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Orthodox Jewish group defends rights of Pentecostal

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An Orthodox Jewish group is representing a member of a black Pentecostal church in a modesty case against New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Agudath Israel of America contacted Eric Stern, an Orthodox Jewish employment lawyer, to work on the case of Tahita Jenkins, a bus driver fired by the MTA for refusing to wear pants on the job, a requirement which violates the modesty requirements of her religion.

To MTA claims that wearing a skirt compromises the ability to drive, Stern responded, “There aren’t Orthodox women all over Brooklyn crashing into poles.”

Agudath Israel has dealt with the MTA before in a case where a train conductor was told to remove his yarmulke. “We contacted the agency and his religious needs were duly accommodated,” said Rabbi Mordechai Biser, Agudath Israel’s associate general counsel. He added, “We hope the MTA will yet change course, and not make her wait for a judge’s order.”

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