Rabbis, please confirm shunning children is inconsistent with Jewish law

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Rabbis, please confirm shunning children is inconsistent with Jewish law

Post by Guest on Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:19 pm

Sitting in the Court of Appeal listening to the one day appeal on the High Court decision of J v B[1] was a surreal experience. The case involved a transgender father who had left the insular ultra-Orthodox North Manchester community, and was now living as a woman. She sought access to, but not custody of, her 5 children. The judgement in the High Court was that it would be in the children’s best interest if they did not have any direct contact with their father due to the high risk of ostracisation and shunning from the community which would apparently only arise if the children actually saw their father. The High Court judgement determined that the father could write letters to the children, and that the children should be educated about why their father left and what it means to be transgender, but ruled out access.

The Appeal Court judges — Sir James Munby, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Singh raised many interesting questions in a case that highlighted the tensions between freedom of religious belief and equality law. Whilst the father’s barrister, Alison Ball QC reiterated her view that the shunning was merely a threat that would in fact never materialise, the judges seemed more interested in whether a matter of Jewish law (in this case, the biblical prohibition on cross-dressing as set out in Deuteronomy 22:5) could determine the outcome in a civil court. There was also some discussion by the judges around whether Jewish law mandated ostracisation of those who did not keep its rules; and how this might interact with UK law if it turned out that such behaviour which amounted to illegal discrimination.


Quite stunned by this decison and its completely wrong.


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