A group of rabbis from Stamford Hill have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, warning of growing “anger and anxiety” at the prospect of schools being forced to talk about same-sex relationships.
Making clear they could not compromise, they appealed to Mr Johnson to “allow us to continue to educate our children in keeping with our sacred traditions”.
While avoiding explicit mention of LGBT issues, they referred to “recent legislation”, meaning the new relationships and sex education curriculum that comes into force in September.
Under the new policy, children by the end of secondary school will be expected to know about the existence of same-sex relationships – although the topic will not be compulsory in primary schools.
The 17 rabbis, who are mostly associated with the conservative sections of the strictly Orthodox community and headed by the nonagenarian yeshivah head Rabbi Elyokim Schlesinger, called themselves the Rabbinical Committee of the Traditional Charedi Chinuch.
In a criticism of other representative efforts on behalf of Charedi schools, they said the government may have been given the impression that there was “somehow room for negotiations or compromises on the Orthodox Jewish education, altering even minutely, practices and lifestyles we have inherited from our previous generations…
“We have made it very clear, that we are obliged to follow by our Torah without changing anything whatsoever, and such individuals or organisations who indicate otherwise, do in no way represent our communities.”
They reported “a growing level of anxiety and anger amongst the thousands of parents whose children are pupils of our schools, and a strong feeling of dejection and grief among the school leaders and governors.
“These feelings are the result of the outrage felt over government pressure to make changes to the educational institutions that affect the very essence of our beliefs and practices."
Earlier this year the rabbinate of the broader-based Charedi education group Chinuch UK issued a statement to make clear that schools should not comply with any directive to talk openly about LGBT issues in class.