Jewish father of five, now living as a woman, loses right to see children

An ultra-orthodox Jewish father, who is now a woman, cannot see her children. Credit: PA

A father of five who was part of an ultra-orthodox Jewish community, but is now living as a woman, has lost a court battle to see her children.

The woman said she wanted to be "sensitively re-introduced" to her children after not seeing them since leaving the North Manchester Charedi Jewish community about 18 months ago.

But her estranged wife said allowing the children to see their father could lead to them being ostracised.

A family court judge ruled in favour of the children's mother - but he said they should be allowed to exchange letters and cards with their father.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson said he had reached his decision "with real regret".

Mr Justice Jackson said the children were aged between 12 and two.

He said he had heard from both parents, analysed evidence about Jewish law and custom and met the oldest child - a boy - before reaching his decision.

"Their parents' marriage ended in June 2015, when their father left home to live as a transgender person," said the judge in his ruling.

"She now lives as a woman and has had no contact with the children since she left.

"Her outward identity was of course male when she was at home and she retains that identity in the minds of the children, and indeed in the mind of the community."

He added: "The reason why the father has had no contact with the children is to be found in the attitude of the community to people in her position."

The children's father had told the judge that community opposition should be "confronted and faced down".