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Borehamwood and
Elstree Synagogue

 


 

Supreme Court Judgement - December 2009

By the narrowest of margins (5 to 4) the UK Supreme Court has found against the JFS and held that its admissions criteria were directly racially discriminatory.

However, Lord Rodger made the point that the decision of the majority "leads to such extraordinary results, and produces such manifest discrimination against Jewish schools in comparison with other faith schools, that one canít help feeling that something has gone wrong".

Indeed, the vast majority of the Justices expressed the view that the law may be wrong! To that end we are engaging with the Board of Deputies to see whether further action can be taken on that front.

All of the Justices went out of their way to make it clear that the admissions policy was not "racist", and that the Chief Rabbi, the US and the JFS acted with great sincerity, and are entirely free from moral blame.

The Future

As far as the future is concerned, the schools in conjunction with the United Synagogue and local Synagogues are considering refinements to the current religious practice test, although, as Lord Rodger also said, "Jewish schools will be forced to apply a concocted test for deciding who is to be admitted. That test might appeal to this secular court but it has no basis whatsoever in 3,500 years of Jewish law and teaching."

Whilst therefore we are very disappointed with the result, and think the Court has got it wrong, nevertheless we can take comfort from the narrowness of the defeat, the comments made by all of the Justices about our actions and our intent, and especially their clear statement about how in truth the law itself may be wrong.

Documents

Statement from The Chief Rabbi

Statement from JFS

US Press Release

US Briefing Notes

The full supreme court ruling (92 pages)

Rabbi Brawer's article from "The Guardian", 17/Dec/2009


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