Fathers in Rananna were excluded from attending their nine year old daughters’ dance recital on grounds of modesty. The fathers had left work early to see their daughters. One daughter was so upset that her father couldn’t see her in her recital that she cried.
The dance class included a mix of secular and religious girls. The fathers said that nothing in the invitation indicated that fathers were excluded, nor were the children informed in class that that only mothers could attend.
The dance school management explained that some of the students were “religious”. Therefore they decided to prohibit fathers from attending. They were surprised that the fathers didn’t presume they were unwelcome, noting that the class only for girls, and the recital was in honor of mothers’ day. They also expected the fathers who did show up to accept the exclusion gracefully and complained that one father “caused a riot”.
Rannana is a town in the geographic middle of Israel near Tel Aviv. The town is predominantly secular and most of the religous Jews who live in town are modern orthodox, not Haredi. Most modern orthodox reject the strict division of genders favored by Haredi Jews. Mother’s day in Israel is celebrated on the second of Adar (February 25, 2012), the date of Henrietta Szold’s yahrzeit. Although the day originally only honored mothers, over the years it has lost its gender exclusivity and become “Family Day”.
Most of the comments on the article shared the anger of the excluded fathers. One wrote in regard to the organizer’s suprise that the fathers would show up, “Perhaps it is because we are in Israel and not in Iran?”.