Orthodox community leaders have admitted that posters telling women which side of the road to walk down during a Torah procession “lacked explanation”.
It comes after the council were forced to remove up to a dozen signs reading: “Women should please walk along this side of the road only”.
The posters, in Yiddish and English, were placed along the route for a Hachnosus Sefer Torah, where both hundreds of men and women accompany the new sefer Torah under a Chupah to its new home.
“Even in a modern Orthodox shul you would find the man and woman walking on different sides of the road,” said Rabbi Abraham Pinter, a community spokesman.
However Rosemary Sales, a councillor for Stamford Hill West, said: “It is quite unacceptable to try to restrict women’s movements in a public place and council officers removed these posters as soon as it was reported to them.”
Pinter reacted by saying: “I agree more information would be better, it does come across very badly if you don’t know the reason, but at the same time the comments of Councillor Sales are unhelpful. She should be trying to increase understanding, not trying to exploit misunderstandings for political gain.”
Chaim Hochhauser, from the Stamford Hill Shomrim group, said: “We contacted the event organisers, and explained that these posters lacked explanation in the English text, and therefore could have offended people who don’t understand the Hebrew wording and the logo.”