Sunday, July 05, 2009

Time to support JFS

As a former pupil of JFS in London, I was shocked to hear this week that the Court of Appeal decided that administration policy of JFS was racist.

JFS only accepts pupils that are deemed to be Jewish by Jewish law, when a child has a Jewish mother or has converted to Judaism under an orthodox Rabbi. This has always been the way that Judasim has recognised Jews. JFS, as a voluntary aided school, are therefore quite right to use this law, as determined by its Governing Body, to accept its pupils.

However, last week the schools admission policy and therefore Jewish law was deemed to be racist by a Court of Appeal Judge. I therefore urge the whole community to get behind JFS, one of the best schools in London, as it fights this decision all the way to the House of Lords.


Don't Call Me Dave said...


I’m sorry but you and the Chief Rabbi are both wrong on this one. The Appeal Court was not saying that the U.S. is racist. It was simply saying that the JFS policy was discriminatory.

This whole problem is entirely the fault of the U.S. because of its sheer bloody mindedness in refusing to countenance the rights and opinions of the progressive movement. If the U.S. wants to run a private school and operate its meshuganah admissions policy, then it has every right to do so. But JFS is a state school, funded by the taxpayer and, on this basis, it has to operate within the law of the land which, quite rightly, recognises Liberal and Reform Jews as being Jewish.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find that this judgment will be reversed by the House of Lords. The judgment is perverse because it requires JFS to admit non Jews.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

State funded faith schools are already required to accept a certain number of pupils from other faiths.

I would argue that it is more perverse that children who do not observe any Jewish customs, eat traife and may not even believe in God should have greater rights than children who do observe the customs and rituals but do not posses a piece of paper recognised by the United Synagogue.

All that has happened is that the Appeal Court has formally recognised that religion is determined by what is in your head and in your heart. said...


Jewish law has always stated that you are Jewish if you have a Jewish mother or have converted. JFS are just upholding their right to only accept students considered Jewish by Jewish law.

Jewish schools are only required to accept pupils of other faiths if they can not fill all their places. This is not currently a problem for JFS.

Don't Call Me Dave said...


The mother is Jewish. It is simply that JFS and the US do not recognise her conversion as it was not carried out under the auspices of the orthodox movement. If JFS want to run an orthodox only school, that is their right. But if they want to receive state funding, they should be required to accept anyone who is Jewish, however that is defined.

I am angered that the US would see a child denied a Jewish education to try and prove some hallachic point. I am a member of both United and Reform Shuls. I generally attend United. Recently our Rabbi invited a Muslim speaker to give the Shabbat sermon from the pulpit. It was a very interesting experience and I support the Rabbi for allowing it, but when I asked him if he would consider allowing a Reform Rabbi to address us, the request was met with a refusal. Inter faith dialogue is fine, but intra faith is not. At least, not in the eyes of the US.

Frankly, the world is not so over-run with Jews that the different movements can afford to constantly fight with each other. The JFS ruling is the natural consequence of the United Synagogue’s dogmatic and often antagonistic insistence that they, and they alone, are the arbiters of who is and who is not Jewish. The orthodox community is entitled to say “If you want to join our gang, these are our rules” but they have absolutely no right to impose their values and beliefs on the Progressive movement.

If I prayed in Church every week and had bacon & eggs for breakfast, the US would still recognise me as Jewish, but they seek to deny membership of our faith to people who are far more worthy than I will ever be.

Hila Peleg said...


Correct me if I'm wrong: JFS has Muslim and Christian pupils that attend the school because it is a fine school. They are admitted because of lineage. However, an aspiring pupil living in a Jewish home is shut out because of his mother being converted by a version of Judaism at odds with the Chief Rabbi. How is this upholding the definition of a Jewish school to you? It is just the school version of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Produce an ancestor, and you're in. That's the issue.

Lid said...

As a state school, the parents of those such as (Child M) who are brought the case to court are paying for JFS through their taxes. JFS should never have spent so much money on a case like this which could have been spent on Jewish education and other things to help the Jewish community.

Richard says "However, last week the schools admission policy and therefore Jewish law was deemed to be racist by a Court of Appeal Judge". The court does not have the purpose of judging Jewish law. The court believed that JFS could take on those who are not considered Jewish but who are interested in Judaism. The court views Jewish schools differently and believes it's purpose is not to educate only those who are considered Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Unlike other Orthodox Schools (Like Hasmo), which have proper criteria (Shomer Shabbat) that are the analogues with Orthodox Judaism and therefore more acceptable to the State, JFS actually refers to itself as an Orthodox Jewish School, which is fundamentally untrue in every sense of the meaning and the thrust is essentially ethnic, secular Jewish. If JFS had proper criteria then they would't be in the hot water. If Parents want a Ethnic Based Hashkalah-thrust school, then they can fund it out of their own pockets, send their kids to State Schools or simply do teshuva and frum up. JFS is the barometer of United Synagogue hypocrisy and the Chief Rabbi hasn't got a leg to stand on. Hopefully the School will correct itself before it is too late. It's either Orthodox or Reform. Don't see why Taxpayers should have to fund a Ethnic, Fake Ortho. J School which hides behind Torat Emet.