Quebec Judge Sides With Hasidic Jews, Changes COVID Rules on Religions Gatherings

Quebec Judge Sides With Hasidic Jews, Changes COVID Rules on Religions Gatherings

A near-empty Rene-Levesque Boulevard is seen under Quebec’s new COVID-19 lockdown in Montreal, on Jan. 13, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson)

MONTREAL—A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled in favour of a group of Hassidic Jews who had challenged the province’s COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings.

The ruling delivered today by Justice Chantal Masse says up to 10 people are allowed to gather in each room of a synagogue to pray—as long as each room has a separate entrance to the street.

Quebec’s COVID-19 regulations had limited the number of worshippers to 10 people per place of worship.

The Quebec Council of Hassidic Jews argued Monday in court that the 10-person limit per synagogue was unacceptable and violated freedom of religion.

The group said prayer was at the core of its members lives and of the Jewish Hassidic community.

Evidence presented before Masse demonstrated that some important prayers and ceremonies, such as circumcisions, require a quorum of 10 adult men.

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