Security concerns force three London Jewish schools to close

On Thursday, three Jewish schools in north London announced that they would be closing for the day, with some of the institutions citing planned demonstrations in support of Hamas.

One set of parents received a message from their children's school advising them to keep their children indoors due to "the potential of violence on the streets."

Parents have received letters from the Barnet schools Menorah High School, Torah Vodaas Primary School, and Ateres Beis Yaakov informing them of the schools' plans to close down.

According to the Community Security Trust, a charity that offers guidance on matters of safety to Jewish communities in the United Kingdom, schools should not close.

It was "in view of the planned protests" on Friday, according to the head teacher of Menorah High School for Girls, which is a state secondary school for girls with 389 students in total.

Esther Pearlman addressed the issue with the parents in a letter to the sources.

She mentioned that the parents must be aware that this difficult decision has been made due to the risk of street violence.

Since the girls are not in school, the police are concerned that there is a chance they may venture outside and have asked us to inform you that it is your responsibility to keep your children inside.

During this time, the parents of children attending Torah Vodaas Primary School, a boys' school with a total enrollment of 372 students, were informed that their children had received guidance from Rabbi Avrohom Gurwitz, an influential figure in the Jewish Haredi community.

Even though there is not a specific danger to our school at this time, I do not think we should have class tomorrow.

It is not a decision that has been made lightly, but we need to do what is best for our lovely children, this decision was not made carelessly as we recognize the difficulties and expectations it places on you.” According to the letter that was seen by the sources. 

In spite of the concerns, a representative for the Community Security Trust (CST) emphasized that the recommendation from the organization was for schools to continue functioning as normal regardless of the situation.

The CST's ongoing advice to Jewish educational institutions is for Jewish life to carry on as usual, and for schools to keep operating as usual. 

In addition to the safety precautions that have already been taken, the government has announced that it will provide an additional £3 million toward the cost of security guarding at Jewish schools.

This is in addition to the steps that have already been taken. This is in reference to a declaration made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that additional funding will be granted to protect Jewish community buildings such as schools, synagogues, and other communal structures.

The money is going to be provided to the CST, which has reported 139 antisemitic events in the past four days, which is also a fourfold rise in comparison to the same time period in 2022.