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Orthodox schools lobby group hit by trustee resignations

Two trustees have resigned from the National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools, while a number of schools have said it does not represent

    Rabbi Avrohom Pinter has resigned from Najos
    Rabbi Avrohom Pinter has resigned from Najos

    A number of schools have asked the National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools (Najos) to remove their names from its website, saying it does not represent them.

    In a separate development, two Najos trustees have resigned over the past fortnight, philanthropist Benjamin Perl and Rabbi Avrohom Pinter,  principal of the state-aided Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Hackney.

    Najos was founded by Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag of Manchester to represent schools whose Jewish ethos lay to the right of the United Synagogue.

    Its website lists predominantly Charedi schools but has included a few in the central Orthodox community, such as Sacks Morasha and Naima JPS.

    But the JC has learned that Sacks Morasha, Naima JPS and Hasmonean High School have recently made clear to Najos it does not act for them.

    Etz Chaim, the central Orthodox primary school in Mill Hill, has also asked for its name to be deleted from the website —  although this possibly refers to another, Charedi school of the same name in Manchester. 

    Najos has not responded to requests to comment and its website has been "temporarily suspended" for several days.

    Rabbi Pinter, whose Chasidic school lies on the religious right, complained in an email to Najos he had “not been invited to trustee meetings or consulted about the charity’s actions”.

    He had also “lost confidence in the direction taken by Najos leadership and the tactics they are employing, and it is therefore no longer appropriate for me to act as a trustee.”

    He was suspending his school’s Najos membership, he said.

    Najos has become more vocal in its advocacy on behalf of Orthodox education as new legislation and Ofsted policy has increasingly presented challenges for Jewish schools.

    But it is only one of several Jewish organisations lobbying for schools which include the Board of Deputies, Partnerships for Jewish Schools (Pajes) — the Jewish Leadership Council’s educational division — and, to the right of Najos, the Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools.

     An anonymous leaflet circulating on social media last week accused Pajes of trying to “muscle in on representing schools in government”.

    Pointing out the JLC included non-Orthodox groups, it suggested, Orthodox schools should “question, if not sever any tie they may have” with Pajes. 

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