Judge raises concern over attitude of Hasidic mother in care row

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Judge raises concern over attitude of Hasidic mother in care row

Satmar mum complained that 'modern Orthodox' father 'let the children use non-kosher toothpaste and played non-Jewish music in the car'

Judge's Gavel
Judge's Gavel

A family court judge has raised concern about the attitude of an ultra-orthodox Jewish woman embroiled in a dispute with her “modern orthodox” ex-husband over the care of their two children.

Judge Judith Rowe said the woman made a “litany of detailed criticisms” about her ex-husband during the latest round of litigation.

She complained that he let the children, aged nine and seven, use “non-kosher toothpaste” and played “non-Jewish music in the car”.

The judge said the woman “remained rigid” and had spoken in a way which was “extremely concerning”.

Detail of the case emerged more than three years ago.

Judge Rowe, who has overseen family court hearings in London, raised concern about the woman’s attitude in the latest in a series of rulings published online.

She has not identified the family involved.

The couple had lived a Satmar ultra-orthodox Jewish life, and litigation began after the man left the community.

The children remained with their mother but spent time with their father.

Judge Rowe has decided the parents should share their children’s care.

“The father described a settled, happy, modern orthodox life,” said the judge.

“I thought the father’s evidence was straightforward, measured, loving and affectionate about the children.”

She said the woman’s evidence was “by contrast, extremely concerning”.

“The mother advanced a litany of detailed criticisms against the father including the wrong kippah, the non-kosher toothpaste, allowing the children mixed swimming on holiday, bathing the children together, playing non-Jewish music in the car, not showing the children that he was using a permissible light switch during the Sabbath, and giving chocolate yoghurt that is not kosher,” said the judge.

“Every allegation seemed to be of equal concern to the mother.”

Judge Rowe said if the children were to remain healthy they had to be supported to become part of both parents’ worlds.

“While the father’s life has moved far closer to a life in which the children can be – and are seen to be – comfortable and happy, the mother has remained rigid in her condemnation of anything outside Satmar,” said the judge.

“The mother has shown in her evidence that if anything she is more rejecting than previously of anything ‘not Satmar’ or ‘against Satmar’.

“The mother must change her position. She must support the children in their involvement in the father’s life now.

“I will not countenance the exclusion of this father from a full role in the secular and religious lives of his children.”

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