Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mochel Mohel

Rabbi beats speeding ticket

Quebec's Jewish chaplain for prisons got a speeding ticket quashed after convincing a judge he'd been rushing to a medical emergency: a baby boy who was bleeding from a ritual circumcision.

...After listening to the rabbi's story, the judge said Lévy had proven the "necessity" of why he'd been speeding, and threw out the ticket.

...Lévy testified he'd received an emergency call from a distraught mother in Côte St. Luc whose 8-day-old boy had been recently circumcised. The bandage had come off and the boy was bleeding into his diaper. The date of the incident was not mentioned in court, nor the speed at which Lévy was travelling.

"The mother was upset and wanted me to get there as soon as possible," said Lévy, who is also a rabbinical judge in Montreal's francophone Jewish community. "The boy was bleeding, and that's always serious."

Why didn't the mother simply call 911 and have the boy taken to hospital? St-Pierre asked.

...Lévy is also qualified as a shochet, a ritual slaughterer of animals. In April 2006, he protested the high cost of kosher meat in Montreal by slaughtering lambs himself for the Passover holiday and selling the meat cheaply. The move got him censured by the Grand Rabbinat du Québec, which declared the meat not kosher because it didn't have the stamp of approval of the Va'ad Ha'ir, the organization which supervises kosher labelling in the city.

For the last two years, Quebec has been in the throes of multiple controversies over "reasonable accommodations" of religious minorities, including orthodox Jews.

Told of the speeding charge and Lévy's acquittal, a prominent Côte St. Luc rabbi expressed amazement.

"The court bought the story?" asked Reuben Poupko, who leads the Beth Israel Beth Aaron congregation. "It shows we're really living in a shtetl."

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