Manchester

LGBT teaching an abomination, Jewish judge says

Beis Yaakov High School in Salford Image copyright Google
Image caption Beis Yaakov High School in Salford was criticised by Ofsted regarding a lack of LGBT teaching

People of Jewish faith should "give up their lives" rather than follow new government guidelines to teach children about LGBT relationships, an ultra-orthodox Jewish judge has said.

Gavriel Krausz described LGBT relationships as an "abomination".

He was speaking in response to guidance issued this year requiring school curriculums to teach an awareness of LGBT issues.

The comments have been condemned by Jewish and LGBT organisations.

Mr Krausz is a retired Jewish judge, known as a dayan, who was involved with Manchester Beth Din, a body which oversees matters of Jewish family law and other issues within the Jewish community.

Manchester has a gay village area and hosts an annual Pride celebration.

Mr Krausz was angered by an Ofsted decision to give Beis Yaakov, an orthodox Jewish girls' school in neighbouring Salford, a "requires improvement" rating partly because pupils were not being taught about sexual orientation and gender identity.

As reported in the Jewish Chronicle, it prompted him to send leaflets to Jewish faith schools declaring all Jews were "obliged to give up one's life rather than comply" with the guidance.

Image copyright chinuchfacts
Image caption Flyers like this were sent to ultra-Orthodox faith schools by Mr Krausz

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Krausz said: "Those four letters - LGBT - are an abomination according to the Torah.

"It's not just my position. It's the position of the whole orthodox community.

"When it comes to contradicting the laws of our holy Torah we have to stand firm and we can't give in. We must be prepared to sacrifice our lives."

He added while "we don't try to offend anybody", the laws of the Torah could not be changed "even if that means giving up our lives or going to prison".

"The Torah writes about homosexuality, that it is an abomination," he continued, adding: "We are just repeating what it says."

Mr Krausz urged Jews to "stand firm" and described the government's guidelines as a "terrible decree".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Manchester has a gay village area and hosts an annual Pride celebration

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, of Liberal Judaism, a group that promotes a progressive form of the religion, said Mr Krausz did not represent most Jews.

"While his comments are shocking, disturbing and upsetting, it's also far removed from any sort of Judaism that we have contact with," she said.

A spokeswoman for the LGBT Foundation said Mr Krausz's language sought to "create division in society and ostracise LGBT communities, and in particular LGBT people of faith".

She added: "These views are not held by the vast majority of the Jewish community and the vast majority of people of faith in general."

Rabbi Warren Elf, of Southend and District Reform Synagogue, said a recent conference in Manchester had brought together faith leaders to discuss how to deliver diverse education more effectively.

He said it was "important to listen and understand what is actually being taught".

Manchester Beth Din said Mr Krausz was no longer associated with it but declined to comment further.

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