Supreme issues

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  • I am a Jewish lawyer with one child at a Jewish school and another due to join next year. I cannot overstate what chaos and upset the Court of Appeal decision has brought to this year's admission. It only emphasises that law and religion do not mix. Unless the Supreme Court overturn the decision there will be a slew of follow on disputes from all corners over the strange new admissions criteria that have been rushed into action.

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  • Well, Anonymous, I am also a Jewish lawyer whose children were refused admission to Jewish school although we are an observant family, because their grandmother was not of Jewish descent. Meanwhile, the school has accepted children from atheist families whose mothers happened to be born Jewish. I am sorry that you feel that the Court of Appeal caused chaos and upset. Those families who have suffered for many years from the unfair and discriminatory policies of JFS would strongly disagree: the chaos and upset long pre-dated the Court of Appeal. They just did not affect you.
    The tragedy is that the community brought this case on itself, because of the intolerance of the orthodox authorities.

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  • As a Jewish future lawyer, I see a couple of problems.
    Firstly, JFS is effectively a secular school for Jewish pupils. You don't get cases like this about Hasmo because no non-orthodox people would send their children there.
    Secondly, everyone - possibly including the barristers and judges - has so far failed to realise that the mother's status is not actually relevant. If the mother is non-Jewish, it means the child needs to convert. Especially for young children, it takes a lot less time for a child to convert than an adult. The question isn't whether the mother's Jewish - it's whether the child is.
    Thirdly, it's not about intolerance. Either you're Jewish or you're not. If not, can you really claim it's "intolerant" to say so? As I mentioned above, although Orthodox conversion is arduous, it is a way of curing the problem. Essentially what this comes down to is that some people who everyone agrees fail the Halachic test of Jewishness can't be bothered to cure that in the approved manner.

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