Tel Aviv: Ban on Tefillin Stands Inadvertently Inspires Hundreds of Secular Israelis to Don Phylactery

February 12, 2020

< 1 min read

The Tel Aviv municipality announced that religious kiosks, including Chabad’s famous Tefillin (Phylactery) booths, are now illegal. The new city-wide legislation stipulates that the city will deny permits for “stands in general and prayer stands in particular” that are located within 1,000 feet from educational institutions. These institutions include schools, kindergartens, community centers and “any other institution that primarily serves minors.” Israel’s Channel 20 reported that the new law was sponsored by Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Reuven Ladiansky, leader of the “Chai – Secular Greens”,  a party known for its anti-religious stance.

But a group of secular students in Tel Aviv decided not to let the local government decide what they put on their bodies. So they placed a tefillin booth inside the college.  Chair of the UNO Academic College Student Association, Elhanan Pelheimer,  wrote:

Live and let live – Deeds and not talk. Following the Tel Aviv municipality’s decision to deny the possibility of placing tefillin booths next to educational institutions, starting tomorrow as a sign of protest, the student union will place a permanent stand on the lawn where it will be offered to anyone wishing to don tefillin. While people are trying to exclude the Jewish people and their commandments, the association will strengthen and give the right and ability to as many Jews as possible by putting on tefillin. The Student Union is a pluralistic society that respects every person according to their religion and belief and allows all Arab students as Jews, ultra-Orthodox, religious and secular, all together, to live their lives without limitations.

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