MONTREAL (JTA) — Hasidic Jews in an upscale Montreal borough avoided being penalized on Purim for having children ride buses on city streets following the intervention of a city official.
Lionel Perez, a member of Montreal’s executive committee, assured minority rights activist Fo Niemi prior to the holiday that unlike 2014 and 2015, the Outremont borough would not issue tickets on Purim to a Hasidic-hired bus company for breaking a 13-year-old bylaw barring buses on streets, the Canadian Jewish News reported.
Still, the bylaw, which the Hasidim feel targets them and want to see canceled outright, remains in place, a potential problem for future Purims.
“We have reached out to the [borough] mayor and asked her to sit down with us and work out a solution, but the mayor has refused to listen,” Hasidic spokesman Mayer Feig said.
Human rights lawyers see the bylaw as being discriminatory and as breaking provincial and Canadian human rights charters.
In February, a borough prosecutor withdrew hundreds of dollars in fines for tickets issued in 2014 and 2015, the judge reasoning that the borough did not post enough explicit signage about the bylaw.