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A new group – the Rabbinical Committee of the Traditional Charedi Chinuch – has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressing that it won’t compromise on refusing to teach LGBT issues in their schools.

The 17 rabbis comprising the group wrote that there was “a growing level of anxiety and anger amongst the thousands of parents whose children are pupils of our schools.”


David Landau, chairman of the broader-based Chinuch UK, Told the Jewish Press: “Those 17 rabbis represent no schools or communities, not even the Satmar schools, although some of them might have shtiebels. They are certainly not associated with the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.”

Landau said the new relationship and facts-of-life education curriculum that comes into force in September would “not be easy for our schools to comply with.” He hopes that charedi schools could be recognized as “conscientious objectors” by the government.

He said, “There should be a way to accommodate minor deviations. The government needs to make a decision whether to come down heavily on schools who comply with everything else, demonstrating that they are doing as much as they possibly can, and make sure that if a school fails on only one standard, then it won’t get closure orders.”


Chief Rabbi Gives Okay To New Organ Donation System

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has officially endorsed the Organ Donation Act, which came into force last week.

The act, which requires people to opt out of donating organs after their death (instead of opting in), was initially perceived as dangerous by many Orthodox Jews (considering the halachic restrictions on post-mortem organ donation), but it has now been made clear that families will be consulted before a person’s organs are removed from his body.

A spokesman for the Chief Rabbi said discussions for the past two years with the NHS Blood and Transplant has resulted in “an essential accommodation within the opt-out system which will allow a person to declare on the organ donor register that their wishes for donation are entirely subject to guidance from their chosen religious authority.”

He said, “The effect of this accommodation will be to allow observant Jews to engage positively with the new system, safe in the knowledge that their faith will be respected.”


No Weddings for a While

Weddings are unlikely to be allowed until late June at the earliest because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, which has consulted with the government on the matter, has banned Kedassia caterers from breaching government guidelines.

Manchester Beth Din caterers have also ceased catering functions until government guidelines allow them to resume.


Chief Rabbi Praises Book of Remembrance

The chief rabbi has praised an online book of remembrance launched at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral for those who died from Covid-19.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said, “As we commence the gradual process of grieving as a nation for the many thousands who have lost their lives to the coronavirus, this new virtual memorial provides a timely and meaningful outlet for that to begin to take place.

“I hope that this focal point for our collective grief also generates a measure of comfort for the loved ones of the deceased, enabling them to record their recollections for posterity.”


Anti-Semitic Banner Hung Opposite Cemetery

An anti-Semitic banner was hung from a house overlooking a disused London Jewish cemetery. The words “Welcome to the Zionist Police State” were hung opposite the United Synagogue’s Bancroft Road Cemetery.

Police removed the offending sign.

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Doreen Wachmann served as a senior reporter and columnist for Britain’s Jewish Telegraph newspaper for more than 20 years.