UK Ultra-Orthodox Jews Refuse to Teach the “Lie” that Earth 4.5 Billion Years Old

Beth Scupham is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Taking taxpayer funding means the UOHC cannot push religious text

London-based Jewish group, Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, is urging teachers not to take any kind of government funding. If money is accepted, the schools will be forced to teach a “lie” that the world is millions of years old. The Biblical view is that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

The document, written in ancient Hebrew, was sent in January. Almost 90 synagogues are affiliated with the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC). A number of educational institutions are also affiliated with them. The intended recipients of the letter are the senior rabbis in the British Jewish community settled in Hackney, situated in north-east London. The rabbis are scheduled to meet and consider the new funding contracts clauses set by the Department of Education. Signing such contracts could turn out to be a heresy for orthodox Jews as they contain a clear message about non-scientific explanations or historical evidence. It said these subjects must not be a part of the school curriculum. Teachers will be forced to teach the scientific view that earth's age is approximately 4.5 billion years old.

The UOHC letter has resulted in a fierce pushback from British Jews. They have anonymously published a full-page advertisement. The latter was printed in the Hamodia newspaper, an orthodox daily catering to the Jewish community. It warned UK Jews that they must not be influenced by any or multiple lone extremist operators with the potential to result in irreversible damage. The notice also said that such letters cause immense damage to the broader Jewish community. It concludes by saying that under no condition should Jewish community cave into such pressures and make decisions that are made on the back of the lack of understanding and knowledge in such matters.

The conservative push letter was translated by If You Tickle Us which is known for its close observation of the Orthodox Jewish community in Stamford Hill. The website points out that writers of the letter clearly has the UOHC's Creationism notice on their mind.

The UK Government has also responded to the events. Cllr. Anntoinette Bramble, Hackney's Deputy Mayor, said there was an amendment of the funding contract with the nurseries. These amendments were then sent out. The list of changes includes the brand new 30 hours of completely free childcare for the benefit of parents.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter