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Swedish Court Rules Home Schooling OK for Chabad Children

A Swedish court has ruled that Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries have the right to educate their children at home.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 10/22/2012, 5:33 PM

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Israel news photo: Flash 90

A Swedish court has ruled that Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries have the right to educate their children at home. The unanimous decision of the appellate court on October 17 came in response to a lawsuit fining the family for home schooling their children.

Rabbi Alexander and Leah Namdar appealed a ruling one year ago that attempted to force them to send their children to public school in the Scandinavian nation.

In its nine-page verdict, the court ruled that the “government is deciding that the recent change to the law [that religion is not regarded as a valid reason] cannot stand in contravention to Sweden's international obligation” to protect the religious freedoms of its citizens.

The court also recognized that the Namdars, who are both educators, have been providing their children with a "very satisfactory alternative" (through the International Shluchim Online School and private lessons) to standard Swedish schools while meeting their religious needs, Lubavitch.com reported.

The International Shluchim Online School provides an educational alternative, via the Internet, for the children of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who are living in the far-flung corners of the world and who are unable to access the traditional forms of education that would generally be available to their peers. 

“We are gratified by the decision of the Swedish courts in the case concerning the right of our Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in Sweden to provide their children with an education in accordance with their faith,” said Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the Educational and Social Services Division of Chabad-Lubavitch in a statement following the ruling.

“The court’s decision, confirming that Sweden will uphold the fundamental values of religious freedom and human rights of citizens, could have far-reaching ramifications. It is a manifestation of the responsibility of government to protect and cherish these values so vital to life and society.

“Our representatives, Rabbi Alexander and Leah Namder, who have made Sweden their home, have been serving the country’s Jewish community with a passion for Jewish education, teaching and sharing selflessly for more than 20 years. We trust and pray that with this verdict, they will be enabled to make even greater strides in their educational outreach activities," Krinsky added.