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Haredi students (archives) Illustration photo: Gil Lerner
Haredi students (archives) Illustration photo: Gil Lerner

Ashkenazi seminary for Sephardic girls

After Shas leader Aryeh Deri vows to fight discrimination in Ashkenazi religious schools, Lithuanian Orthodox faction announces plan to open seminary for girls of Mizrahi decent

Moshe Heller
Published: 11.13.12, 08:08 / Israel Jewish Scene

Former Minister Aryeh Deri, who joined the Shas party leadership recently, declared war on ultra-Orthodox seminaries discriminating between Ashkenazi and Sephardic girls.


The Orthodox Lithuanian faction's response came several days later, with the announcement of a new Ashkenazi religious school for Sephardic girls. The seminary will be run by Rebbetzin Yocheved Elyahiv, who was accused of racism and discrimination in the past after refusing to take in Sephardic students.


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In an interview to the Kol Barama radio station, Deri announced his plan to launch a war against religious discrimination in haredi educational institutes, especially in academies for girls. He said he would work to shut down the haredi seminaries.


Deri added that he had received permission from the late leader of the Orthodox Lithuanian community, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, to "revoke funds from Ashkenazi institutions discriminating against Sephardim."


In response, the Lithuanian faction announced the establishment of the new seminary for "the daughters of yeshiva students and good families."


Rebbetzin Elyashiv, the late Rabbi Elyashiv's daughter-in-law, will head the seminary alongside the registration committee coordinator, Rabbi Shimon Azarzar. Rabbi Azriel Auerbach, who belongs to the Lithuanian public as well, will serve as educational counselor.


Rebbetzin Elyashiv is best known for refusing to admit the daughter of Attorney Yoav Lalum into the Beit Yaakov school. She was also accused of racism her school students prayed for the recovery of Rabbi Elyashiv but not for the recovery of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Shas. The rebbetzin said in response that the Yosef family had not asked her to hold a prayer for the rabbi at the school.



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