Orthodox rabbi criticised for his resistance to UK education standards

Orthodox rabbi criticised for his resistance to UK education standards November 6, 2018

Alastair Lichten, above, Education and Schools Officer for the UK’s National Secular Society, has blasted a rabbi who insists that Orthodox Jewish schools should be permitted to keep pupils in a state of ignorance.

In an article published online, Mordechai Rose said the UK  government and education watchdog Ofsted threatened the “survival and purity” of Orthodox Jewish schools.

Rose is an orthodox rabbi affiliated with Chinuch UK, a pressure group which opposes secular influence in Orthodox Jewish faith schools.

In the article he described evolution as “the scientific theory of creation” and criticised rules which prevent creationism being presented as fact, as well as “seemingly perverse alternative relationships”. In short, issues related to homosexuality.

Lichten responded by saying that education authorities  should:

Hold all schools to consistent standards regardless of religion. The promotion of strict gender roles and creationism, and the shielding of young people from knowledge about different faiths and beliefs, relationships and lifestyles, undermines their education and leaves them hopelessly unprepared for life in modern Britain. This is why the government and Ofsted must ignore religious groups’ pleading for special treatment and exemptions from equality law.

Rabbi Rose’s eleven-page screed actually does a pretty good job of documenting the shocking failings of many Orthodox Jewish faith schools. He just doesn’t see these as problems and would rather they weren’t pointed out.

At the heart of this is a view which completely neglects the rights of children and regards schools as places to mould young people into specific and narrow religious roles.

Rose wrote:

The government is about to introduce obligatory relationship education which would force Jewish schools to teach about same-sex relationships and other immoral subjects which are totally unacceptable for our community.

He added it was:

Self-evident that Charedi schools will find it impossible to fulfil the requirements of the new proposed RSE legislation.

Rose also criticised measures to give pupils “contact with other communities and other faiths” and prepare them “for a lifestyle where men and women mix and intermingle”. He claimed this showed:

How the government’s new legislation discriminates particularly against our schools since we wish to keep ourselves separate from the non-Jewish way of life.

In the final line of the article he wrote:

It is time for strong and united action in order to protect ourselves from these threats to the survival and purity of our schools.

He noted that 19 Charedi Jewish schools could be under threat of closure in the coming year after Ofsted rated them inadequate over their failure to prepare children for life in modern Britain.

His article, said the NSS:

Is the latest sign that Orthodox Jewish groups are prepared to resist even relatively modest requirements to provide a secular education. In June almost 7,000 Charedi Jews gathered for a demonstration of concern against the government and Ofsted.

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  • barriejohn

    Heaven forbid that schools should be required to prepare children for modern life! I had to look up these idiots. If you can make sense of the following I take my hat off to you; it seems to have been written by someone suffering from Tourette’s. Sadly, children brought up under their influence (as I saw amongst the Plymouth Brethren), think all this is “normal”, and one has to pity them. They’re doomed.


  • persephone

    It’s the only way to keep the kids stuck in the community and filling the synagogues and breeding dozens of new followers. If they had a real education, they might get the he// out, and then what would the community do? Uneducated makes the best followers.

  • Daz

    As the Jesuit said, “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.” It’s a frank admission that once a person is old enough to reason for themselves, they’re unlikely to fall for the codswollop that’s offered as evidence in theological circles unless they’re already indoctrinated.

  • Jim Jones

    > Self-evident that Charedi schools will find it impossible to fulfil the requirements of the new proposed RSE legislation.

    Then shut them down. The UK is entitled to expect their schools to produce British citizens, not people who are unfit for any country.

  • Jim Jones

    “After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible “historical figures.” Virtually the last archaeological word was written by me more than 20 years ago for a basic handbook of biblical studies, Israelite and Judean History. And, as we have seen, archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus has similarly been discarded as a fruitless pursuit. Indeed, the overwhelming archaeological evidence today of largely indigenous origins for early Israel leaves no room for an exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness.”

    — William Dever (a post-war biblical archaeologist with a Disciples of Christ education who later studied at Harvard and led hundreds of students on dozens of excavations all over Israel. This was his comment after a lifetime of study and first-hand exploration of the biblical lands).

    William Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know & When Did They Know It? (p.98-99)

    William Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (pp.46-47)

  • Jim Jones

    “We all know that any emotional bias — irrespective of truth or falsity — can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value…. If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.”

    ― H.P. Lovecraft

  • Cozmo the Magician

    ‘”we wish to keep ourselves separate from the non-Jewish way of life.” FFS. the NAZIS would just love this guy. But I’m guess history is not something he wants taught too.

  • barriejohn

    If Abraham existed at all, then he was from Syria, because that’s where all his relatives lived (according to Genesis). The explanation they like to give for this “fact” is that after the long journey from “Ur of the Chaldees” most of the family decided that they had gone far enough, and didn’t want to continue to this wonderful land that God was going to give to Abraham. All this despite the clear instruction to “get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house”. Anyone who teaches this as history deserves to be shot!

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    quite, what we need is productive members of society, not a load of introverts who are only qualified to teach other people how to be introverts

  • Adrian

    Indeed, despite what the nutjobs may think, they don’t have a right to deliberately cripple kids’ ability to function in society just so they can perpetuate their extreme cult.

  • Adrian

    Uneducated and dependant.

  • Shawn Herles

    While not Jewish myself I’m inclined to be sympathetic to the Rabbi’s concerns, sort of. The fact is that the Jewish people have survived some 1500 years of persecution and oppression in large part because of the clear sense of identity, community and cultural continuity that Orthodox Judaism preserved and enabled. For that reason alone I’m uncomfortable with the State interfering in Jewish life and education in this way. I am socially liberal, and no fan of what Orthodox Judaism, or any other conservative religion teaches. But what business is that of the State? Britain is rapidly sliding into totalitarianism. The State is increasingly meddlesome in peoples private lives, whether it’s this example, hate speech laws, or State surveillance. On that last issue things in Britain are getting very scary. It is one of the world’s foremost surveillance states.

    Freedom, free thinking and critical thinking are antithetical to Big Brother. Using the State to force people to be free is like screwing around to promote virginity.

  • Daz

    Utter tosh. This isn’t about so-called nanny-states or totalitarianism. Nor is it about the rights of the parents. It’s about the right of all children to a proper, fact-based education.

  • Zetopan0

    Intentionally keeping their children ignorant and withholding a secular education not only ensures that they will be just as ignorant as their parents, it also insures that they will be unemployable. Simply look at the very large orthodox Jewish families on welfare since the young adults are unfit to do anything but teach the same vacuous superstitious nonsense that they were taught. These people actively reject books that are in any way modern (less than thousands of years old) and instead rely on the Talmud and similar ancient and most often counterfactual writings.

  • Sophotroph

    No, don’t you see? When the government gives everyone a proper education, that’s totalitarian overreach and pernicious thought control.

    When they allow religious schools to operate as unlicensed madrassas that produce illiterate foot soldiers for the culture wars, that’s freedom.

    You probably went to one of those government schools! That’s why you don’t know the basics.

  • Daz

    Thank you for explaining. I see it all so clearly now.

  • barriejohn

    That’s often the problem with us liberals. We don’t want to be seen as acting in an “illiberal” manner, and meantime the fascists have got their way!

  • Arakiba

    Schools like this in the US have the exact same problems. Their focus on religion and religion only leaves their graduates barely able to function in society at large.