Fined for singing 'Ma Nishtana' on Passover?

Haredi family fined for noise during Seder night in Bnei Brak, prompting appeal by MK Eichler.

Michal Levy,

Passover Seder
Passover Seder
Hadas Parush/Flash90

Chairman of the Knesset’s Special Committee for Public Petitions, MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) appealed to Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) to intervene on behalf of a family fined for a noise violation during the Passover Seder Monday evening in the predominantly haredi city of Bnei Brak.

According to the fine, the haredi family violated noise laws Monday night with “late-night singing”. The fine did not take into account the Passover holiday or the almost universal Jewish custom of staying up late during the Seder night, with families often singing festive songs into the wee hours.

The neighbor who called police to complain about the noise says he warned the family to quiet down before he went to the authorities.

But MK Eichler argued that the fine should be waived in light of the holiday custom, adding that given the lax enforcement of the Hametz Law (which prohibits the public sale of leavened bread during Passover), it would be inappropriate to punish law-abiding citizens for adhering to a well-known and innocuous tradition.

“In a state that openly violates [its own] Hametz Law,” wrote Eichler, “they’re going to fine a Jew who celebrates the Passover Seder in Bnei Brak?”

Eichler urged Minister Elkin to cancel the fine, calling the punishment an injustice.

“I’m sure that you were not aware of this fine. But as Minister of Environmental Protection, it is your responsibility to publicly cancel this embarrassing fine, so as to not enable the Romans of our generation, who permit the selling of leavened bread on Passover in public and fine Jews who celebrate [the holiday] at home during Seder night.”


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