Jewish leaders in Britain are warning that the government’s plan to exclude Hebrew from a new list of officially recognized languages for elementary-school study will be detrimental to Jewish education in the country, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Friday.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews issued its response following the announcement, by British Education Minister Elizabeth Truss, that starting September 2014, foreign-language studies would become compulsive in the country.
However, the list of seven approved languages did not include Hebrew. Thus, forced to study another language, children in Jewish education would no longer have the time to study Hebrew in the framework of a regular curriculum, Jewish leaders said.
The proposal was “extremely detrimental to our community’s identity, as language — including modern and classical Hebrew — is a vital ingredient to understanding our faith and culture,” Laura Marks, a senior vice-president in the Board of Deputies was quoted as saying.
Marks reportedly urged the British government to expand the list to include more than “just a narrow range of languages.”