Student expelled from ultra-Orthodox school for loss of faith

21-year-old asked to stop discussing spirituality with fellow students, meet with school psychologist after classmate reported on her religious doubts

The Times of Israel/June 4, 2013

Jerusalem - A student reportedly was expelled from an ultra-Orthodox nursing school in central Israel for doubting her faith.

The student at the Tessler School of Nursing at Laniado Hospital in Netanya, which is affiliated with the Sanz Hasidic movement, expelled Chavi Loyfer, 21, Ynet reported.

Loyfer has transferred to the Shaare Zedek School of Nursing in Jerusalem. She told Ynet that she was considering suing the Tessler School over its handling of the situation.

Loyfer said she was haredi when she entered the school and signed a modesty code. In recent months, however, she began to abandon the haredi lifestyle, though she continued to obey the rules of the school.

A classmate told school officials that Loyfer was having doubts, and she was summoned in front of a spiritual committee, Ynet reported.

Loyfer was honest about her spiritual questioning, and the committee asked her to sign a document of rules created specifically for her, which included a requirement that she not discuss faith issues with the other students. She was also required to meet with a haredi psychologist selected by the school at her own expense.

She would have agreed to the terms, Loyfer told Ynet, but the committee also required her to sign a document allowing the therapist to report on their sessions to the committee. Loyfer refused to sign the form and was removed from the school.

"This is a unique nursing school, and students are aware of the school's conditions," a Tessler School spokesperson told Ynet. "They know that a student who fails to meet the conditions – there are plenty of other institutions she can study in.

In a statement, the Israeli Health Ministry told Ynet, "Had we known about it in real time, we would not have approved the decision to stop the student's studies."

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