Photo Credit: Serge Attal / Flash 90
A Brit Mila in the Jewish Community in Paris

The BBC questioned the appropriateness of brit milah in its program, “A Cut Too Far? Male Circumcision,” last week.

A spokesperson for Milah UK, which was consulted on the program, said it found the title “unhelpful.”

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Reform Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Romain defended the Jewish practice on the program but said he wants all circumcisions to be professionally regulated. The Jewish community’s Initiation Society already fulfills this purpose.

The program disclosed that 62 percent of Britons would favor a ban on circumcision.

 

Corbyn Actions Defer No-Confidence Vote

Labour Lords have deferred a vote of no confidence in their leader Jeremy Corbyn over his alleged anti-Semitic beliefs, after Corbyn took steps on Monday to improve the party’s complaints procedure.

A national poll this week found that confidence in Corbyn’s leadership has fallen by 24 points.

Last week, 67 Labour Lords took out a full-page advertisement in The Guardian accusing Corbyn of “allowing anti-Semitism to grow in [Labour] and presiding over the most shameful period in Labour history.” The ad reads, “The Labour Party welcomes everyone* irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (*except, it seems, Jews).”

The following day, deputy leader of the Lords, Baroness Hayter, was sacked as shadow Brexit minister for comparing the “bunker mentality” of the Labour leadership team to the “last days of Hitler.” The Lords then vowed to consider a vote of no confidence in Corbyn.

In a written response to all Labour members, Corbyn pledged that the party was not – and “never will be” – a home for anti-Semites.

On Monday, the Shadow Cabinet approved moves to reform Labour’s procedures on responding to anti-Semitism allegations by giving the party’s general secretary and a panel from the party’s National Executive Committee the power to immediately expel members guilty of acting in a flagrantly anti-Semitic fashion.

But MP Ivan Lewis, who quit Labour Party over anti-Semitism in its midst, told The Jewish Press, “I have little faith that these ‘too little, too late’ changes will make any difference. This is most likely a cynical attempt to get through to the Parliamentary recess and avoid a vote of no confidence by Labour peers.”

Lewis continued, “Corbyn and his inner circle only respond when they see anti-Semitism as a threat to his internal leadership or in the court of public opinion. He is losing popularity and anti-Semitism is a key factor. But a majority of Labour members still support him.”

Jewish Labour Movement chair Mike Katz said, “We can’t have any confidence in these new proposals.”

 

Liberal Democrat Leader Speaks Out Against Anti-Semitism

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who was voted into office on Monday, spoke out against anti-Semitism and Israel boycotts. She told the Jewish News this week that she would rule out joining a coalition with Corbyn’s Labour Party, partly due to anti-Semitism in its midst.

Corbyn’s “inability, at best, to act on anti-Semitism within his party would make it impossible for me to work with him on a personal level in any sort of arrangement,” she said.

Swinson also said the Israel boycott movement is “counter-productive.” The movement “simply adds fuel to a confrontational and aggressive narrative that those who do not want peace, wish to build,” she said.

 

Education Agency Marks Down Three Charedi Schools

Three more London charedi schools have been found wanting by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

Witznitz Cheder School was marked down for refusing to allow 11-year-olds to be taught about sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

The report states: “Without some simple changes, the school will continue to fail to meet these requirements.”

Oftsed said pupils at Bnos Zion of Bobov were not being “sufficiently well informed about all the protected characteristics defined in the Equality Act 2010,” which refer to LGBT matters. The school was also marked down for inadequate teaching.

Meanwhile, Beis Soroh Schneirer was criticized for having a secular curriculum that was not “well balanced.”

Yavneh Jewish Primary School, whose pupils come from across the Jewish community in London’s Borehamwood, was rated outstanding by Ofsted. Also upgraded was Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, which in January was found to have “serious weaknesses,” after parents complained about management and safeguarding.

 

Charedi Educators Defend Curriculum on BBC Program

Charedi educators defended their schools’ treatment of gender issues and sexuality on last week BBC’s Panorama program on facts-of-life education and LGBT matters.

Rabbi Eli Spitzer, head of Tiferes Shlomo Boys’ School in London, told the BBC: “If I was to decide tomorrow to teach about sexuality…in my school, parents would withdraw their children.” He added that charedi “parents are very strongly opposed to any sexualization of their children” and don’t discuss sexual matters with them.

Judith Nemeth of The Values Foundation said, “There’s no way that people of faith will teach it’s okay to be [homosexual]. But that doesn’t mean that we are intolerant of people who do not follow our lifestyle.”

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