JFS: How it happened

The father who sparked the case speaks out for the first time, exclusively to Simon Rocker


The parent who sparked the case speaks out for the first time

We are delighted and relieved that this most unpleasant wrong has been corrected by the three Appeal Court judges, and that justice is starting to be done.

It is a great shame that my son and I had to pursue this case through the courts. We would have much preferred to reach a fair settlement with the school to revise its policy for the benefit of the whole Jewish community. Unfortunately, that has not been possible.

My son has very much wanted to go to JFS throughout. It is much better suited to his Jewish beliefs, commitments, involvement and needs, as well as his academic ability. It has been difficult to be kept from the school and culture best suited to him when others he knows have been freely admitted. He cannot wear his kippah, for example, at his present school because of teasing and the absence of Jewish pupils. He has to his credit made the best of it and never disparages the school, for which I am grateful.

He still very much wants to go to JFS and is hoping to start soon. He has been extremely patient and I fully support him. There is no other way for him to receive the Jewish secondary education he wants.

I believe all Jewish parents who wish to support their children’s education and development will be able to empathise.

After waiting two years, further delay on JFS’s part in offering a place would be both unfair and unjust. One would hope the school would show themselves to be big enough to do the decent thing and admit him now while they sort out the problem with their admissions criteria. Whatever happens, I am proud to say his character is such that he will make the best of things until justice is done.

As so many rabbis and parents have said, I think it is very wrong of the school or its rigid authority to do this to so many good, observant Jewish children.

After all our people have been through, it is disconcerting that of all institutions these should spend so much money attempting to evade the consequences of the anti-discrimination laws which have protected our people. Indeed, where would the Jewish people be now if others were allowed to do so?

Unfortunately, since the school was inflexible, we had no alternative but to pursue this case.

Rather than wasting money on litigation that should in our tradition be used to help others, I believe these two institutions should invest in the education and improvement of our children’s lives, to become a beacon of care and concern to the community.

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