JFS

New chair of governors for JFS

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

The new JFS chair of governors is accountant Michael Glass, 47, a foundation governor at the Kenton school since 2006 and vice-chairman for a year.

“I think it’s a very exciting challenge,” the Edgware resident said. “It’s time to move forward and concentrate on the academic elements and Jewish studies progression.”

He has two children, aged 13 and 16, who are currently JFS pupils and a third who finished last year.

Outgoing governors’ chair Russell Kett said the Supreme Court decision on JFS admissions was the “lowlight” of his tenure.

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US rabbis squabble over JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 21, 2010

Arguments among United Synagogue rabbis over the JFS court case escalated this week as senior ministers dug in their heels against concessions to the non-Orthodox.

Writing to US lay leaders, the rabbis said they were “troubled” by the position advocated in last week’s JC by the joint vice-chairmen of the US Rabbinical Council (RCUS), Rabbis Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer.

They had called for co-operation with non-Orthodox bodies over any move to change the law in order to reverse the recent Supreme Court judgment on Jewish school admissions.

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Synagogue links 'don't guarantee school place'

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2010

Jewish schools have been warned by the body which scrutinises the admissions policies of state schools that there could be problems in accepting pupils according to synagogue membership.

Elizabeth Passmore, the Schools Adjudicator, said that, because shuls charged fees for membership, schools could be breaking the government’s admissions code which banned offering places according to financial means.

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Angry US rabbis divided over JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2010

The fallout from the JFS court case continued this week with a split emerging among United Synagogue rabbis.

A statement from the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue (RCUS) which last week attacked non-Orthodox movements over the case has been denounced as “misguided” and “aggressive” by the council’s own vice-chairmen.

Writing in today’s JC, Rabbis Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer have instead called for “all denonimations” to work together in order to reverse the Supreme Court’s judgment through a change in the law.

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Q&A on JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 7, 2010

Why did the Board of Deputies want to amend the Equality Bill to overturn the Supreme Court judgement on Jewish school admissions?

The Supreme Court ruled that Jewish schools can no longer admit children simply on the basis of whether their parents are Jewish. This is because Jews are considered by law as an ethnic group (like Sikhs, but not Christians or Muslims) and to choose children according to parental descent is a matter of ethnic origin, therefore a case of racial discrimination.

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JFS fight collapses as Board retreats

By Simon Rocker, January 7, 2010

Jewish leaders this week dramatically dropped plans to press for a change in the law to overturn the recent Supreme Court decision on Jewish school admissions.

On Tuesday the Board of Deputies called off a meeting planned for the next day with synagogue leaders, which was to have discussed introducing an amendment to the government’s Equality Bill.

Vivian Wineman, president of the Board, said that there was widespread agreement that it was better not to go immediately for legislative change in case it produced “unintended consequences”.

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Limmud: The JFS debate

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

The first public debate on the Supreme Court ruling that JFS broke the Race Relations Act has been held at the Limmud Conference and showed that the gulf dividing Anglo-Jewry over the issue might have closed a fraction.

Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, declared that his organisation would be implacably opposed to any attempt by the Board of Deputies to try to engineer changes to the governments proposed Equality Bill that would return JFSs admissions policy to what it was before the court saga.

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Analysis: No reason to think a consensus is at hand

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2009

When, two years ago, an 11-year-old boy was rejected by Europe’s largest Jewish school, no one would have foreseen the consequences: three court hearings costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, the interference of the secular authorities in the affairs of a religious minority, and the forced overhaul of entry polices which had served Jewish schools for decades.

But the roots of the JFS conflict lie outside this country: they are part of a global battle over the definition of who is a Jew which has been gradually heating up in the post-war years and may well become fiercer yet.

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Convert challenge to Chief after JFS

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2009

The Board of Deputies faces an uphill battle to secure non-Orthodox support for a change in the law in order to override last week’s Supreme Court judgment on Jewish school admissions.

The Liberal, Masorti and Reform movements have all indicated that their support for any change to the Equality Bill, currently going through Parliament, will be conditional on their converts being accepted into mainstream Orthodox schools.

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In defeat, JFS still won't learn

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 22, 2009

I was not surprised at the judgment of the Supreme Court that — in initially rejecting the application made on behalf of the child “M”— JFS and its religious authority, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, had contravened the 1976 Race Relations Act.

It has to be said at the outset that the advocacy of the counsel representing “M”, Dinah Rose QC, was brilliant. Calmly and methodically, Ms Rose demolished the disingenuous arguments put forward by Lord Pannick on behalf of JFS.

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