Gove to Board: How can we fix JFS case?

By Leon Symons, February 25, 2010

Shadow education spokesman Michael Gove has thrown down the gauntlet to the Jewish community over the Supreme Court ruling on JFS admissions.

Guest speaker at Sunday's Board of Deputies meeting in central London, he posed a question to delegates in the event of a Tory administration.

"Tell me what you think we as a government should do to remove the allegation of prejudice against a school that has done such a wonderful job and what we can do to ensure faith schools can carry on doing the fantastic job they do?"

He said it was "quite wrong that the state should take to itself those powers which are actually those of the religion", which had been in existence for thousands of years.

Mr Gove also offered a piece of advice - speak with one voice. Although it was a "tough challenge" for a religiously diverse community, "the critical thing is you need to stand together. You need to ensure that all Jewish faith schools are defended and you need to speak with a clear and united voice on behalf of those who have benefited in the past and those who will benefit in the future from a fantastic education."

‘Party in the square’ will launch 250th celebrations

Lavishing praise on the community's secondary schools, he said the success they enjoyed should be held up as model for others.

Also at the meeting, treasurer Laurence Brass unveiled plans for the Board's 250th anniversary year, with celebrations planned in communities all over the country.

The celebrations will start after the June plenary meeting with a party in the square outside the Board's Bloomsbury offices, funded by a bequest from the late deputy, Gertrude "Ascot hats" Shilling. They will culminate with a president's dinner which Mr Brass broadly hinted would have royal support: "I've no-ticed one or two honorary officers practising their curtseying."

Israeli photographer Yoav Galai has been commissioned by the Board to spend three months following the everyday lives of eight to 12 people representing a cross-section of religious observance. A resulting photographic exhibition will tour regional centres.

Other celebratory activities will include services at Bevis Marks and West London Synagogue and a commemorative postage stamp and first day cover.

Last updated: 4:38pm, February 25 2010