Beitar Illit, Israel – A panel of ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the settlement of Beitar Illit have issued a ruling banning women from participating in all-female workout classes associated with the Brazilian fitness program Zumba.
HAARETZ (http://bit.ly/18eXzQo) reports that the edict, issued by the Rabbinical Court of the Ashkenazi Community in Beitar, carried a bold headline saying “WARNING,” and “explicitly” prohibits women from further participating in the all-women classes which have become popular.
The ruling reads, “”Recently our city has seen the opening of classes employing the South American ‘Zumba’ method. After having established that both in form and manner, the activity is entirely at odds with both the ways of the Torah and the holiness of Israel, as are the songs associated to it, I hereby announce that the organization and participation in such classes is forbidden.”
Sources say that a strong distaste for the Zumba fitness craze among the extreme Haredi elements of the city may have led to the issuing of the ruling.
Sources also said the ruling has not been well-received by many local residents, who see nothing wrong with all female classes taught only be female instructors.
One resident accused the ruling of “wanting to turn our city into Afghanistan, and we won’t go along with it. The rabbis and the judges can’t determine whether or not we participate in Zumba. I’m sick of them strangling us with these illogical halachic rulings.”