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Date set for ‘women singing’ in Equality Court

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The Equality Court action being brought against the Cape Board of Deputies by two Cape Orthodox Jews and subsequently joined by an interfaith Progressive-affiliated group, SACRED, has not had an impact on today’s Yom Hashoah proceedings at the at Pinelands Cemetery in the city. But JR Online has established that court dates have been set down and we publish the legal copies of the arguments of the respective parties today.
by ANT KATZ | May 05, 2016

Purely based on the chirp-fest that has seen over 50 user-comments representing in excess of 12 000 words being posted on this topic in less than a month, and the punch-ups that have ensued, this is clearly an emotive issue for SA Jewry.

To get a more complete understanding of the underlying issues and where the parties are at, read yesterday’s story - PROPOSAL UNACCEPTABLE SAYS CAPE BOARD – which clearly covers the religious concept of Kol Isha, when men are not supposed to listen to women singing - hear women are not acceptable in Orthodox Jewry.  

Users can follow the story links below to get a better understanding of the potential implications on most religious denominations should religious law be tested against Constitutional law. However, with both parties seemingly intransigent, their respective see-you-in-court stances look set to see this being tested and played out in the public domain after all.

Kol IshaThe Judge President of the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday appointed a justice of the Western Cape High Court, sitting as the Equality Court, to hear the case of the three (complainant) parties against the Cape Jewish Board of Deputies, based on the banning of women singing at the Holocaust Memorial ceremony (which takes place today).

The judge who has been appointed to hear the case is Justice Lee Bozalek. The case has been set down for two days: Monday August 22 and Tuesday August 23 and will likely become a reference case for years to come. It is also likely to cost a considerable amount in legal fees depending on the decision of the parties as to whether to let it go once the Equality Court has ruled.

The religious aspect, with a simple explanation of a complex issue which briefly explains the halachh and the reasons why exclusions were applied more previously, can be read in our initial story: BOARD SUED IN EQUALITY COURT OVER ‘KOL ISHA’.

PDF docs will be of interest to our users

For the interest and convenience of users, JR Online has posted on this website PDF documents of the Board’s 41-page reply to the original papers and the complainants’ (headed by Gilad Stern) subsequent 12-page reply to that.

These may be easily uploaded and then printed, filed or forwarded to friends or family who may be interested in the case.

Four years ago the matter resulted in a public demonstration and toyi-toyi by Jewish women outside Beyachad,Johannesburg Jewry's communal headquarters (click to see video).

The Board is represented by attorney R Kudo with the firm Bernard Vukic Potash & Getz; while the complainants are represented by attorney D Olivier of the firm Fairbridge Wetheim Becker.

Catch up on the community voice

It has become a chirp-fest among users who have posted over 50 comments with over 12 000 words on this topic. Join the conversation – or simply enjoy what fellow users of this website have to say:

1 Comment

  1. 1 Beverley May 09 May
    Dear Ant, this is especially interesting in light of the fact that we do have an example of secular law offering protection against religious-originated gender-based discrimination in South Africa. The Late Rabbi Harris and Rebbetzin Harris were instrumental in ensuring that a civil divorce requires the removal of impediments to religious remarriage - Divorce Act (70 of 1979) section 5A. Thus assisting Jewish women whose husbands refuse to grant a get. 


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