The endless squabbling between the Hasidic Jewish Community and the general population in Outremont/Mile End has a new chapter.
The latest issue? The right to work out:
It was an unlikely confrontation in an alley behind the Park Ave. YMCA.
On one side, Renee Lavaillante, sun-loving pilates practitioner; on the other, Abraham Perlmutter, member of the Hasidic congregation of Yetev Lev, who believes those women in tights are corrupting young boys at the synagogue across the street.
The clash between the two came to a head yesterday over the YMCA’s new frosted windows, which block out the sun – and the tights.
It’s tempting to write this off as just another example of the wider community’s intolerance towards the Hasidic population. But in this case, it’s actually backwards:
In all the above examples, the community was attempting to curtail the rights of the Hasidim. In this case, the Hasidim are attempting to curtail the rights of the community.
Part of living in a free society means that you’re entitled to your own beliefs, standards and values, but you can’t go imposing them on anyone else as long as they’re not breaking the law or hurting anyone. The Hasidic community may not like the fact that women in Montreal have the right to walk around – or work out – in tights and sleeveless tops, but the fact remains that they do. And, like it or not, the Hasidic community can’t go around throwing stones at people who walk the streets in shorts, either. This isn’t Meah Shearim, and I don’t condone it when they do it there, either.
The Hasidic community has a right to its feelings on the matter, but doesn’t have a right to impose those feelings on anyone else. We will all get along better when we recognize this.