Will secular org dictate London Jewish school's curriculum?

Orthodox Jewish school in UK says campaign to force school to teach about homosexuals, abortion, and smoking driven by 'anti-Jewish agenda'.

David Rosenberg,

London
London
Thinkstock

An Orthodox Jewish school in Britain has accused an anti-religious organization of pursuing an “anti-Jewish agenda”, after the group petitioned authorities to force the school to teach subjects deemed inappropriate for the school’s haredi student body.

The organization Humanists UK, a staunchly atheistic organization which opposes the operation of religious schools in Great Britain, has called on local authorities to penalize the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in London for what the organization termed ‘censorship’ of subjects like homosexuality and abortion.

According to the group’s website, Humanists UK backs an end to all religious schools, advocating for “a shared environment, rather than separated [schooling] according to the religious beliefs of [students’] parents.”

Yesodey Hatorah, founded in 1942, is a haredi private which receives some funding from the government while retaining a large degree of autonomy – what is termed in Britain a voluntary aided school.

Humanists UK has slammed Yesodey Hatorah after it found that the school had transmogrified references to homosexual victims of the Holocaust in state-issued history textbooks. The organization also blasted the school for censoring sections regarding modern Western society, including legalized abortion.

Humanists UK education manager Jay Harman argued that it was “simply not acceptable for a state-funded school to take such a censorious, homophobic and misogynistic approach to education,” The JC reported.

Britain’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) is investigating Humanists UK’s charges against Yesodey Hatorah.

In response, the school has accused Humanists UK of targeting the school because of an “anti-Jewish agenda”.

“We are concerned that OFSTED continuously jumps to the tune of small pressure groups like the humanists and the National Secular Society that have a very clear anti-Jewish agenda,” a school spokesperson said.

“Their current noisy campaigns against circumcision, shechita [ritual slaughter], Jewish schools, housing and respecting the dead make it clear that the humanists’ idea of a modern Britain is one that is free of observant Jews.”

“This policy has nothing to do homophobia or misogyny but is to protect our girls from sexualisation in line with our parents’ wishes and religious beliefs.”








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