Bindmans and Blackstone win Supreme Court victory in Jewish school case

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  • What astonishes me is that this ever made it that far. Had the position been reversed: "I'm sorry, your son can't come to our school because his mother IS [insert religion/ethnicity here]" there would, quite rightly, have been street riots and at least 1 hastily fired admissions offier.

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  • "Jewish by birth"....what a riduculous notion! While children may be born into a religion, they are not born with religion....when they enter this world, they do so as perfect little atheists.

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  • Hang on, anonymous! My grandson whose mother is Jewish wasn't accepted by his local Church School for that reason. I don't remember any riots or dismissals or, indeed, court cases

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  • his school should take any kid as well all pay tax and it's that tax that payes for the school

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  • This case need never have arisen had the Offices of The Chief Rabbi accepted a pluralistic approach in relation to the various denominations in the religion. Any person who knows this school is aware that there are many levels of observance amongst its pupils and their parents and differing backgrounds. By insisting that children, the offspring of non United Synagogue conversions, were excluded meant the school, its governors and the United Synagogue movement were on a slippery slope. It is irrelevant to state that "3,500 years of religious life has been swept away". The issue was neither matrilineal descent or race it was simply a schools statute that discriminated against individuals who were earnest and sincere but did not conform to an arbitrary set of criteria.
    I have, as you can guess, no sympathy for the United Synagogue or the Office of The Chief Rabbi. A more robust leadership would never have allowed this scenario to have developed.

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  • Anonymous (4:14, 17 Dec) demonstrates his/her ignorance of Judaism, which has always had an "ethnic" component (to use the language in the case), regardless of the level of religious observance or even belief - the fact is that it is not neccessary to believe in order to be considered Jewish (the Nazis certainly didn't make belief a qualification requirement for its policies). The fact that this does not accord with anonymous' world view or the wording of the Race Relations Act merely shows that the decision and the ideas reflected in the Act are based on a Christian notion of faith, and that is surely inherently discriminatory?

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  • I am of the Jewish faith, I was brought up in a very traditional orthodox manner, even though my mother converted (magired) through Reform Judaism. I was never refused entry to nursery, junior, or secondary school because of my ethnic makeup (and that was back in the late 70's early 80's) and I find it abhorrent in these modern times that this school could uphold such outdated beliefs. Based on the views and beliefs of halachic Judaism I would be considered "non-Jewish" yet I had my Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall (with full traditional ceremony, tefillin and nothing Reform about it other than the Rabbi and the fact that I am technically Reform). I am proud of my parents and I applaud the boy’s father for pursuing this, although I doubt it will ever change the matrilineal requirement. Although I am no expert on this, I do believe it was once through the father's blood line that a child was considered Jewish, but was changed to the mother, since there was no way of tracing absent father’s ethnicity! When all is said and done, it's bad enough having anti-semitism in the world, without Jewish people fighting amongst themselves in this way, over a school's selection criteria, bringing a wider awareness of the view of Jewish ethnicity by the JFS and United Synagogue into focus. Without knowing the family, at the end of the day is the boy any less Jewish than his other class mates. I think not.

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  • Anon 18 Dec 2009 at 2.01, .....how can it be ethnic....it is religion and culture....if it was ethnic, then where did the first jew come from? For someone to perceive you as Jewish you do not need to believe.....but then, you don't need to believe in Christianity to be perceived as a Christian.

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  • the article is inaccurate and misleading. JFS's entry policy gave priority to kids that were Jewish by the orthodox definition; that could be by birth or via their own or their mother's conversion by an orthodox Jewish legal authority. the current issue arose regarding conversions performed by a non-recognised authority. so the discrimination wasn't against converts per se- rather against converts whose conversions were performed by the wrong guys.

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  • Anon 18 Dec 2009 at 2.01, .....how can it be ethnic....it is religion and culture....if it was ethnic, then where did the first jew come from? For someone to perceive you as Jewish you do not need to believe.....but then, you don't need to believe in Christianity to be perceived as a Christian.

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