JFS: Board seeks equality bill redraft

By Leon Symons, July 20, 2009

The Board of Deputies has launched a two-pronged strategy in the wake of the Court of Appeal’s decision that the admissions policy operated by JFS broke the Race Relations Act.

Deputies at Sunday’s plenary meeting in central London were told that if JFS decides to seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords or the Supreme Court, which may be dealing with such matters, the Board will intervene as a friend of the Court to give it guidance on “who is a Jew”.


IDF accused by own soldiers

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

A new report alleging that IDF soldiers carried out war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead includes testimony from soldiers who claim that their units used human shields , a practice banned by the Israeli Supreme Court, while searching Palestinian homes.

The report, by the human rights group Breaking the Silence, is based on interviews with 30 soldiers.

The organisation is run by IDF veterans and it bases its evidence only on soldiers who claim to have witnessed the events.


It's not for us to play God

By Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, July 16, 2009

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, minister of one of the largest congregations, Finchley, told the US Council that rabbis were “deeply concerned” about the possible consequences of the JFS court ruling on Jewish schools.

He had himself once been a chairman of governors of a Jewish school when he had “inherited a situation.The previous authorities had accepted children who were not halachically Jewish.


US pledges to challenge court decision on JFS

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

There are “good prospects” of reversing the Court of Appeal ruling on Jewish schools, Simon Hochhauser, the president of the United Synagogue, declared this week.

He told an unusually well-attended meeting of the US Council on Monday: “It is the view of our legal advisers… if this case does get to the House of Lords, it has good prospects of being overturned.”

The Court of Appeal has now ordered JFS to reconsider whether to give a place to a 13-year old boy who was originally rejected two years ago.


JFS boy must be 'reconsidered'

By Simon Rocker, July 10, 2009

JFS has been told it must reconsider admitting the boy at the centre of the recent court case.

The Court of Appeal ordered the school to think again about offering a place to the boy, known as M, who was originally refused entry two years because his mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

Two weeks ago the court ruled that the school’s entry policy as unlawful, because allowing entry on the basis of whether a parent is Jewish contravenes the Race Relations Act.


JFS Questions and (some) Answers

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

What did the court say?

The Court of Appeal ruled that it was against the Race Relations Act for Jewish schools to select pupils according to whether a parent was Jewish or not.

The case had been brought on behalf of a boy who was rejected by JFS in north London two years ago because his mother had been converted by a non-Orthodox rabbi and was not considered Jewish by the Office of the Chief Rabbi.
Under the law, schools can give places on the basis of religion, but not of race. JFS argued that its decision to refuse a place to the boy was religiously motivated.


JFS: Your views - Rights and wrongs of 'racist' ruling

July 9, 2009

Test of birth is a religious, not racist, one

The Lords Justices are right to point out that race is a product of birth and that any discrimination on that basis falls within the definition of the Race Relations Act. But it does not follow that every selection which is based on birth is necessarily racial. Nationality, royalty and religion also use birth as their entry point and classification so that, for example, a child born to a British or American parent obtains British or American nationality.


Who is a Jew? The debate rages

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

Angry parents whose children are ineligible for Orthodox schools have spoken out, reigniting the debate over who is a Jew.

David Gryn, son of the late Reform leader, Rabbi Hugo Gryn, described the exclusion of children of Progressive converts from schools as an “evil”.

Another parent, who wished to be known as Karen, said that she was the daughter of a Reform convert and had attended JFS herself, but her son has been denied the chance. She said that such children were being treated “like someone with an infectious disease that no-one wants to go near”.


JFS ruling leaves schools in 'chaos'

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

The Court of Appeal’s ruling that it is unlawful to admit children on the basis of a parent’s Jewish status “has thrown our admissions policy into chaos”, according to Jonathan Arkush, senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies.

He told a meeting for Jewish schools on Wednesday night that there will be a “flood of admissions appeals”.

With the court order on how the judgment will apply not due out until today, schools have been left in the dark over when they will have to introduce new rules and how those places already allocated for this September will be affected.


JFS: Tell us your story

By Jessica Elgot, July 6, 2009

Did you go to JFS in the seventies - before regulations were changed regarding pupils' Jewish status?

If so, we want to hear from you. Perhaps you were eligible to attend the school but your children today might not be.

Contact us and tell us your story on editorial@thejc.com

The debate has continued on the JC's pages, on the web and in your letters, and here are some of your early reactions.