What if the United States government decided who is and isn’t Jewish.
Now substitute the United States for that of Britain, the land of Harry Potter, because that’s what has people thinking about the “Who is a Jew” controversy in a whole new light ever since the son (now dubbed the “half-blood Jew”) of a non-Orthodox convert was turned away from an Orthodox day school there. A British court ruled that this was racist and based on that has changed the admissions policy for Jewish schools.
Was it racist? Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is calling the court racist for calling Judaism racist. Or is it chutzpah for this family to go to court against an Orthodox Jewish day school’s admission policy when the mother did not have a Orthodox conversion?
I’ve hesitated to weigh in on this one because the “Who is a Jew” debate can get some pretty explosive. I know I’m wondering, as always, if some day I’ll have to worry about my (currently only imaginary) children getting into a day school or yeshiva because someone thinks my Orthodox conversion isn’t legitimate enough.
But Anshel Pfeffer is wondering “What are Jewish schools for?” anyway?