There’s not much detail over at the BBC, but this should prove interesting:
A parent who claims a Jewish school discriminated against her child on the grounds of race is taking her case to the High Court in London.
The parent in question is purported to be a convert to Judaism, as opposed to the orthodox principle of “halachically” Jewish; the principle that a person is not Jewish unless the mother is Jewish. It’s this principle that may well form the basis of the complaint:
The school follows the doctrine of the chief rabbi (of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth) who says that to be Jewish, one’s mother needs to have been born Jewish.
Poking around on the JFS website, the school is interesting given that it’s a voluntary aided school (meaning that it’s a faith school partly funded by the local government). Principally it’s a faith school, which means that children of Jewish parents are given priority over the children of parents of other faiths or of no faith. But on the other hand, it is – in particular – an orthodox Jewish school. The OFSTED report, from 2006, states:
JFS is an orthodox school and the Foundation Body is the United Synagogue. Its students are all hallachially Jewish
So there appears to be no disagreement that there is certainly a form of racial segregation being a school’s policy alongside it’s religious segregation. The irony, of course, is that the matter being debated is the religious status of the mother, and not the child: the child should surely be seen as having jewish parents as her mother is a jewish convert. Which really highlights the stupidity of religious schools. As much as I loathe religious schools, I’m really interested to see the outcome of this. If nothing else I hope it serves to highlight the lie that is being put forward by all “religious leaders” with a vested interest in “faith schools” that these schools aid community cohesion.
Of course, end public funding for religious schools and it wouldn’t even be an issue.