Charedi education row
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.”