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September 24, 2017 11:46 am

New York Times Column Ignores Rabbi Sacks Role in Trinity School Overhaul

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Photo: Office of Rabbi Sacks.

A British rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has inspired the head of one of Manhattan’s oldest, fanciest, and best historically Christian private schools to overhaul its school culture and curriculum.

And the New York Times managed to write an entire column about the situation that totally and completely omits the rabbi’s role.

The Times “Big City” column, by Ginia Bellafante, appears under the provocative headline “Can Prep Schools Fight the Class War?”

It’s about Trinity School, whose logo features a cross and whose name describes the Christian concept of God. The school was originally funded by and affiliated with Trinity Church, which was part of the Church of England. Despite its name and logo the school is no longer sectarian.

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The Times column is about a letter to parents by the Trinity head of school, John Allman. Six paragraphs of the letter, totaling about a quarter of the words, are about Rabbi Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Britain. Allman credits Rabbi Sacks with making a distinction between contract and convenant. In Allman’s summary of Rabbi Sacks’ book The Home We Build Together:

Contract is about entitlement; covenant is about fulfillment.

The contractual view of school is that families pay fees in exchange for the educational skills and credentials their children seek; the covenantal view of school is that families enter into a partnership with the school to build a learning community in which their children will develop their potential to serve others.

There’s a good story here about what an amazing world we live in that the Trinity School in Manhattan is having its culture and curriculum changes driven by the vision of a British rabbi. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it’s not a story that the Times seems interested in telling.

This same Times columnist was more than happy to write about Orthodox Jews in a column depicting them as welfare sponges. Yet when an Orthodox Jew inspires positive change at a Manhattan private school, the columnist somehow can’t find the space to acknowledge his role.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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