All Abrahamic religions have a tendency to treat women as irredeemably damaged and fatally compromised. Here’s the latest example — from the world of conservative Judaism.
The British leaders of a major Hasidic sect have declared that women should not be allowed to drive. In a letter sent out last week, Belz rabbis said that having female drivers goes against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp” and against the norms of Hasidic institutions.
It added that, from August, children would be barred from their schools if their mothers drove them there.
According to the letter — which was signed by leaders from Belz educational institutions and endorsed by the group’s rabbis — there has been an increased incidence of “mothers of pupils who have started to drive” which has led to “great resentment among parents of pupils of our institutions”.
They said that the Belzer Rebbe in Israel, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, has advised them to introduce a policy of not allowing pupils to come to their schools if their mothers drive.
The women in question say they are totally on board with it, though.
The local Belz’s women’s organisation Neshei Belz issued a statement to say that they felt “extremely privileged and valued to be part of a community where the highest standards of refinement, morality and dignity are respected. 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 behavior.”
I don’t know if that’s evidence of Stockholm syndrome, or of being cowed, or of something else. Whatever it is, it strikes me as a stupidly patriarchal mentality that, metaphorically, needs to be flattened by a ten-ton truck.
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