Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

A British judge has permitted a 10-year-old Jewish girl to convert to Christianity despite her mother’s opposition.

The decision comes after the girl’s mother applied for a court order in November 2011 to prevent her ex-husband from having the girl baptized until she turns 16. The mother claimed the girl had been “brainwashed” and was too young to convert out of her faith.


The parents, both of whom were Jewish at the time of the girl’s birth, divorced in 2010. They had agreed on a custody arrangement for the girl – identified as C by the court – and her younger brother. Not long after the divorce though, the father converted to Christianity.

Judge John Platt, in a letter to the girl last week, wrote: “Sometimes parents simply cannot agree on what is best for their child, but they can’t both be right. Your father thinks it is right for you to be baptised as a Christian now. Your mother wants you to wait until you are older so they have asked me to decide for them. That is my job.”

The judge continued by thanking the girl for “telling me so clearly why you want to be baptised now…It is important for me to know how you feel.”

The judge outlined both parents’ positions, saying that the mother believes C is too young to make such a momentous decision and that it should wait until C turns 16. In opposition, C’s father’s claimed that he does not intend to negate his children’s “Jewish heritage and culture.”

Giving his decision, Judge Platt wrote: “My job is to decide simply what is best for you and I have decided that the best thing for you is that you are allowed to start your baptism classes as soon as they can be arranged and that you are baptised as a Christian as soon as your minister feels you are ready.”

Still, he said, “Being baptized does not mean that you give up your Jewish heritage. That will always be part of you and I hope that you will continue to learn more about that heritage and about your mother’s faith. Even after you are baptized you are still free to change your mind about your faith later when you are older.”

Regarding confirmation, which is considered to be the ratification of the covenant initiated by the baptism ritual, the judge wrote: “In the light of her Jewish heritage, I would consider it appropriate that she should attain a much fuller degree of understanding and greater maturity before being confirmed and I therefore propose that she should not be confirmed before her 16th birthday without the consent of the mother.”

The court considered a written submission from Odom Brandman, a Chabad rabbi, who was quoted by the London Jewish Chronicle as saying that “It is unfair to any child to put them under this pressure and to do something unnatural to their soul.”

The Judge’s letter to the child was reproduced as the written judgment of the case.

JTA content was used in this report.



  1. I'm asking the Jewish Press Staff to please post the name of the church who is doing the awful thing. As one rabbi once said, the xian bible has as many mistakes in it does it have words. Yet, they are not all the same and new ones are being developed every day. To find out what that particular church believes and counter it would help others from making the same mistake.

  2. I agree with Liad Bar-el, that you should find out what denomination the church is, and what version of the bible they use. Many of the newer Christian bibles are even more anti-Semitic than the traditional Christian Bibles. You might be able to appeal the judge's decision on this basis. Also, you might be able to insist that you, the mother, attend the baptism classes with your daughter, or have another Jewish adult go with her, to monitor what she is taught. But most definitely you should insist that your daughter be examined by a psychologist, because the effects of brainwashing have been established for a long time and would have to be considered by a court. There are some psychologists in fact who specialize in treating children who have been ritually abused by religious cults – and also lawyers who specialize in this field. Frankly, if the judge is a Christian, you might be able to argue that he was biased in favor of the baptism.

  3. I am a follower of Yeshua and so I would classify as a Christian and my faith is important to me. However, I understand and support the mother in this case. The girl is very young and I believe that she should be permitted to believe according to what her heart tells her, but baptism can wait, she will learn much and grow more mature spiritually by submitting to her mother and honouring her. When the girl is older, if baptism is what the girl herself decides, then I would support her decision and I hope her mother would also understand this. She will always remain Jewish, nothing can change that and I hope that the girl will be proud of her ethnic and spiritual inheritance.

  4. As a child of divorced parents, it sounds like the girl is acting to support her father – or perhaps to demonstrate opposition to her mother. I suspect the parents are, perhaps unconsciously, making the daughter choose one parent or the other. In the context of a divorce, and especially if the divorce is characterized by hurt or angry feelings in either or both parents, the child should be asked to wait until she is older, so that there isn't the appearance of either or both parents using her as a pawn against each other.

    As for the denomination; logically it's Church of England, because of the setting and the fact that the denomination uses confirmation. This may be why baptism is such an important issue in this case; the Anglican Catholic Church believes in baptismal regeneration. If the denomination is in fact Anglican, then it may be important to note that according to the ADL:

    On February 6, the Anglican Church's General Synod overwhelmingly voted to divest from companies whose products are used by Israel in the Palestinian territories. The Synod backed a call by the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem to divest from "companies profiting from the illegal occupation," such as Caterpillar, which makes the bulldozers that Israel is using to build the West Bank security fence.

  5. It is quite evident that this child was not educated in Judaism nor was she brought up in a religious Jewish home so as to know what she is rejecting at this time so early in her life. For the judge to state that she can attend (be trained) in a xian school setting and not ALSO a Jewish school so as to make a fair determination of them both smacks of prejudice, ignorance and anti-Semitism.

  6. As a Judeo Christian I believe that if it is in the little girl's heart to be baptized that she be allowed to do that. If the girl is prevented from following what she believes in, she will grow more negative toward the her Jewish roots and that would be a tragedy. This girl can be a Christian and still have love and respect for her Jewish heritage. I believe completely that Jesus was a Jew who still observed the holidays and traditions. From what I know most Messianic Jews still embrace their Jewish roots and this should be encouraged in this little girl.

  7. DeeDee, I ask this question with respect – much more so, because I have _NO_ people tht I can call a prophet to ask this about:

    Where in the Torah do we see a secret catching away of the people of God so that they are out of the world when the wrath of God strikes. For example, in the Ark and in Israel, we see believers who had no secret catching away to happen, but rather a public always-visible group of saints, not caught away secretly, but set aside in the Ark or i Goshen publicly, and readily known. In the time of Lot, we see that Angels of G-d dragged away Lot and the few righteous; his daughters and wife. But this is again known to the people both inside and outside, making the happening obvious beforehand and afterward to those watching the saints.

    Note: I'm lazy and I like comfort; I like the idea of a Rapture. But I think that if we're here until the last trumpet, that lots of people will be irritated at their Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

    So I am ready to be changed at the last Trumpet, and much like the Christians when the Iron Curtain fell during and after WWII, I will realize that tribulation can happen without the Church being spared.

    So again: I'm looking for "The Torah Says, "…" " and of course, I will study the Torah and bring it before Ha'Shem. But I see no written command concerning a secret Rapture-like event. Again, I'm being respectful: Please show me. Thank you, dear sister.

  8. Liad Bar-el, my what hatred you spew out for Christians. I am sorry that some professing Christians hate Jews–but they can't be a genuine Christian. You see no Christian can hate someone else–it is an oxymoron. We are taught by the words of a wonderful Jew that we are to love everyone–even our enemies. If someone hates you for being a Jew then that person can't be a true Christian. But, we certainly do not consider Jews our enemy either. A true Christian will find Jews to be friends with.
    In my family, an aunt (Christian) married a Jew and they had a wonderful relationship and almost 60 years of marriage. The uncle died and was burried in a Jew cemetery. When the aunt died, she was not allowed to be burried beside her husband because she was not Jewish. Now how is that for bias? Have you ever attended a Christian church, do you really know very much about Christians? I challenge you and any other Jew to attend a Christian church and to get to know the people and then see if you being a Jew will cause even one of them to speak out against you. To speak out against you would be like slapping Jesus in the face and cursing him.
    For once in your life, why not allow love to grow instead of hatred and resentment. You can attend a church without being converted–you see we don't want someone to "confess" to being something until it is first felt in the "heart" that it is something God wants to happen. May I suggest a Southern Baptist church since they have several missionaries who serve in Israel. It would do you good to find out about the cooperation that exists in Israel between Israeli Jews and the the Baptist missions.
    I pray that your heart can be filled with love so that you will not resent anyone.

  9. judge made decition according his religius beliefs what is very unfair to mothers expierience. I fill ashamed for the judge who suppost to be trusted for fair judjement who took an oats to make deciion not in any case on his religious beliefs for taking his reliogius believers comparing what judge decition should be right and fair to the life of child as human being who would make fair decition as she grow up and reach age when as human can make her own decition. Shame on Judge who should retire his post for judging his religious beliefs over what is correct.

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