Rabbis in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in Israel have attacked the popular Brazilian dance-ercize known as Zumba, declaring that it conflicts with the teachings of the Torah and runs counter to holy living. All-women Zumba classes, taught by a female instructor, had been held in the Ashkenazi community of Beitar Illit until a rabbinical panel issued a warning forbidding women from taking the classes. The proclamation also bans women from running.
According to Hebrew-language website Mako, the warning read, “Recently our city has seen the opening of classes employing the South American ‘Zumba’ method. After having established that both in form and manner, the activity is entirely at odds with both the ways of the Torah and the holiness of Israel, as are the songs associated to it, I hereby announce that the organization and participation in such classes is forbidden.”
Video of ladies going wild with Zumba, in Israel
The women’s classes had apparently infuriated extremist elements in the Haredi-dominated town, leading to the warning from the Rabbinical Court.
Mako quoted one angry resident who accused the panel of “wanting to turn our city into Afghanistan, and we won’t go along with it. The rabbis and judges can’t determine whether or not we participate in Zumba classes. I’m sick of them strangling us with these illogical halachic rulings.”
Check out this clip of instructor Naama Baumgarten leading a class at Zumba Fitness Israel. A bunch of gals having a good workout, as provocative as watching your mother hang laundry.
There’s no word from the women as to whether they’ll continue to dance, but this city has a history of vigilante punishment of community members who disregard local standards.
Last February, Israel Police arrested two townsmen for allegedly threatening and attacking residents whose dress was deemed inappropriate. Known members of the town’s “modesty patrol” were investigated, and the town mayor questioned on suspicion that he was aware of the harassment and had told residents who complained not to inform the police.
Mako explained that Zumba and running are labelled indecent because they involve moving parts of the body. Doesn’t beating up your neighbors fall into the same category?
Image of women athletes from Shutterstock