting that twice a month women should be allowed to drop off their children by car? Or perhaps according to your sick logic, they should never be allowed even without driving since they are not meant to leave home? Go get some help Chucky

  8. Regarding Chuck Schwab’s quotes… Is the limitation of the Shulchan Aruch (Tur perhaps) and Rambam absolute? Does it mean after walking the children to and from school then the limit applies?

  9. Chuck Schwab Are you horrified at the rate of drop outs (on Youtube one can see ) from Chasidus due to certain unbending and in this case increasing repressive behavior? If I remember well the Chafetz Chaim (MISHNA BRURA AUTHOR) had his wife running a store. (I don’t think she was wearing a Burka)I wonder how repressed Dvorah HaNevia was (what if a woman was invited to a wedding AND sheva brachos in one month) ;O

  10. so we are in agreement with the “radical feminists” that
    it’s comparable to Saudi Arabia and it’s about the power and control of men over women. Ouch!

  11. Guys, don’t shoot the messenger. The message is from Shulchan Aruch, the Rambam and originally from Chazal in the Gemorah. Take it up with those fine folks. I’m just relating the Halacha as it is brought down in the Shulchan Aruch and Rambam. I’m not giving my opinions. I was merely responding to Aharon Tuvia’s (#2) comment that this has nothing to do with Halacha. This very much has to do with Halacha. Crack open a S”A at the citation I gave above and read for yourselves at your heart’s delight.

    If you have a problem with the Torah don’t take it up with me. Take it up with G-d. I didn’t write the Torah nor did I write the Gemorah nor did I write the Shulchan Aruch.

    BenK: The dropout rate among the MO is 50% texting on their “half Shabbos” by time they finish high school or college. The Chareidim and Chasidim have it in the very low single digits. Take up your issue where it is affecting half their population. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    And the Chofetz Chaim’s grocery was in the back of his house. The rebbetzin didn’t have to make a daily commute through the streets.

  12. It’s not just the Belzers or just the Chassidim who oppose women to drive. The late Rav Wosner Zt”L was a fierce opponent of women driving and said many Tzoros come as a result of women driving and so are many many other Rabbonim none chassidishe as well.
    Because of the dire need for many women in our countries not in E”Y it has become for many a Gezeroh shein Hatzibur yecholim laamod bo.
    I am not chassidish and would not allow my wife or daughters to drive.
    PS. Which sheigez is teaching all the women and girls to drive…?

  13. What’s everyone’s problem here?!?? Doesn’t look like any belzer are complaining!! And if they are not happy with this rule they can put their kids in other schools , no one is being forced to do anything against their will. And btw it’s no new rule, the belzer rebbe never let women drive unless they had a valid reason to do so, now it’s only being enforced

  14. Which women stays in her house all day? Who doesn’t go to work? Who doesn’t go shopping? The shulchan Aruch is not meant to be debated here. go to a poisek if you feel you need a heter. in today’s world women go out. in the medrashim it is said that this is part of the reward the women get for not serving the עגל. Today women share equal responsibility for finances and running the home. Chassidus has its faults besides its advantages. Enough said.

  15. if you want to know the Halacha from a previous Poisek Hador look in Oz Nidberi from Rav Binyomin Silber Chelik Yud Gimmel Teshuva Pei. There are no other Teshuvos that I know of relating to this subject,.

  16. Chucky: for such a smart guy I have a small piece of advice. Finish a sentence and don’t stop in middle thinking u understand. The Rambam u brought down does say that she shouldnt go out more than once to twic a month but right after that he says “l’fi hatzorech” meaning that she could still go out as much as necessary. I don’t know if ur married or if ur a yeshiva bochur like myself, but think for a moment can a house really properly run without the mother going out and doing the shopping ateast once a week, and to reference this article don’t u think that it’s cons “hatzorech” for the mother to pick up the kids from yeshiva if the father is at work or something else?!?!?!?! I rest my case.

  17. BenK What is wrong with dropping out of chassidus? Is there something wrong with being Lubavitch or MO? They don’t have to change Belz in order to stay there, they can leave and find the place of their choice.

  18. @ Barzilai:
    And how is a married woman with an number of children supposed to jump to a different chassidus? Does she take the husband and children with her, or not? How would it work?

  19. Bh,
    I think this prohibition should include women goimg out of the house period. “the honor of a princess is to stay inside.” Mesechet Yevamot, Tehillim 45:14.

  20. That’s fine, then the Men should do all the shopping, take the kids to school, and go to work, and the women can stay home and raise the kids. But then don’t say the women should go,support learning guys and go out to work, but just not drive kids to school. This is hypocritical. They have changed the traditional roles- they want the women to,support the men, and then they want women not to drive!

  21. It’s unbelievable how quick people here are to jump on someone. all he did was quite he didn’t say what his own feelings are. That being said the one main point here is that it’s not Saudi Arabia and while women aren’t allowed to drive they are not lashed for it and if they don’t agree with the belzer way they can leave it. Now I’m not saying that I agree with this practice but I believe in staying out of free people business and if they choose to adhere to these rules then they can do what they want And those feminists out there obviously don’t have a big enough house to clean:)

  22. #11 how do u know that he doesnt have filtered internet the internet i use has no photos and only allows certain websites did the rabbonim ever ban a filtered internet that includes no images.

  23. I get the modesty thing but women have to go out support their families,shop,and take kids to school,etc.Does the rebbe propose men should give up Torah learning and do all this?Taking taxis isn’t the answer-isn’t riding around in a car with a strange man a bigger breach of modesty?

  24. all I can say is: when you want to send your child to a school you have to abide to the school rules. if the school rule is wearing uniform, you wont send your child in jeans and a rugby. same here- no one is forcing you to go to belz- if its your choice to send your child to their school- suck it up and stick to their rules whether you like it or not.

  25. Re no. 1
    “chachom says:
    JOFA is a radical feminist organization that is attempting to replace halacha with feminist ideals. They pretend to be Orthodox to pursue and entrap real Orthodox Jews. They are as Orthodox as Mr. Avi Weiss and his so-called Open Orthodoxy.”
    FYI, Sara hurwitz (Avi Weiss’s chief maharat shlita) is a curricular researcher and writer for JOFA. So your comparison between the two was perhaps stronger than you realised.
    The very fact that the JC quotes them tells you what they are.

  26. I think everyone understands that nowadays no-one can force women to stay at home or not to drive cars, even if that is the ideal. The question here is entirely different. Being litvish myself I send my kids to a school for Bnei Torah/yungerleit. As such I’m expected to conform with the standards of that school. I wouldn’t want my child to have friends in school whose parents grossly contravene those standards.

    Belz isn’t telling anyone what to do, they’re setting standards they want for their parent body, which presumably most of their parents want other parents to fit in with and see at is defining their Kehilla.

    Schools don’t normally send out letters like this without pressure from other parents who didn’t like it.

  27. Unfortunately the people making these rules (Rebbes, the Belzer Rebbe in this case) don’t live in the same world we (their Chasidim) do.
    They are driven around in luxury cars and private jets whenever they feel like it. Have they ever, even once had to run do the doctor with their children and get back home to prepare dinner? And so on…
    Another point: information being blocked from Rebbes by their Gaboim who feed them selective information, Rebbes probably have no clue the tremendous resentment rules like these create within their own Chasidim.
    Worse yet, the rule does not make any sense and that is exactly why it is not followed without the use of intimidation and threats, hence the need to threaten evicting innocent children from school. Rules like these come from ignorance and a penchant inclination for control at all costs, even if its evident for all how senseless rules like this are.
    Rebbes need Gaboim who will tell it to them as it is and Rebbes need to grow up like the rest of us, in the real, harsh, cash strapped, time limited, means limited world we live in before they become leaders and make binding decision on the rest of us

  28. #32: “Moderate” rabbonim allow filtered internet. More stringent ones don’t allow internet at all! If Chuck is so machmir for women, he should be so machmir for himself. Otherwise he’s a hypocrite.

    Does anyone know if the wives of gedolim followed this dictum? Did R. Moshe’s wife stay indoors a whole month? Did R. Yaakov’s? Didn’t women go out in the shtetl? Was this a halacha that the olom did not accept in practice? (There are others.) Perhaps the olom practices like other shitos. It’s well known that even the Chofetz Chaim didn’t practice certain things like he paskened in the Mishna Berura. This seems to be the case with women going out. No one practices like the Shulchan Aruch and Rambam. I’m not sure they ever did.

  29. gedolimfan: The S”A is clear that she shouldn’t go out too much. Rambam is clear too. The point is that a woman is not supposed to be in public unnecessarily. So to have rules minimizing her being in public is clearly in line with following S”A.

    A husband is responsible for setting and upholding the halachic and hashkafic compliance of his family.

  30. Yiddishkeit is not supposed to be discriminating against women.
    Do you realise that this has gone viral that the nonjewish world is talking about it.
    A really bad chillul Hashem.

  31. gedolimfan: You misread the Rambam. Rambam says she can go out once or twice depending on her needs. Meaning if she needs to go out only once, then she should do so only once and not twice. If she needs to go out twice, she should go out twice per her needs. Rambam doesn’t say once or twice or l’fi hatzorech. l’fi hatzorech is only applicable, per Rambam, to the once or twice.

  32. Chassidish living, or chassidus has outlived its benefit. Time to follow mainstream yiddishkeit, with no bending to the right or the left. Chassidus served a vital function in 1800s Poland. Today it is no longer needed.

  33. whether mutar or ossur, i know that when i drive in to stamford hill (where these chassidim are based) the first thing you notice is the pavements packed with chasidishe ladies… if they not going going to stay in their houses then its more tznius for them to drive then to walk the streets…..

  34. Keep them home. Men shop, take the children wherever they need to go and look after parnassah.

    Children need fresh air and sunshine. Who takes them to the playground?

    Female children can stay indoors. This will help keep them weak and compliant. They will have just enough strength to cook and clean if you make sure they take supplements, and not ever dream of such pritzus as going out.