Antwerp – The sons of former Neturei Karta member Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Friedman were registered today at the all-girls school Benoth Jerusalem in Antwerp.
As previously reported on VIN, Friedman sued the school for denying admission to his sons, ages 8 and 11, citing a recent decision from the Commission on Students’ Rights which held that a child cannot be denied admission to a school on the basis of their gender. A Belgian judge ruled that Benoth Jerusalem must admit the boys or face a $2,600 penalty per child for each day the boys are not permitted to attend.
According to a news report in the Belgian Jewish weekly Joods Actueel (http://bit.ly/ZgEUKH), Friedman arrived with his wife and two sons by taxi at the school this morning to register his children. The family was accompanied by a police escort and a court bailiff to ensure the school complied with the judge’s ruling. Benoth Jerusalem also had a bailiff present to protect its interests.
Following registration, Friedman told the press that his children were very happy to finally be able to attend school, and that the schoolgirls were excited to have boys in their classes. Mrs. Friedman, who has previously stayed out of the controversy, said, “Our children are 100% Jewish and must therefore attend a Jewish school. That is our right.”
Friedman has said he sees himself as a role model for co-ed instruction in the religious schools, and that by registering his sons at an all-girls yeshiva, he has finally put an end to discrimination and segregation between boys and girls in Hasidic Jewish schools.
Aron Berger, whose daughter attends Benoth Jerusalem, said by forcing his boys to attend a girl’s institution, Friedman’s actions are akin to child abuse. Berger was especially angry that Friedman has attempted to undermine hundreds of years of tradition which states that boys and girls be educated separately.
A siruv was issued in New York last week warning Orthodox Jews around the world to avoid interacting with Friedman in any way. It has allegedly been posted in 35 synagogues in Antwerp.
Friedman, meanwhile, has now sued an all-boys yeshiva in Antwerp for denying admission to his daughters. The court case has been postponed until January 17.