JFS

Liberal Judaism has sought to build a policy of inclusion

By Danny Rich, July 2, 2009

Liberal Judaism has long and consistently argued that Judaism is primarily transmitted culturally and through example and influence. That transmission, which frequently happens to children in families, but may happen to adults too, is perhaps best described as one of Jewish education in its broadest sense.

This education equips the Jew with a sense of identity and commitment which is forged by an encounter with Jewish beliefs, values, attitudes and ideals, and an immersion into Jewish practice and Jewish mores.

More..

A bad ruling at a bad time: To confuse religion and race is a mistake.

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, July 2, 2009

The learned judges who ruled last week that the admission procedures of the JFS were in breach of the Race Relations Act clearly did not wish to claim that Judaism is racist. Yet, by one of the great ironies of our time, a law, intended to protect Jews from racism, has now been used against them.

Since the days of Abraham and Moses, Jews have been commanded to educate their children and thus hand on their faith across the generations. We are the people who predicated our survival on education, the first in history to create a universal system of schooling.

More..

Jews are not a race; but then again, no one else is either, race is a social construct

By Tony Kushner, July 2, 2009

Since the 1930s, Jews in Britain have sought some protection from the state against discrimination and libel.

Such moves reflected the rise of political antisemitism and wider social prejudice.

In the 1950s, with the growth of new Commonwealth immigration, there was a revival in support for anti-racist measures, but politicians and the state rejected them as being against the laissez-faire approach then adopted to “race relations”.

More..

JFS: How it happened

July 2, 2009

The parent who sparked the case speaks out for the first time

We are delighted and relieved that this most unpleasant wrong has been corrected by the three Appeal Court judges, and that justice is starting to be done.

It is a great shame that my son and I had to pursue this case through the courts. We would have much preferred to reach a fair settlement with the school to revise its policy for the benefit of the whole Jewish community. Unfortunately, that has not been possible.

More..

JFS: What happened?

By Simon Rocker, July 2, 2009

In 2007, an 11-year-old boy was refused a place at JFS because his mother was a non-Orthodox convert and, therefore, not Jewish according to the Chief Rabbi’s Office.

Schools are permitted to give preference to children on the basis of religion, but not of ethnic origin.

When the boy’s father went to the High Court last year, the judge said that JFS had made its decision on religious grounds.

But the Court of Appeal ruled that deciding entry on the basis of a parent’s Jewish status involved ethnicity and so was unlawful.

More..

JFS: What's next?

By Simon Rocker, July 2, 2009

JFS: IN DEPTH

The Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks this week called for community-wide support to challenge a court judgment which he said has effectively branded Judaism as “racist”.

Writing in today’s JC, he said: “We must join together” to contest last week’s Court of Appeal ruling that, under race relations law, Jewish schools cannot award places on the basis of whether the child’s mother is Jewish.

More..

JFS: The debate heats up

By Jessica Elgot, June 30, 2009

The Court of Appeal ruling that JFS was in breach of the Race Relations Act for its admission code has stirred deep feeling.

It was a landmark decision which could change the course of Jewish education in Britain.

And when our Judaism editor, Simon Rocker wrote a blog on the subject, your comments came thick and fast.

Here’s a sample:

It's breathtaking. Cannot a religious institution decide for itself who qualifies as a member of that religion?

More..

JFS chair: ‘Schools will not fill places in 2010’

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The chair of governors of Britain’s biggest Jewish comprehensive has predicted that waiting lists for places in London’s three mainstream state secondaries will disappear next year, when the Jewish Community Secondary School opens in Barnet.

JFS chair Russell Kett believes “at least one, if not all three of the schools will be seriously affected as a result of the opening of JCoSS”.

More..

JFS entry policy is challenged

By Simon Rocker, February 26, 2009

A legal battle over the right of Jewish schools to define who is a Jew is to be heard by the Court of Appeal.

The case is being brought on behalf of a boy known as “M”, who was turned down by the JFS Comprehensive in Kenton, north London in September 2007 because his mother is a Progressive convert.

After a four-day hearing in March last year, Mr Justice Munby upheld the United Synagogue school’s right to reject applicants who do not meet the Orthodox definition of Jewish status.

He ruled that its entry policy did not breach race relations law.

More..

JFS bus-abuse teen will have an Asbo until 2014

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

A teenager who verbally abused a group of Jewish children as they travelled home from school has been given a five-year antisocial behaviour order.

It bans the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from using the north-west London bus route on which the incident took place in November last year.

Last week, Hendon Magistrates’ Court imposed a series of restrictions on the youth’s movements in the London borough of Barnet.

More..