By The Pugilist
June 16, 2010
How many Jewish families out there with young Jewish children have to rack up points in order to qualify for a Jewish school placement?
The new points system which was introduced last June following a ruling by the Court of Appeal is an utter disgrace. Forcing families with young Jewish children to attend Synagogue is outrageous and unethical.
Currently my Tesco points sit at 1500 and my Nectar points not far behind on 1200. Perhaps I could add these points together, start buying kosher Vienna’s instead of Pork Sausages (oh dear did I just say Pork?) and observe the Sabbath with the lights off, should that entitle me to my full quota of qualifying points seeing as I have shown an unbelievable commitment and observance to my faith?
What did Mr Forsyth use to say “What do points make”? “Prizes”! I’m afraid on this occasion the only prize is a booby prize.
There could be a case that this crazy ruling breaches people’s human rights. I learnt what it means to be Jewish from my Grandmother, she never forced her ideas on me or told me this is what you should do. I listened to her stories and observed her practices and respected her views. My grandmother survived World War II and the awful atrocities associated with those times and she will be turning in her grave on hearing this news.
How does any individual differentiate between one Jew and another? The answer is you can’t! I am no less of a Jew then the most ultra orthodox Jew in the World. Just because I don’t wear pious, a black hat and a black suit does that mean I am not considered Jewish by the bigwigs in the Court that made this crazy decision?
You can’t have different levels of Judaism, either you are Jewish or not. Because I choose not to attend synagogue it makes me no less of a Jew then someone who does. It just means that for me and my rightful beliefs I prefer not to go for a number of personal reasons. I do more for the Jewish community in other areas which are just as rewarding and satisfying.
Anthony Arnold, chair of Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue said once: "It's not really a religious practice test because it's not about practice. Going to synagogue once every fortnight or once a week is not a test. There's a lot more to Judaism than going to synagogue. The problem the schools faced was that at very short notice they had to devise something which related to practice and could be measured. But a lot of Judaism is about how you conduct yourself at home - how do you measure that?"
Precisely, how do you measure any of it?
Since 1 September 2009, attending synagogue twice a month in addition to festivals earns a child three points although this may have changed recently. Formal Jewish education – in a synagogue or with a tutor - is worth one point again this may have changed. Voluntary work in a charity or welfare organisation is worth one point.
However, the form warns that in the event that "it is discovered that a parent has submitted information above which is later found to be incorrect, this may result in the refusal of the school to offer a place to the child. If a place has already been offered on the basis of incorrect information, the school may withdraw the offer."
I honestly don’t see what all this is going to achieve other then cause people to turn their backs on the religion and produce further chinks in an already dying religion.
Even with families being forced to attend synagogue will it make them become more religious? Will it force them to embrace the Rabbi and want to spend every Friday night with him? Not a chance, in fact I believe it will have the reverse effect. Taking my son to synagogue becomes stressful by the end of a painful hour and to be perfectly honest is a complete and utter waste of his and my time.
Judaism is a religion, not a race. Being Jewish means different things to every Jew in the country, if anything, those that work in the Jewish community should define who qualifies and who doesn’t as they will have a far better understanding of what individuals contribute.
Then the crazy thing is even if you qualify for all your points there is still no guarantee that your child will get into a Jewish school. Then what?
Having faced persecution throughout history it now seems Jews are persecuting each other based on a Court ruling that apparently has no contention.
In a world that is extremely volatile at the moment shouldn’t the Jewish community religious, semi-religious and non-religious pull together and become one and find ways of working together in order to help every Jewsih family wanting a Jewish child to attend a Jewish school??
Personally, if I could afford a private education for my son I would run down that route and say to hell with all this nonsense, but unfortunately I won’t have that luxury (unless of course I win the lottery).