Writing in the Forward's Sisterhood blog, Debra Nussbaum Cohen points out that the Skvere hasidic movement does not allow women to drive cars, and notes the comparison between that and Saudi Arabia. She also questions another Saudi-like issue in the haredi world – the fact that the Chabad-controlled Crown Heights Jewish Community Council is allowed to receive government funding when it discriminates by gender, and when the CHJCC is guided by religious principles that "contravene American law":
…In the Lubavitch Hasidic community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, women are not permitted to vote in the elections that choose representation for both internal religious issues at the main synagogue, 770, and for local communal matters through the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.
Voting is limited to men. There is a single vote permitted per household, but there are plenty of households in Crown Heights headed by women. So those households go unrepresented in the organizations that have great control over much of what goes on in the Jewish community there.…
Nussbaum Cohen goes on to note that almost 94% of the CHJCC's funding comes from the government – $2,896,752 of the $3,081,651 of its revenue as posted in its last available IRS filing.
I posted on the CHJCC's gender issue several months ago, and the question Cohen asks is valid. Why are our tax dollars paying for this discrimination?
Would we fund an organization that only allowed whites to vote or only Christians to vote?
Of course not.
But this is the CHJCC, the same organization that elected Moshe Rubashkin president a few months after he was released from federal prision after serving time for bank fraud.
A convicted felon, convicted for bank fraud, placed in charge of millions of dollars of government money.
When the CHJCC was called on this by the press, Moshe Rubashkin responded that he would not sign any checks.
Of course, Rubashkin named the person who did sign checks and controlled the employment – or lack there of – of all staff members.
And the governments that fund the CHJCC allowed this.
Is discrimination against all women in Crown Heights different? Is it enough to get the federal, state and/or city governments to reign in the CHJCC?
I doubt it – even though the CHJCC is in clear violation of the law and the Constitution.
Let's hope at least one of these governments proves me wrong.