Yet Again:
Tel Aviv municipality shuts down Chabad tefillin stand

Tel Aviv orders Chabad rabbi to shutter tefillin stand, six weeks after Herziliya fines rabbi for putting tefillin on willing passersby.

Tzvi Lev ,

Tefillin
Tefillin
Thinkstock

Inspectors from the Tel Aviv municipality ordered a Chabad rabbi to cease putting tefillin (phylacteries) on passersby who wish to do so and threatened to levy a fine if he would not consent.

For many years, Chabad men have set up stands all over Israel, including Ben Gurion airport as well as in many other countries, offering to help Jewish men put on tefillin if they so wish. On Friday, an inspector from the Tel Aviv municipality told a Chabad rabbi to close down his tefillin booth in Tel Aviv's Ramat Aviv neighborhood because he did not possess a permit. The inspector warned that the rabbi would receive a heavy fine should he refuse to do so.

In September, a Chabad rabbi was slapped with a NIS 736 ($209) fine from Herziliya city municipal inspectors for offering passersby the opportunity to put on tefillin, causing national furor.

Agudas Chasidei Chabad, the umbrella organization for Chabad emissaries had said that "it's hard to believe that out of all the places around the globe where Chabad emissaries help Jews put on tefillin and connect to their parents' tradition, only in Israel will a person be fined or brought to court for it. Not in New York, not in Moscow's Red Square, not in London or at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Only in Herzliya, a city in Israel."

Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon ended up apologizing for the flap in a letter he addressed to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whom he referred to as 'Hamelech Hamashiach' (Messiah, the king, ed.). The Rebbe died in 1994 and was buried in what is known as the Ohel (great tent) in New York, but his influence continues to be so pervasive and unique that there are many who consider him to live on and believe him to be the Messiah.

"I, Moshe the son of Tony Fadlon, Mayor of Herzliya, inform the rabbi, Hamelech Hamashiach, that unfortunately there was a misunderstanding about the tefillin stand. I want to express my sorrow and announce to everyone that I cherish the activities of Chabad. I request from his holiness a blessing for success and for a sweet and sweet year," he wrote.

The Tel Aviv municipality has not responded to Friday's incident in Ramat Aviv.




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