Demands by the British government that Orthodox Jewish schools in the United Kingdom conform with educational requirements, including the teaching about same-sex marriage, pose an existential threat to the observant Jewish community in Britain, a senior haredi leader warned.
In recent years, Britain’s Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services, and Schools (Ofsted) has demanded that Jewish religious schools include instruction on same-sex marriage and “sexual orientation” issues.
Ofsted has threatened the closure of schools which are not in compliance of the 2010 “Equality Act”, which requires schools to teach “about protected characteristics” including sexual orientation and “gender re-assignment”.
Anti-religious organizations like “Humanists UK” have joined the campaign against Orthodox Jewish schools, filing protests with Ofsted against institutions for removing references to homosexuality and abortion in state-issued textbooks.
The efforts to compel Jewish schools to teach about subjects fundamentally against their core values are tantamount to an “eviction notice” for members of the Orthodox community, Rabbi Aaron Klein warned in a piece in Hamodia.
Rabbi Klein, the director of the Belz Hassidic community’s educational institutions in London, urged local Jews to protest government plans to take action against schools which do not comply with Ofsted’s guidelines regarding the Equality Act.
“If we do not speak up and the draft is not amended to accommodate our needs, then there is no future for the Orthodox community in modern Britain and the document effectively acts as an eviction notice to our community,” wrote Rabbi Klein.
According to a report by The JC, the UK’s Education Department is expected to strengthen regulations regarding mandatory education on same-sex relationships and gender re-assignment.
If adopted, the new requirements could mean that “a school that does not teach a syllabus that includes totally alien, atheistic values could be summarily closed,” Rabbi Klein continued.
“Ironically, the proposed standards attempt to promote tolerance and respect for some elements of society, while being completely intolerant and disrespectful of our community and our religious principles.”