(June 15, 2022 / JNS) A group of rabbis in the United Kingdom gathered outside British Parliament on Wednesday to protest a proposed school bill that is being described as “a threat to alter fundamental facets of Jewish practice.”
Schools Bill 2022 would require yeshivahs, which are currently not defined as schools in the United Kingdom, to register with the Department for Education, teach secular subjects and be subjected to inspections from Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
Schools that do not comply would be forced to close.
The Rabbinical Committee of the Traditional Charedi Chinuch said in a press release on Monday that the bill “seeks to interfere” the religious life “by assimilating them into the lifestyle of the majority.”
The committee also said the legislation would require them “to teach secular teachings in a manner that is in direct contradiction to their religious beliefs, thereby violating the rights of parents and their children to practice their religion.”
Roughly 2,000 members of the Orthodox community attended a meeting in Stamford Hill on May 30 to protest the legislation.
Rabbi Asher Gratt, a community activist who has been promoting religious and educational causes for 50 years, said in a press release that the bill “amounts to a decree of expulsion from Great Britain for haredi Jews,” as the Department of Education, “admitted in its Equalities Impact Assessment that the outcome of amending the definition of independent educational institutions will possibly result in persons of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith ‘sending their children abroad.’ ”
He also wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi that education is “the essential part in preserving the knowledge of Torah and Jewish law to ensure that our principal fundamentals live on without dilution or distraction. Our schools and yeshivahs play a critical role in serving the community and educating the next generation.”
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