An ex-Hasidic woman has told a trial in Quebec Superior Court that she was exempted from language and math classes beginning at age 13 because it was deemed she already had enough secular knowledge.
Clara Wasserstein, a former member of the ultra-Orthodox Tash community north of Montreal, says the focus of girls’ education in the community was to prepare them to be wives and to raise Jewish children.
Wasserstein, 41, and her husband, Yochonon Lowen, are seeking a judgment against the Quebec government, which they accuse of failing to ensure they received an adequate education.
She testified today that girls in the community’s private schools received a mix of secular education and religious education in Yiddish, while boys spent more time studying Jewish texts.
However, Wasserstein says from the age of 13 she was allowed to skip the secular portion of the day and help her mother instead.
She testified that she was around 17 when it was arranged that she would marry Lowen, and she never received a provincially recognized high school diploma.
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