Sat 11 July 2009, The Times

'Invidious' JFS court decision undermines Jewish community

By Ruth Gledhill
The Jewish Free School is one of the most outstanding schools, probably in the world, never mind London. And it is free. Gerry Black's history gives an insight into its extraordinary merit. But the school has recently been in the headlines, caught up in the increasingly vicious battle between the religious and the secular. Faith schools are among the targets of both religious and non-religious who, not satisfied with having destroyed all but a few grammars, now want to topple one of the final ladders up which it is possible for a child to escape poverty, escape the enduring British class barriers defined by money and history, escape a life of under-achievement, escape all manner of horrors unimaginable to the children of the rich, escapes made possible purely by virtue of a good education, a commodity in scandalously short supply in much of the state sector. In the case of JFS , though, the issues are complicated by the complex questions surrounding Jewish identity in modern Britain, namely, is this identity a question of ethnicity, or religion. Various news and comment articles have already addressed this. Read Nicola Woolcock's news story in The Times, my own commentary, Michael Herman's Law Central blog and Geoffrey Alderman's article for our Faith page last Saturday. For an exploration of Jewish identity, I also strongly recommend Andrew Sanger's new novel The J-Wor d. Below, Jonathan Arkush, senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, explains the anger in the community over the Court of Appeal decision, and Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore , recent graduate of City University's journalism school , gives her take on the JFS debate.
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It was published by The Times, which adheres to the PCC Code

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