Offending textbook withdrawn from sale

October 28, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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A school textbook which was the subject of a complaint by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies this week has been withdrawn from sale.

Vic Headshot

Vic Alhadeff

The “Cambridge Studies of Religion”, found to contain highly offensive passages in its chapter on Judaism, has been axed by publishers Cambridge University Press.

An independent expert in Judaism will be sought by the company to consult with them on necessary changes before considering a new edition.

Mark O’Neil, the Executive Director of the Cambridge University Press, said: “We will make a decision on whether to re-issue the book following this additionall review process. We are treating these concerns with the utmost seriousness as we strive to ensure we reach the highest standards of academic integrity.

The Cambridge University Press functions as part of the U.K.’s world famous Cambridge University and is a not-for-profit organisation. It has been established for centuries, making available an enormous range of academic and educational books.

The chapter on Judaism in the axed book includes passages such as:

“Much modern conflict in the world is related to the reactions of other groups to the Jewish people”

Passover “involves slaughtering lambs, smearing the lintel on the front door with blood and eating unleavened bread for seven days”.

“While outlawed in many countries, polygamy is commonly practised in Israel tody.”

“The tendency for Jews to choose sophisticated professions such as law, medicine and scholarships is closely connected to Jewish family togetherness.”

Vic Alhadeff, CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, told J-Wire: “The matter was brought to our attention by a teacher in one of the Jewish schools.

We applaud the publishers for their responsible approach to this issue and for recognising that the continued sale of this textbook was untenable, given the extent and severity of the problems within it.

We are in touch with Cambridge University Press and have offered to work together with them in the rewriting of this chapter.”

Alhadeff added: “We have contacted hundreds of schools to make them aware that the book is flawed and should not be used.”


One Response to “Offending textbook withdrawn from sale”
  1. Emes says:

    An interesting article on this issue has been written at

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