Charedi ed­u­ca­tion row

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SIMON ROCKER

THE BETH Din of the Union of Ortho­dox Jewish Con­gre­ga­tions has re­fused to or­der a Stam­ford Hill ac­tivist to with­draw a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest to the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice over lob­by­ing for Jewish schools.

Shraga Stern wants Down­ing Street to re­lease de­tails of com­mu­ni­ca­tions it has had with Chin­uch UK, the re­cently launched Charedi ed­u­ca­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tive group, Lord Po­lak and the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil.

But Chin­uch UK be­lieved Mr Stern’s ef­forts were un­help­ful and turned to the Union rab­binate to per­suade him to change his mind.

Chin­uch UK was set up to present a uni­fied Charedi front in the wake of the prob­lems Strictly Ortho­dox schools have faced from the in­spec­tion ser­vice Of­sted over the past two or three years.

It has held a se­ries of meet­ings with Of­sted and De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials and ear­lier this month met the Prime Min­is­ter’s faith ad­viser. Lord Po­lak has been closely in­volved in at­tempts to help Charedi schools find a so­lu­tion.

A Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil del­e­ga­tion that met Theresa May at the be­gin­ning of the month also raised the prob­lems of Charedi schools with her.

But Mr Stern — who was re­cently at the cen­tre of con­tro­versy over his crit­i­cism of the Board of Deputies to rep­re­sent Charedi in­ter­ests — re­cently con­ducted his own meet­ing at the DfE, ac­com­pa­nied by Pro­fes­sor Ge­of­frey Al­der­man.

Rabbi Avro­hom Pin­ter, a mem­ber of Chin­uch UK, said Mr Stern’s move to press the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice for in­for­ma­tion sug­gested “di­vi­sions in the Charedi com­mu­nity, which is un­help­ful”. Mr Stern said: “We have ab­so­lutely no per­sonal axe to grind.

“Our pur­pose through­out has been to pro­tect the ab­so­lute re­li­gious in­de­pen­dence of Jewish faith schools, es­pe­cially in re­spect of teach­ing about re­la­tion­ships.

“And this is also the pur­pose of Chin­uch UK so we’re all on the same page.”

Shraga Stern

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