'Our children's education is our choice' say Charedi protestors against Schools Bill

Strictly Orthodox protestors once again took to the streets to criticise legislation that would regulate yeshivot


Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community gather in Parliament Square to protest against the Department for Education to raise awareness of the Schools Bill currently being prepared in Parliament whcih seeks to introduce changes the fundiments of religious education. 07th September 2022, London, UK PHOTO:JEFF GILBERT

Charedi Jews from communities as far away as Manchester today protested outside Parliament, voicing their opposition to a proposed education bill that would regulate yeshivot and make them teach some secular subjects.

The law, which is currently waiting to be debated in the third reading in the House of Lords, attempts to regulate education in England and seeks to standardise the quality of education to ensure that fringe groups do not get left behind.

Charedi communities claim the bill would infringe upon their democratic right to choose the best education for their children.

Rabbi Chaim Sofer from Stamford Hill said: “We wish Prime Minister Truss all the best and much success, and her new Education Secretary Kit Malthouse as well. But we Jews have been around for 3000 years, far older than any institution or country around today, and that is only because we have a certain way of raising our children. This bill for us represents a real and tangible intrusion into our traditions.”

Up to 1,500 boys from the age of 13 to 16 are currently thought to be educated in unregistered yeshivot in Stamford Hill alone. The government’s Schools Bill is designed to treat such institutions as independent schools, which would compel them to teach some secular subjects as well as comply with requirements for relationships and sex education. They would also be subject to inspections from Ofsted.

Abraham, 41, who travelled two hours on a bus to attend the demonstration, told the JC: “We are all here today, though there might be slight variations in our communities and dress code, because our parents taught us this way to dress and behave, and their parents taught them, and so on for three thousand years. The responsibility for our children’s education is ours and ours alone.”

Rabbi Yoseph, who helped to organise the demonstration, said: “This bill reeks of antisemitism. The government cannot tolerate Orthodox Jews in the country who properly educate their children and raise them with strong morals and high standards. We will return to this square and return again until this evil bill is utterly destroyed.”

Through a megaphone one man read from a prepared speech: “Legal attempts to change our educational system would constitute an intolerable and unforgivable infringement of the religious tolerance of which Britain is justly proud. We appeal to Her Majesty’s Government to allow the Charedi community to carry on living freely in the United Kingdom without restrictions and obstacles, in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual understanding, as it has done for generations.”

Rabbi Erlanger, 45, said: “To the Charedi community, education does not come second or third, it comes first. Education is who we are; it is ingrained in our very being from a young age. You cannot take that away from us.”

Charedi protests over the Schools Bill have been ongoing for months. In June, Hundreds of members of Stamford Hill’s Chasidic community protested outside Parliament warning they will leave Britain if the government goes ahead with plans to regulate yeshivot.

This was followed by a controversial demonstration in July where Chasidic protestors donned yellow Magen Davids on their clothes, and compared the UK government to Nazis.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive