Britain’s High Court ruled that the admission policy of a state-funded school could be based on its interpretation of Jewish law.
The July 3 verdict could have had major implications on Britain’s 20 Jewish schools – almost all of which receive state funding – had the court ruled against the school’s policy.
The landmark case was brought by the father of an 11-year old boy who was rejected from the prestigious and heavily overbooked JFS Comprehensive School in northwest London after the school’s administration ruled that the child’s mother wasn’t Jewish.
The mother had converted to Judaism from Roman Catholicism via the Progressive Judaism movement before her child was born. The school’s ruling was backed by the United Synagogue, Britain’s mainstream religious institution that is predominantly Orthodox.
The judge rejected the father’s claim that the school’s application test wasn’t based on faith “but wholly or partly on ethnic origins” and ruled the policy to be “entirely lawful and proportionate to the aims and objectives of the school.”
The school’s chair of governors welcomed the judgment but complained that the institution had to pay for the trial’s expenses, which amounted to about $200,000.
The family refused to comment on the verdict.