Stop displaying religious objects, court orders cab driver


TORONTO (JTA) — A Jewish taxi driver in Montreal may not display religious artifacts and other objects in his cab, a Quebec court ruled.

Arieh Perecowicz, 66, a taxi driver for 44 years, lost his much-publicized case Feb. 17 when a municipal court upheld several fines against him for having too many personal and religious objects in his car. He was ordered to pay $1,300, which included about $600 for court costs.

Perecowicz argued that he was comforted by having articles of his Jewish faith in the car, including photos of the late Lubavitcher rebbe and two mezuzahs affixed to the car frame between the front and back doors.

His decorations at times have included photos of his wife and daughter, small Canadian and Israeli flags, and a Remembrance Day poppy.

Over the years, Montreal Taxi Bureau authorities fined Perecowicz eight times under a bylaw that bans any "object or inscription that is not required for the taxi to be in service." Perecowicz argued that the bylaw violated his freedom of expression.

He has changed cars and now has three small images of the Lubavitcher rebbe that he says are not visible from the back seat and the two mezuzahs.

Perecowicz  does not plan to remove the personal effects from his cab, and told the Montreal Gazette that he will appeal the ruling "all the way to the Supreme Court, if I have to."

Recommended from JTA