Swedish court allows Jewish couple to homeschool four children

Ruling marks the first time religion has been validated as ‘special circumstance’ for at-home education

JTA — A Swedish court ruled that a Jewish couple in Gothenburg may homeschool four of their children.

A three-judge panel of the city’s Administrative Courts of Appeal said last week that Leah Namdar and Rabbi Alexander Namdar — Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, located on its west coast — may continue to provide education at home for their children.

The Swedish ministry of education ordered the couple last year to register four of their 11 children in the Swedish school system. Swedish law allows homeschooling under “special circumstances,” but prior to the ruling, religion was not considered a special circumstance.

Leah Namdar said that “it was important for us that the court recognize our basic human rights to live according to Torah and mitzvot, and that religious freedom is respected in Sweden.”

She and her husband, who were both born in the United Kingdom, have been living in Gothenburg for the past 20 years, since they opened the first Chabad house in Scandinavia.

Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, head of educational services within the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, said in a statement that Chabad was “grateful” and “gratified” by the verdict.

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