Williamsburg, NY - Satmar Schools Banning Bicycles
Thou shalt not pedal!
Hasidic schools run by the United Talmudical Academy in Brooklyn are putting the brakes on kids riding bicycles to school, warning parents in a letter that students will be expelled for any free-wheeling offense.
“Even borrowed bicycles” are off limits, the “final warning” letter reads.
The ban was instituted decades ago by Satmar sect Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, but parents said recent infractions prompted the letter.
“If you have something that gives kids the feeling that they can go wherever they want . . . farther from their parents and the community, it brings a lot of bad things,” said father-of-six Moshe Smilowitz
School officials would not comment.
Critics said the ban strips kids of a basic pleasure.
“It’s like a reminder that they’re always watching you,” said Joe DiAngello, 31, who changed his name after he opted out of Orthodox Judaism at the age of 17.