Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school

update - the school refutes the accusation of the Independent newspaper


London - Statement on behalf of the Beis Rochel D’Satmar School in response to The Independent, 2nd September 2015

The Independent newspaper has falsely accused the Beis Rochel D’Satmar Girls’ school in London, of teaching its students that “non-Jews are evil” in a recent report. When celebrating the 21st Kislev, the day that the Satmar community was saved from the horrors of the Holocaust as their founding Rabbi, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum escaped the Nazis, the students are reminded of their history by studying about that time period. The students were given a worksheet during lessons in the context of learning about the Nazis and their history and asked to answer questions based on what they had learned.

The worksheet referred to Nazis as ‘goyim’. The newspaper failed to understand the context and mischievously suggested that children were being taught that goyim rather than Nazis, were evil.

The Independent falsely accused the school of fearmongering, encouraging young children to believe that all non-Jews are evil. Although this is simply not the case, to avoid any confusion the school will explicitly refer to Nazis next year when teaching its students about the history of the 21st Kislev.

Speaking on behalf of the school Shimon Cohen said: “The leaflet that the Independent refers to was handed out on the 21st Kislev, when the Satmar community celebrates the rescue of their founding rabbi from horrors of the Holocaust. This was explained in detail to the Independent, but they chose to ignore the facts and pursue their mischievous story.”

“The questions were only talking about the specific event, but there is no Yiddish word for Nazis. The suggestion that children are being taught that non-Jews are evil is nonsense and simply false. They are being taught that Nazis are evil.”

“It is almost like, if you are sitting around a seder table and you say that the goyim made us build pyramids, you are obviously talking about the Egyptians. You’re not talking about the Welsh. It’s just daft.”

Mr Cohen said that, next year, the school would explicitly refer to Nazis to avoid any confusion. “We will be very clear to avoid any misunderstanding,” he said. “But then, for Yiddish speakers, it was clear. This is a storm in a tea-cup.”


Independent    British three-year-olds have been told "the non-Jews" are “evil” in a Kindergarten worksheet handed out at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in north London, it can be revealed.

Documents seen by The Independent show children are taught about the horrors of the Holocaust when they are still in kindergarten at the Beis Rochel boys’ school in north London.

A whistle-blower, who wished to remain anonymous, has shown The Independent a worksheet given to boys aged three and four at the school. In it, children were asked to complete questions related to the holiday of 21 Kislev, observed by Satmer Jews as the day its founder and holy Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, escaped the Nazis.

The document refers to Nazis only as “goyim” – a term for non-Jews some people argue is offensive.

Emily Green, who used to teach at the same Beis Rochel girls’ secondary school, now chairs the Gesher EU organisation which supports ultra-Orthodox Jews who want to leave the community.

"It's not uncommon to be taught non-Jewish people are evil in ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools. It is part of the prayers, teaching, their whole ethos,” she said.

Describing it as a form of “indoctrination”, Ms Green added:  “Psychologically, you become so afraid of the world out there after being taught how dangerous and bad and evil non-Jews are, that it makes it harder to leave.” [..]

A spokesperson for Beis Rochel said that the worksheets would be amended and apologised for any offence. However they argued the phrase “goyim” was not offensive and accusations that they were indoctrinating children were “without basis”. “The language we used was not in any way intended to cause offence, now this has been brought to our attention, we will endeavour to use more precise language in the future.”

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