Who is a Jew? (don’t ask the Jews)

Very interesting developments in Britain over the role of religious schooling. Why should Jews (or any religion, for that matter) have the right to determine who is “really” Jewish? It’s a complex question that often leads to exclusion rather than inclusion:

A Jewish school was guilty of racial discrimination in the way it operated its admissions policies, the Supreme Court ruled today.

The JFS school in Brent, north-west London one of the top-performing schools in the country – refused a place to a boy because it did not consider his mother to be Jewish.

Whilst his father was Jewish by birth, his mother entered the Jewish faith by conversion at a progressive synagogue not recognised by orthodox jews.

Today, by a slim five to four majority, judges dismissed an appeal against a ruling that the admissions procedure breached the Race Relations Act.

However, they made it clear that they did not believe the school had acted in a “racist” way.

“Any suggestion or implication that they are racist in the popular sense of the word can be dismissed,” said Lady Hale, one of the nine judges.