MONTREAL (JTA) —A formerly haredi Orthodox Jew is suing the Quebec government for $1.25 million for not enforcing provincial education guidelines and thus, he argues, leaving him virtually illiterate and unemployable.
Yonanan Lowen, 36, attended two still-operating haredi yeshivas north of Montreal where instruction was only in Yiddish. He says he never learned to read or write English or French, nor did his schools follow the public school curriculum as the law requires.
That, he says, left him with no potential for a real future in the province despite having several children to support after an arranged marriage at age 18.
Born in Great Britain, Lowen came to Quebec at age 10. He is blaming the education ministry, youth protection officials and a local school board for allowing the schools to continue operating.
He left the haredi Orthodox community in 2010 before moving to Montreal.
Although he now teaches a few hours each week at a synagogue, Lowen says he suffers from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.