Haredi school rejects 'Sephardi' child
Talmud Torah school rejects four-year-old due to Sephardi grandfather. Principal says child has ‘stain’ in genealogy
Anyone who thinks that racist rules are a thing of the past is wrong, according to the mother of a four-and-a-half year old child who was rejected from a Talmud Torah school because of his grandfather’s ethnicity.
“They are alive and kicking in all their ugliness in Ashkenazi haredi educational institutions,” the mother said.
The child was denied admission to a Talmlud Torah school in Beit Shemesh because of what its principal called a “stain” in his genealogy.
“Tell the child’s dear father that although he himself is completely Ashkenazi, his wife’s father is Sephardic, and we therefore cannot accept his son into our institution. We have to maintain a certain standard,” the principal said.
The child’s mother made several attempts to change the principal’s mind, to no avail.
“I begged the principal. I explained that my child is truly Ashkenazi and looks exactly like his father. Our son also speaks Yiddish, but nothing helped,” the mother said. “They explained to a friend of ours that they didn’t want to ruin their Talmud Torah with ‘damaged goods’.”
The Talmud Torah school had previously given the same explanation to several other frustrated parents who petitioned MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) for help.
The Knesset member tried several times to convince the principal to allow the rejected children admission to the school, but the principal insisted there was “no room” in the institution.
“This is a complicated problem. I don’t deal with condemning these things, just like I don’t condemn kibbutzim, which sometimes select who to accept as a member. There are communities that wish to be strict about their religion or social character. It’s not simple,” Porush said.
The school’s principal, who had previously said he only wanted “100% Ashkenazim” at his institution, told Yedioth Ahronoth he had no idea how many, if any, Sephardic children were enrolled in the school.
“There is no clause in our educational institution’s regulations about this. We only make sure that our students are good children from explicitly haredi families. Whether someone is Sephardic or Ashkenazi makes no difference to me,” the principal said.
In a statement, the Education Ministry issued a statement saying, “The ministry takes any attempt to discriminate against students because of their ethnicity or their sex very seriously.”
“The claims will be looked into, and should investigations show that the students were rejected because of their ethnic group, the ministry will take steps to force the institution to accept them.”