Pupils in dark about other re­li­gions, say in­spec­tors

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

A CHA­SIDIC school in­volved in a con­tro­versy over women driv­ers has been crit­i­cised by in­spec­tors.

Of­sted said that boys at Tal­mud To­rah Machzikei Hadass in Hack­ney, north­east Lon­don, run by the Belz Cha­sidim, did not know enough about other faiths, while the school’s com­mit­ment to the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) leads it to dis­re­gard pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to same-sex ori­en­ta­tion in the Equal­ity Act.

The Belz girls school, Beis Malka, in Hack­ney, was also crit­i­cised by in­spec­tors last year.

Both schools —pre­vi­ously ranked as good by Of­sted — re­ceived emer­gency in­spec­tions last sum­mer af­ter Belz lead- ers pro­posed bar­ring pupils of moth­ers who drove cars on the grounds that this con­tra­vened tra­di­tions of mod­esty.

In­spec­tors said Machzikei Hadass recog­nised “fun­da­men­tal Bri­tish val­ues of democ­racy, the rule of law, in­di­vid­ual lib­erty, and ad­vo­cates re­spect and tol­er­ance of those with dif­fer­ent faiths”.

But pupils were taught “very lit­tle” about other faiths and did not know enough about fes­ti­vals cel­e­brated in other re­li­gions.

Al­though the in­spec­tion was car­ried out in July, it was pub­lished only on Mon­day af­ter en­quiries by the JC.

A school spokesman said: “We were not dis­ap­pointed with the re­port and are work­ing on an ac­tion plan to ad­dress the few ar­eas of con­cern.”

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