In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that London's Jewish Free School practiced racial discrimination when it gave lower admissions priority to a pupil on grounds that he was not ethnically Jewish:
The school, which has far more applicants than it has places, gives priority to those children whose mothers are Jewish. M, the student in question, was raised in a practicing Jewish home, but his mother is a convert from Catholicism, and converted in a reform temple. (However, those students whose parents are atheists would still be given priority, were the mother "ethnically" Jewish.) When M.'s father took the school to court, he won; however, the school appealed - hence the Supreme Court ruling.
While this may not seem to be a big issue - how many non-Jews, after all, are going to be eager for a strict parochial education, so how much will the new "religious practice" tests matter? - it could have wide-ranging implications for all faith-based schools. And, says England's orthodox community, for modern Judaism as a whole. Said the President of the United Synagogue, to the Guardian, "Essentially, we must now apply a non-Jewish definition of who is Jewish...These are matters of principle. If we don't fight this, what do we fight? These are germane to everything we believe in."