Guide to Jewish family life launched at the Supreme Court

family life

Supreme Court President Lady Hale spoke at the launch of a new guide to Jewish traditions this week.

Jewish Family Life and Customs: A Practical Guide was written for lawyers and judges in need for a concise but reliable introduction when working with Jewish clients or hearing cases which concern Jewish matters. It is an updated and expanded version of a booklet originally published by the Board of Deputies of British Jews in 2006. The guide was drafted by the Board’s Family Law Group.

Lady Hale, who was promoted to the Presidency over the summer, congratulated the Board for producing a guide aimed at “all those legal professionals seeking to understand the Jewish community”.

More than 100 people attended the launch. The President and Vice President of the Board also spoke at the event, along with Eleanor Platt QC, who was a co-editor of the guide.

The latter explained:

“For those legal professionals who work with Jewish clients, or in Jewish contexts, knowing the community’s practices around mourning, or the initiation of boys and girls into greater responsibility, or the Sabbath and festivals, is of important practical use. In addition, an understanding of the social reality that they underpin is also vital.”

She added:

“The regulations of the Jewish Sabbath, for example, may often sound like a series of draconian restrictions around electricity and work. However for those who observe the Sabbath it is, in fact, a positive act. It may be that for up to six days a week they spend most of their time as a wage earner, or a pupil, or dutiful fulfiller of household chores. But for one day a week, they primarily act as a parent or a child or as a member of their community.”

The guide is available here. A printed version is also available on request.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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