TIME United Kingdom

Orthodox Jewish Sect Tells Women to Stop Driving

Hasidic Jews London
Rob Stothard—Getty Images Ultra-orthodox Jewish men walk along the street in the Stamford Hill area of London on Jan. 17, 2015.

Rabbis say driving brings out "aggressive tendencies" which are not appropriate for women

Leaders of the Belz Hasidic sect in north London have declared that women should not be allowed to drive and that from August, children would be barred from their schools if their mothers drove them there.

Rabbis sent the letter, which was signed by leaders from Belz educational institutions, out to parents last week according to a report in The Jewish Chronicle.

The letter said the ban is based on recommendations from Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel. It said that women who drive go against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp” and that driving brings out immodest, “aggressive tendencies” in women.

Some within the Orthodox Jewish community disagree. Dina Brawer, U.K. Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, said the instructions within the letter had no scriptural foundation. “The instinct behind such a draconian ban is one of power and control, of men over women,” she told the JC. “In this sense it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia.”

A statement issued on behalf of local women in the Belz sect disagreed, saying that they felt privileged to be part of a community that respected their dignity. “We believe that driving a vehicle is a high pressured activity where our values may be compromised by exposure to selfishness, road-rage, bad language and other inappropriate behaviour,” they said.

[The Jewish Chronicle]

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team