British Education Secretary Condemns Belz Ban On Women Driving


stamford hill londonThe British education secretary has condemned the Belz community’s decision to ban women from driving, saying the edict was “completely unacceptable in modern Britain.”

Nicky Morgan, who is also the minister for women and equalities, spoke as the Department for Education launched an investigation into the order issued by Belz, which runs two schools in Stamford Hill, north London. A letter to parents said that, from later this year, children driven to school by women would be turned away.

Parents in the area defended the ban on Friday, saying it was part of the choice they made when they agreed to live within the Belz community. Women rejected the characterization that they were oppressed, and the schools wrote to Morgan, saying the notice had been misrepresented.

The group runs Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass, a boys’ primary school, and Bais Malka, a primary school for girls. Both have been rated good by Ofsted.

The schools had said that, from August, any child driven to school by their mother would be turned away at the school gates. The letter said the ban was based on the recommendations of the Belzer rebbe.

It said that if a mother has no other choice but to drive her child to school – such as a medical reason – she should “submit a request to the special committee to this effect and the committee shall consider her request.”

Morgan condemned the edict, which was first reported by the Jewish Chronicle. In a statement provided to the Guardian, she said: “This is completely unacceptable in modern Britain. If schools do not actively promote the principle of respect for other people they are breaching the independent school standards. Where we are made aware of such breaches we will investigate and take any necessary action to address the situation.”

{ Newscenter, The Guardian contributed to this report.}


  1. The schools had said that, from August, any child driven to school by their mother would be turned away at the school gates. 

    Tell the mother to drop her kid off a block away from the school and watch him from there until he gets into the school building

  2. It’s simply antisemitism!
    The Brits seem to have no issue with the 48% moooos-leeems and their life style, but for Yidden, it seems to be their business! !!

  3. The school has NO right to put such a ban in place. This indeed compares to some Arab states where women have been banned from driving and which has infuriated the West for years!

  4. I don’t understand, why can’t a woman bring their child to learn Torah? Whether it be in a car, boat, bus, bike, helicopter, plane, horse, donkey, giraffe …When did this become an integral part of Judaism that we would turn away a child from learning Torah?

    Strange, strange world.

  5. Any religious sect should be allowed to establish any rules that it wishes to impose upon its members as a condition for continued membership within the sect, so long as the association with the group is totally voluntary. No outsider has the authority to dictate to others what their mode of worship ought to be as long no one is subjected to physical harm. If Belz demands that all its adult male members wear hats made of sable tails and that all women don wigs made of horsehair, that is their absolute right, as ridiculous as it may sound to others. It is no one else’s business, period.

    After having declared my firm support for the Belzer position in this matter, my intellectual curiosity nonetheless does lead my to inquire as to what precisely does the Belzer community find offensive about women driving. Is it that a woman sitting in the front seat of a vehicle is inherently immodest? What if one were to design a vehicle that can be operated from the back seat, would then women driving become kosher, provided that they drove from the back seat? Or perhaps there is something prurient about sitting behind a steering wheel that renders the activity sinful. What if someone would design an automobile that could be steered by a joystick, could that help? Or is it perhaps the possibility that a woman might pass a vehicle operated by a man somehow subversive in nature because it might suggest that sometimes a woman might proceed before a man and that is too intolerable to contemplate?

    Can someone familiar with this community please enlighten me? Inquiring minds want to know.

  6. To the editor:

    Not for publication

    Would you kindly tell me why you did not publish either one of my two comments? I am curious, and am not necessarily critical. I believe that basic derech eretz calls for an answer.