Head of home-schooling association tells trial Jewish education rigorous but only for boys

Clara Wasserstein, left, and Yochonon Lowen arrive at courthouse in Montreal, Monday, February 10, 2020. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The head of a Jewish home-schooling association is telling a Montreal courtroom that the rigorous Talmudic education offered by the Hasidic community prepares a child for any possible career.

Abraham Ekstein testified today in a case brought by Yochonon Lowen and Clara Wasserstein, two former members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who claim the province and several Hasidic schools failed to provide them with a proper education.

READ MORE: Former student of Hasidic school tells trial she was exempted from secular studies at age 13

Ekstein says the ultra-Orthodox community in Quebec teaches children to be analytical and to think logically, which he says are critical skills for virtually any job.

But during cross-examination, he admitted that the Talmudic education is reserved for boys.

READ MORE: Quebec knew about illegal Hasidic religious schools for decades, trial hears

Lowen and Wasserstein, a married couple in their 40s, allege the private Jewish schools run by the Tash community in Boisbriand, north of Montreal, left them unprepared for life in the outside world. They are seeking a judgment declaring the province and the schools violated provincial education laws.

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Ekstein says that under tightened rules, members of the province’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities must now register their children as home-schoolers and their education is monitored by the Education Department.

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