JFS

Top judges ask who is a Jew as JFS hits Supreme Court

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

Nine of the leading judges in England and Wales this week grappled with the fraught question of who is a Jew as the legal dispute over entry to JFS finally reached the highest secular court, the new Supreme Court.

A three-day hearing before a packed courtroom opened on Tuesday with far-reaching implications not only for other Jewish schools but potentially for those of some other faiths as well.

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JFS: refusal was ‘religion not race’

October 28, 2009

Britain's leading Jewish school has told the Supreme Court that it had discriminated against a boy of 12 on religious rather than racial grounds when it denied him a place.

A crowded court heard Lord Pannick QC, claim that the boy was refused because the chief rabbi deemed his mother's conversion to Judaism invalid.

JFS had double the number of applicants to places, so children whose mothers were recognised as Jewish were given priority. The boy, known as M, was refused entry because he did not fall into this category, said Lord Pannick, who is representing JFS.

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JFS to plead case at Supreme Court

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

The legal battle over entry to JFS will reach a climax next week when a three-day hearing begins at the new Supreme Court in London on Tuesday.

As many as nine of the 11 judges at the new court — which supersedes the House of Lords — are listed to hear the case, compared with the usual five for most cases.

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Equality watchdog in JFS fight

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

Britain’s equality watchdog has entered the legal battle over the admissions policy of Jewish schools.

The Supreme Court this week granted the Equalities and Human Rights Commission the right to be an intervener in the forthcoming appeal case, which will enable it to make submissions to the court.

JFS, the country’s largest Jewish school, is trying to reverse a decision by the Court of Appeal in June that it is unlawful to offer places on the basis of whether a child’s parent is Jewish.

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JFS: Supreme Court grants legal aid

By Simon Rocker, October 2, 2009

In its first ever judgment, Britain’s new Supreme Court has said that legal aid must continue to be available in the dispute over entry to JFS.

Until now, the Legal Services Commission has funded the father of the boy whose rejection by the school two years ago prompted the legal action.

But the LSC did not want to be liable for paying the costs of JFS and its foundation body, the United Synagogue, in the event that the father lost when the case comes to the Supreme Court later this month.

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Heads upset as JFS rejects their pupils

By Simon Rocker, October 1, 2009

Jewish primary school heads have voiced dismay that their pupils are not been given priority at JFS.

Vivienne Orloff, head of the Michael Sobell Sinai School, a United Synagogue primary which lies next door to JFS in Kenton, said it was “ridiculous” that children from Jewish primaries did not get preference. “It’s heartbreaking when you have the school on your doorstep. We want all our children to continue their education and what’s important is that the parents want them to.”

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JFS admits child of non-Orthodox convert

By Simon Rocker, September 10, 2009

JFS has accepted the child of a non-Orthodox-converted mother as a first-year pupil, despite its previous rejection of such children because they are not considered Jewish by the Chief Rabbi.

The Orthodox school, based in Kenton, north London, refused to admit any U-turn or say whether the decision had been taken because of a Court of Appeal ruling earlier this summer declaring its entry policy to be unlawful.

Russell Kett, chairman of JFS governors, said: “The school does not comment on individual applicants or students.”

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New points system for JFS entry

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

New rules published this week by JFS in Kenton, North London — and likely to be followed by other Jewish secondaries — will offer places on the basis of points scored for synagogue attendance and other observance.

Parents will also need a certificate signed by their rabbi or another community official to testify to religious practice — mirroring the procedure in some Catholic schools.

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JFS pupils make the grade with record A-level results

By Robyn Rosen, August 27, 2009

JFS has reported its best-ever A-level results with 78 of its 226 pupils achieving three or more A grades.

“Results of this calibre owe much to excellent and highly focused teaching, our outstanding home–school relationships and the caring guidance and support every student receives,” JFS head Jonathan Miller said.

Emily Goldblatt achieved five A grades and six others got four — Joshua Bellman, Abie Cohen, Greg Garfield, Mark Graham, Coren Lass and Shelley de Jong.

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Sacks sets ‘inclusive’ new school entry tests

By Simon Rocker, August 6, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks this week issued admission guidelines to Jewish schools in the wake of the JFS court ruling.

New entry rules, based on Jewish practice, should be “as inclusive as possible”, he said, following the Court of Appeal’s recent ruling that it was unlawful to pick pupils according to whether or not their parents were Jewish.

But the advice could prove academic, because the House of Lords — in one of its final legal decisions before the new Supreme Court takes over — agreed last Friday to hear an appeal from JFS against the Appeal Court ruling.

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