Montreal Jewish cabbie can display religious artifacts


TORONTO (JTA) — A Jewish taxi driver in Montreal has won the right to display religious artifacts in his cab, ending a protracted dispute.

Arieh Perecowicz, 66, reached an out-of-court settlement with city officials last week allowing him to drive customers in a cab that includes two small mezuzot and a photo of the late Lubavitcher rebbe.

"This is a huge victory, morally and emotionally," he was quoted as saying in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Last month Perecowicz, a taxi driver for 44 years, lost his much-publicized case when a municipal court upheld several fines against him for having too many personal and religious objects in his vehicle. He was ordered to pay $1,300, which included about $600 for court costs. Perecowicz promised to appeal the ruling.

In a deal struck with municipal authorities, the cabbie agreed to drop his appeal in exchange for the city withdrawing four outstanding tickets issued against him. Perecowicz is still on the hook for four other tickets and fines exceeding $1,000.

Over the years, the Montreal Taxi Bureau has fined Perecowicz eight times under a by-law that bans any "object or inscription that is not required for the taxi to be in service." The two mezuzot are affixed to the car frame between the front and back doors. Perecowicz argued the by-law violated his freedom of expression.

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