Haredi Rabbis Outlaw Women-Only Zumba Classes

Statement Says Classes Are 'at Odds with both Ways of Torah'

No Dancing: Haredi rabbis have outlawed women only exercise classes, saying that they conflict with a holy life.
Getty Images
No Dancing: Haredi rabbis have outlawed women only exercise classes, saying that they conflict with a holy life.

By Haaretz/Allison Kaplan Sommer

Published September 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Rabbis in an ultra-Orthodox settlement have come out publicly against the trendy Brazilian fitness dance known as Zumba.

A rabbinic panel in Beitar Illit ruled against Zumba classes, the Hebrew-language website Mako reported, even as it is practiced in this religious community - with a female instructor and all-female participants.

In the document issued by the Rabbinical Court of the Ashkenazi Community in Beitar and headlined “warning,” women are explicitly forbidden from running or taking Zumba classes, deemed indecent because they involve moving parts of the body.

“Recently our city has seen the opening of classes employing the South American ‘Zumba’ method,” it reads. “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.”

According to the report, the existence of the women’s Zumba classes in the city had infuriated extremist elements in the Haredi-dominated town, leading to the publishing of the warning. It quoted an angry resident of the town who accused the Zumba opponents 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.”

Read more at Haaretz.com.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.