Lawyer for Quebec couple urges court to act against ultra-Orthodox Hasidic schools

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

The lawyer for a Quebec couple who left their ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community north of Montreal is telling a courtroom that Jewish schools operating there are illegal and leave no time for secular education.

In his closing arguments today, Bruce Johnston told Superior Court Justice Martin Castonguay that the judge can push the Quebec government to do something to fix the situation.

Johnston represents Yochonon Lowen and Clara Wasserstein, who have filed legal action against the Quebec government and ultra-Orthodox Hasidic schools in Boisbriand, Que.

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

They are not seeking damages, but want a ruling declaring the province and the Hasidic schools violated provincial education laws.

Johnston says the evidence presented at trial shows the schools in that community are either not following Quebec law or are forcing young boys to study religion so intensely that they have no time to learn other subjects.

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Lawyers representing the Quebec government and the Hasidic schools are scheduled to make their closing arguments later today.

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

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