The “Righteous” Rebbitzin, “Limitless Horrors”, “Where’s the Kid” – Yael’s Case and Human Trafficking

Baby Trafficking and Follow Up Commentary –

From the Times of Israel

2. Where’s the kid? And without stealing a baby, which is allegedly what a couple in New York did in a case that was cleared for publication on Wednesday.

  • According to court documents and media reports, the wife of a rabbi from northern Israel was under investigation for her suspected role in having a pregnant woman identified only as “Yael,” who because of an unspecified mental condition was placed under the woman’s care, fly to New York for what she was told was a medical procedure. Instead, she was taken to a local clinic with ties to the local ultra-Orthodox community, where her baby was delivered by C-section and given to a childless couple, who returned with it to Israel.

  • Police believe Yael’s case is not an isolated one, and is part of a human trafficking network that has been operating in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community for some time.

  • The case, called “where’s the kid,” was originally opened because of an expose in Yedioth, but gagged until the court responded to a request by the Walla news site to have the case files opened.

  • “I’ve seen a lot of bad cases and this is the worst. The worst of the worst,” an unnamed “professional” who is close to the case tells the news site.

  • Yedioth describes the case as “limitless horrors.”

  • Meanwhile, Maariv runs a headline quoting the lawyer for the rabbi’s wife calling her “righteous.” “There was no kidnapping,” the attorney is quoted saying.

The Virtual “Kidnapping” of Infants from Young Haredi Girls Impregnated out of Wedlock and the Trafficking of Babies [VIDEO IN HEBREW]

Trafficking of Babies Delivered by Unwed Religious Mothers – Sold to the Families in the US, Israel and Abroad

The following are a series of articles in English and Hebrew made pubic after the  lifting of an 18-month gag order on any press releases of information related to the story of a baby trafficking ring between Israel and the US and other countries.

In 2016 we suggested in articles, based upon information we had received from members of the Kiryas Joel community (n/k/a Palm Tree, NY), that there were/are similar situations that were or are occurring in Kiryas Joel. We had been told by members of the community that foreigners were being brought in as nannies and maids and then impregnated to increase family size and the genetic pool. The babies were then being adopted by the Haredi families, not necessarily with the consent of the foreign mothers who, as we understand, were threatened with deportation if they spoke up. We were told that if they cooperated they were able to raise their own children but under the auspices of the families in which they reside and of course the babies were born Americans and listed as children born to the family. As such these nannies would then never have claim to their children, an indentured servitude of sorts. We were not able to find anyone willing to speak out publicly so providing any more details than what we did at the time was not possible.

In a similar set of investigations, we had been told that babies were being “adopted” from unwed mothers throughout the Haredi community by families within the community, either in the US or abroad, who either wanted to increase their family size or who could not get pregnant. The details of the ‘arrangement’ ranged from babies being sold to babies being legitimately adopted. At the time, the costs of these “arrangements” were well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The problem with young unwed mothers is not uncommon to all walks of life. However, within the insular ultra-Orthodox community it raises scandal. In vitro fertilization is not entirely accepted amongst all within the Haredi community and adopting Jewish babies out to non-Jewish or for that matter non-religious families is, was and will always be a non-starter when there is an unwanted pregnancy within the Haredi community, leaving limited options.

We have been told that babies in the ordinary course born into that community are often born by midwives; and it is not uncommon for families to deliver babies without the knowledge of doctors regarding the pregnancy, particularly where unwed mothers are concerned. Many midwives from within that community certify to the births; so finding midwives who would certify to slightly misrepresented facts is also not uncommon. The same holds true of a subset of hospitals or medical clinics within the community or regarded by the community as acceptable. As such, if a baby suddenly appeared, allegedly born at home, it would not be difficult to obtain a birth certificate or proper legal documentation, even if the baby was not born into the family as alleged.

The piece of the story we had not completed at the time was the child trafficking allegations,  instances where children were being stolen from unwed mothers and sold to families either in Israel or the US for a price, a “handling fee.” 

The attached video, in Hebrew, describes the scenario: a young girl got pregnant out of wedlock, she was kept from public eye through most of the pregnancy. At around the time when the baby was due, it was delivered by Cesarean section and then taken from her before she was conscious enough to ask question. All of the documents requiring her signature were signed while she was barely conscious. In her case, the baby was adopted for a “handling fee.” 

When asked by the journalist on the video if this is common, the guest said that he had access to the DNA of at least 9 instances in which this type of scenario played out but that he felt it was far more widespread. 

As described in the video this is a multi-milion dollar industry and it is suggested that this is fairly widespread within the Haredi community when young girls get pregnant in a manner that is not deemed to be kosher. The journalist was a bit surprised by the relative frequency described by the guest, Avi Lehrer.

According to information we have verified, the entire process is viewed as acceptable because it serves to prevent shame being brought upon the family, it is a lucrative business endeavor, the babies are sent to live with “reputable and religious families” and it is a relatively easy process given the ways in which children are born into the community (consistent with information provided to us in 2016/2017.

The commentator asked Mr. Lehrer if he believed that the adoptive parents know that the adoption is not legal and he said he felt fairly strongly that it is likely that adoptive parents know what they are getting into, in essence, purchasing babies. When asked by the commentator the value of each baby, Mr. Lehrer said $250,000.00.

The following are the articles that have reached the news as of today.

[updated 11.July.2019]

BABY TRAFFICKING

Police probe suspected baby trafficking ring

The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court has partially lifted a media gag order on a nearly two-year investigation into a suspected baby trafficking ring in the ultra-Orthodox community.

The police opened their investigation into the suspected adoption scheme in mid-2017 after an undercover investigation by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily detailed claims by an ultra-Orthodox woman who said her infant son was taken from her and given up for adoption against her will.

On Wednesday, the court revealed that police were probing the wife of a rabbi from northern Israel for her suspected role in kidnapping the newborn baby of the mother, who is identified in court documents as “Yael.”

Yael, who was placed under the legal guardianship of the rabbi’s wife due to an unspecified mental illness, told police that in 2016 when she was eight months pregnant, the rabbi’s wife persuaded her to travel to New York for a medical procedure.

After arriving at an unnamed local hospital linked to the ultra-Orthodox community, Yael said her baby boy was delivered via cesarean section, and immediately afterwards, she was pressured into signing documents she did not understand.

Yael said her son was taken away from her at the hospital and given to a childless ultra-Orthodox couple, who then returned to Israel. She says she has not seen her son since.

Yedioth reported in 2017 that Yael’s traffickers charged a $100,000-$150,000 “handling fee” for each adoption they facilitated.

In addition to investigating the adoption, the court documents showed that authorities are reviewing if the adoption was legal and if the boy, now 3, should be returned to his biological mother.

Police recently detained the rabbi’s wife along with two other suspects, but all three have since been released to house arrest.

The rabbi’s wife denied arranging Yael’s trip to New York, as well as any involvement in the child’s adoption.

However, police believe Yael’s case is not an isolated one, and is part of a human trafficking network that has been operating in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community for some time.

To Continue reading click here.

Police investigating Israeli baby trafficking case involving rabbi’s wife

After years of investigation, the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court allowed the partial publication of a case centering around a baby trafficking ring headed by the wife of a rabbi from northern Israel, Maariv reported.

The rabbi’s wife served as the guardian of a young Haredi woman who was in advanced pregnancy at the time.
The young woman was taken abroad by the rabbi’s wife and then brought to a hidden apartment where she gave birth. Her baby was then given to a foreign family. The main charge at the moment is that the rabbi’s wife used her court-given mandate as guardian of the young woman in order to take her abroad and to give the baby to strangers.
The rabbi’s wife has denied the charges and said she wasn’t involved in the transfer of the baby to adoption at all. She added that the trip abroad was in order to give the young woman a chance to redefine herself after being hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital in Israel, according to Maariv.
The adoptive family turned out to be an Israeli couple from an affluent family and the police figure that the rabbi’s wife made contact with them through agents. The police and prosecution are still debating whether or not the case is criminal and this is why the case was under a gag order for the past two years.
To continue reading click here.

ARTICLES IN HEBREW:

פרשת החטיפה והסחר בתינוקות: “החוטפים עדיין מסתובבים חופשי”

חדשות פלילים ומשפט

הותר לפרסום: נחשפה פרשה בינלאומית של סחר בתינוקות

https://www.maariv.co.il/news/law/Article-707590

Two of the World’s Most Brilliant Legal Minds, Jeffrey Epstein, a Feud and the Underage Girls who were Victimized

miamiherald.clip.
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article222091270.html

Dershowitz v. Boies: Jeffrey Epstein case unleashes war between two legal Goliaths

It’s a high-stakes war between two of the country’s most powerful lawyers. Their feud, simmering for years, involves accusations of extortion, surreptitious recordings, unethical conduct and underage sex trafficking.

Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz has filed four bar complaints in three states — all of which have been dismissed — in a quest to disqualify lawyer David Boies and one of his partners who represent a woman accusing Dershowitz of sexually abusing her when she was underage, newly filed court records show.

The pugnacious Dershowitz, 80, and the equally zealous Boies, 78, have been sparring for decades. In recent years, both have suffered damage to their storied legacies, making this latest clash between the two legal titans one of the most important of their half-century careers.

Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and one of the nation’s most iconic civil libertarians, has defended such notorious clients as Claus von Bulow, Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson. But after four decades of legal accolades, he is now facing a sex scandal and is forced to clear his own name at a time when he’s being confronted by a barrage of attacks on social media as one of the most fervent legal defenders of President Donald Trump.

Boies has embraced high-profile liberal causes and made history with landmark court cases: He represented Al Gore in the Florida recount dispute in the 2000 election, which he lost; successfully defended press freedom in a lawsuit involving “60 Minutes”; and in 2013 secured a Supreme Court victory overturning a California ban on same-sex marriage.

But Boies’ image has also been tarnished in recent years by his aggressive, and often ruthless, representation of controversial clients such as Hollywood film mogul and accused sex predator Harvey Weinstein and Elizabeth Holmes, founder of a blood-testing company that allegedly defrauded investors and clients.

Dershowitz’s bar complaints — disclosed here for the first time — provide a window into the behind-the-scenes legal drama between two of the world’s most brilliant lawyers. It also reveals new details about an explosive sex trafficking case involving Dershowitz’s former client, Jeffrey Epstein, a New York multimillionaire who, according to investigators, molested more than three dozen girls in Palm Beach in the years 1999 to 2006.

David%20Boies.jpg

David Boies’ fame was cemented by his advocacy in many high-profile cases, including arguing Bush v. Gore in front of the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Democrat. He has also represented Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, who accused both Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz of having sex with her at Epstein’s direction. Andrew Harrer Bloomberg

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Epstein to Face Federal Underage Sex Trafficking Charges (Many Years too Late)

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Billionaire-Jeffrey-Epstein-to-Face-Judge-Monday_New-York-512327042.html

220px-Jeffrey_Epstein_mug_shot

Who Is Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Expected to Face Federal Underage Sex Trafficking Charges in NYC?

 

Investigators collected evidence from the Upper East Side home of billionaire Jeffery Epstein. Ida Siegal reports.

(Published Sunday, July 7, 2019)

Jeffrey Epstein’s background, his past guilty plea, his connections to high-profile U.S. and foreign government leaders and his federal non-prosecution agreement have been continually reported on for nearly a decade. But who is this billionaire, who owns an island and is expected to face federal underage sex trafficking charges in New York City? Here’s a primer on the man — and how we got here.

WHO IS JEFFREY EPSTEIN?

Jeffrey Epstein was born January 20, 1953, and has reportedly made his billions first as an options trader in the late 70s working for the now defunct Bear Stearns and later as an investor for his own financial management firm. One of his routes to success, according to an interview in Vanity Fair, was to be the primary investor and money manager for Limited Brands founder Leslie Wexner. (Limited Brands owns Victoria’s Secret, PINK, and Bath & Body Works). Epstein apparently parlayed his wealth and his success to go on to establish numerous political and social contacts in the Palm Beach area and across the globe.

Some of those political connections include President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton. Trump spoke of Epstein in a 2002 interview with New York Magazine saying, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy, adding, “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Arrested: Sources

[NY] Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Arrested: Sources

Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy, politically connected Florida financier, was arrested in New York on Saturday evening on sex trafficking charges, sources tell NBC 4 New York.

(Published Saturday, July 6, 2019)

Former President Clinton flew on one of Epstein’s planes on several occasions according to flight records reviewed by NBC News.

Epstein maintains addresses on his own island in St. Thomas, the Upper East Side in New York City, Paris, New Mexico, and Palm Beach, according to his sex offender registration in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement index.

He has a Rolls Royce, a Bentley, several Harley Davidson motorcycles, and nine Mercedes-Benzs registered or owned in his name, according to Florida law enforcement records reviewed by NBC News.

THE EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION

Jeffrey Epstein was formally put under investigation by the Palm Beach Police Department on March 15, 2005. According to a Palm Beach Police Department case file obtained by NBC News through a public records request,  investigators sought to charge Epstein, and his assistants Sarah Kellen and Haley Robson with crimes tied to Epstein’s alleged sexual behavior with underage girls at his home. According to the police files, Palm Beach investigators interviewed five victims and 17 witnesses.

The police files state that Epstein brought the women to his house under the guise that they would give him massages. Police say those massages would turn sexual. Some of the underage victims told police that Epstein would use sex toys on them while he received a “massage.” In another instance, one girl was allegedly paid to have sex with one of Epstein’s female assistants.

One witness stated that Epstein had a dozen roses sent to the local high school for one of the girls who allegedly had given Epstein a massage. According to the police files, a former housekeeper told law enforcement that  Epstein would receive three massages a day.

The files also state that Epstein would pay the victims $200-$1,000 per massage and that Epstein had several covert cameras installed in clocks in his residence.

Ultimately, by the spring of 2006, the Palm Beach Police Department sought to have Epstein arrested and charged with four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and lewd and lascivious molestation.

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Education and Substantial Equivalence Language, New York State – Comment Submission Period

Comments Should be Submitted to:

Christina Coughlin, NY Education Department, SORIS, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 1075 EBA, Albany, NY 12234, (518) 474-7206, email:seregcomments@nysed.gov

Substantially Equivalent Instruction for Nonpublic School Students

NY-ADR

7/3/19 N.Y. St. Reg. EDU-27-19-00010-P
NEW YORK STATE REGISTER
VOLUME XLI, ISSUE 27
July 03, 2019
RULE MAKING ACTIVITIES
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
PROPOSED RULE MAKING
NO HEARING(S) SCHEDULED
I.D No. EDU-27-19-00010-P

Substantially Equivalent Instruction for Nonpublic School Students

PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE State Administrative Procedure Act, NOTICE is hereby given of the following proposed rule:
Proposed Action:
Addition of Part 130 to Title 8 NYCRR.
Statutory authority:
Education Law, sections 207, 215, 305(1), (2), 3204(1), (2), (3), 3205(1), 3210(2) and 3234
Subject:
Substantially Equivalent Instruction for Nonpublic School Students.
Purpose:
Provide guidance to local school authorities to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities under the Compulsory Education Law.
Substance of proposed rule (Full text is posted at the following State website: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/rules/full-text-indices):
The purpose of the proposed regulation is to provide guidance to local school authorities (LSAs) to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities under Education Law §§ 3204, 3205, and 3210 in determining whether students in nonpublic schools are receiving instruction that is at least substantially equivalent to the instruction being provided to students of like age and attainments at the public schools. The intent of the substantial equivalency process is to ensure that all students receive the education to which they are entitled under the law. The substantial equivalency process must be a collaborative effort between LSAs and nonpublic schools.
The proposed regulation requires LSAs to make substantial equivalency determinations for all nonpublic schools within their geographical boundaries, except registered high schools, state-approved private special education schools, state-operated and state-supported schools, which are already subject to Department review, and nonpublic schools for which the Commissioner is required to make a substantial equivalency determination pursuant to Education Law § 3204(2)(ii)-(iii). Pursuant to Education Law § 3204(2)(ii)-(iii), the Commissioner is responsible for making final determinations on substantial equivalency reviews for nonpublic schools that meet the enumerated statutory criteria.
For schools that meet the statutory criteria for a Commissioner’s determination, LSAs must review such schools for substantial equivalency and forward a recommendation and supporting documentation to the Commissioner for his/her final determination.
The Department is proposing the following recommended timelines:
• New nonpublic schools that open on or after the effective date of the proposed regulation must be reviewed and all recommendations and final determinations should be made within three years of when the nonpublic school commences instruction and regularly thereafter.
• Existing nonpublic schools that are operating on the effective date of the proposed regulation must be reviewed and all recommendations and final determinations should be made by the end of the 2022-2023 school year or as soon as practicable thereafter and regularly thereafter.
The proposed regulation also recommends regular contact and communication between public and nonpublic schools, in an effort to keep each other informed of important updated information.
The proposed regulation states that substantial equivalency reviews and determinations should be conducted in a flexible and inclusive manner and should be the result of a collaboration between the LSA and the nonpublic school. Five core principles, defined in the regulation, are essential to the review process: objective, mindful, sensitive, respectful, and consistent.
The proposed regulation sets forth a recommended procedure for substantial equivalency reviews. Prior to commencing a substantial equivalency review, the LSA, after consulting with the nonpublic school, shall determine whether the Commissioner is responsible for making the final determination pursuant to Education Law § 3204(2)(ii) or (iii), or whether the LSA is responsible for making such final determination. Except for registered nonpublic high schools, state-approved private special education schools, state-operated schools and state supported schools, the superintendent or his/her designee (which may include a BOCES, where authorized under § 1950 of the Education Law) should review all nonpublic schools in the LSA’s geographic boundaries, including nonpublic schools that meet the criteria for a Commissioner’s determination, and, in conducting such reviews, the LSA must use the criteria outlined in the proposed regulation. For schools that meet the criteria for a Commissioner’s final determination, the LSA conducts the review using the appropriate criteria and makes a recommendation to the Commissioner for his/her final determination.
The proposed regulation recommends that a substantial equivalency review should be conducted by a team of at least two individuals, including individuals with expertise in instruction and the ability to communicate well with the nonpublic school community.
The proposed regulation sets forth a recommended procedure for LSAs to render determinations regarding substantial equivalency. If there are concerns about the substantial equivalency of the instruction, the proposed regulation recommends, among other things, that the LSA and nonpublic school work collaboratively to develop a clear plan and timeline, including benchmarks and targets, for attainting substantial equivalency in an amount of time that is reasonable given the concerns identified. The proposed regulation indicates that services must continue to nonpublic school students during any period for attaining substantial equivalency.
If, after the consultation described above, the concerns identified are addressed appropriately, the following steps should occur:
• the superintendent or his/her designee should inform the board of education in writing that the nonpublic school appears to be at least substantially equivalent.
• the LSA should send written notification to the administration of the nonpublic school and provide a letter for the nonpublic school to distribute to parents;
• the LSA must notify SORIS of the positive determination; and
• the superintendent or designee should share the positive finding with superintendents of school districts in which the nonpublic school’s students reside.
If, after the consultation described above, the concerns cannot be remedied or if the nonpublic school does not make the changes necessary to achieve substantial equivalency, the following steps should occur:
• The superintendent or designee should notify the board of education that the nonpublic school does not appear to be substantially equivalent, and the board of education will vote and make a final determination in a regularly scheduled, public board meeting.
• The LSA should notify nonpublic school administration of the date that the board of education will consider the matter of substantial equivalency.
• The nonpublic school should be provided an opportunity to present additional relevant materials and/or a written statement to the board of education prior to its determination.
• The LSA must provide written notification to the administration of the nonpublic school and the parents or persons in parental relationship to students attending the nonpublic school of such determination and that the students will be considered truant if they continue to attend that school.
• The board must provide a reasonable timeframe, giving due consideration to the statutory and regulatory timeframes for services to nonpublic school students, for parents or persons in parental relationship to identify and enroll their children in a different appropriate educational setting, consistent with Education Law § 3204.
• SORIS must be notified of the negative determination in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner.
• Required services to the nonpublic school and must continue until the end of the reasonable timeframe.
• Student records shall be managed consistent with section 104.2 of this Title.
Additionally, the proposed regulation requires LSAs to report the following information to SORIS by September 1, 2020 and each September 1 thereafter:
• List of all nonpublic schools within the LSA’s geographical boundaries.
• List of all nonpublic schools in LSA’s boundaries that are state-approved private special education schools, state-operated schools, and state-supported schools.
• List of all the nonpublic schools in the LSA’s boundaries that are registered high schools pursuant to 8 NYCRR 100.2(p).
• List of all the nonpublic schools that are in the LSA’s boundaries that are not state-approved private special education schools, state-supported schools, state-operated schools, or registered high schools and are subject to Commissioner’s review pursuant to Education Law § 3204(2)(ii)-(iii).
• A list of the remaining nonpublic schools identified in the LSA’s boundaries for which the LSA is responsible for making the final substantial equivalency determination.
The proposed regulation also requires that, commencing on September 1, 2024 and each September 1 thereafter, LSAs must submit an attestation that they:
• Made a final substantial equivalency determination for each nonpublic school in their geographic area subject to their final determination, and
• Forwarded a substantial equivalency recommendation to the Commissioner for each nonpublic school in their geographic area that is subject to a final determination by the Commissioner.
The proposed regulation includes procedures for the Commissioner’s determination of substantial equivalency. For nonpublic schools for which the Commissioner is required to make a final determination, the LSA must conduct a review and forward its recommendation regarding substantial equivalency and all relevant documentation to support its recommendation to the Commissioner. The proposed regulation sets forth procedures for when a school subject to a Commissioner’s determination appears not to be substantially equivalent and for when the Commissioner renders a positive or negative substantial equivalency determination. Such procedures are similar to those described above for LSAs to follow when making a final determination.
The proposed regulation provides that, when making a substantial equivalency determination, an LSA, and the Commissioner, when he/she is responsible for making the final determination, must consider the following criteria:
• Instruction given only by a competent teacher.
• English is the language of instruction for common branch subjects.
• Appropriate programs for students who have limited English proficiency.
• Accreditation materials should be taken into account if a nonpublic school has been accredited within the last five years.
• Whether the instructional program in the nonpublic school incorporates instruction in the following subjects:
o during grades 1 through 6, mathematics, including arithmetic, science, and technology; English language arts; social studies; the arts; career development and occupational studies; health education, physical education, and family and consumer sciences. Instruction in these subjects may be integrated or incorporated into the syllabus or syllabi of other courses;
o during grades 7 and 8, mathematics (two units of study); English language arts (two units of study); social studies (two units of study); science (two units of study); career and technical education, wherein the unit of study requirement may be initiated in grade 5 (one and three-fourths units of study); physical education (similar courses of instruction to those required in public schools pursuant to section 135.4 of this Title); health education (one-half unit of study); visual arts (one-half unit of study); music (one-half unit of study); library and information skills, which may in incorporated or integrated into any other subjects (the equivalent of one period per week in grades 7 and 8); career development and occupational studies, which may be incorporated or integrated into any other subjects;
o during grades 9 through 12, instruction in English (four units of study); social studies (four units of study); mathematics (three units of study); science (three units of study); health (one-half unit of study); physical education (two units of study); the arts (one unit of study);
• Whether the nonpublic school meets other statutory instructional requirements, including requirements pursuant to Education Law §§ 305(52), 801, 803(4), 804, 806, 807, 808, 3204(3), (5); and 8 NYCRR §§ 100.2(c)(1), 100.2(c)(3)-(7), 100.2(c)(11).
• Pursuant to Education Law § 3204 for nonpublic elementary and middle schools subject to a Commissioner’s final determination pursuant to Education Law § 3204(2)(ii), the LSA, when making a recommendation and the Commissioner in his/her final determination, must take into consideration whether the school’s instructional program meets the criteria set forth in Education Law § 3204(2)(ii).
• For nonpublic high schools that meet the criteria for a Commissioner’s final determination pursuant to Education Law § 3204(2)(iii), the Commissioner and the LSA making a recommendation to the Commissioner will take into consideration whether the curriculum provides academically rigorous instruction that develops critical thinking skills in the school’s students, the outcomes of which, taking into account the entirety of the curriculum, result in a sound basic education.
The proposed regulation also sets forth the rights and responsibilities of parents and persons in a parental relationship to nonpublic school students, LSAs and nonpublic school leaders related to substantial equivalency determinations.
For the full text of the regulation, please refer to our website at http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/rules/full-text-indices.
Text of proposed rule and any required statements and analyses may be obtained from:
Kirti Goswami, NYS Education Department, Office of Counsel, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 112, Albany, NY 12234, (518) 474-6400, email: legal@nysed.gov
Data, views or arguments may be submitted to:
Christina Coughlin, NY Education Department, SORIS, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 1075 EBA, Albany, NY 12234, (518) 474-7206, email:seregcomments@nysed.gov
Public comment will be received until:
60 days after publication of this notice.
This rule was not under consideration at the time this agency submitted its Regulatory Agenda for publication in the Register.
Summary of Regulatory Impact Statement (Full text is posted at the following State website: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/rulesandregs):
1. STATUTORY AUTHORITY:
Education Law 207 grants general rule-making authority to the Board of Regents to carry into effect the laws and policies of the State relating to education.
Education Law 215 authorizes the Commissioner to require schools and school districts to submit reports containing such information as Commissioner shall prescribe.
Education Law 305(1) empowers the Commissioner of Education to be the chief executive officer of the State system of education and the Board of Regents and authorizes the Commissioner to enforce laws relating to the educational system and to execute educational policies determined by the Board of Regents. Education Law section 305(2) authorizes the Commissioner to have general supervision over all schools subject to the Education Law.
Education Law 3204(1) provides that minors required to attend upon instruction pursuant to the Compulsory Education Law may attend at a public school or elsewhere.
Education Law 3204(2) requires, among other things, that instruction may be given only be a competent teacher, English shall be the language of instruction, and that instruction in nonpublic schools must be at least substantially equivalent to the instruction given to minors of like age and attainments at the public schools. Paragraph (ii) of that section requires the Commissioner to make final substantial equivalency determinations regarding (1) nonpublic elementary and middles schools that are non-profit corporations, have a bi-lingual program, and have an educational program that extends from no later than nine a.m. until no earlier than four p.m. for grades one through three, and no earlier than five thirty p.m. for grades four through eight, on the majority of weekdays and (2) nonpublic high schools that are established for pupils in high school who have graduated from an elementary school that provides instruction as described in Education Law 3204(2), are a non-profit corporation, have a bi-lingual program, and have an educational program that extends from no later than nine a.m. until no earlier than six p.m. on the majority of weekdays.
Education Law 3204(3) provides for required courses of study in the public schools and authorizes the State Education Department to alter such required subjects of instruction.
Education Law 3205(1) requires each child of compulsory school age to attend upon full time day instruction.
Education Law section 3210(2) provides the amount and character of required attendance for nonpublic school students, with the exception that a child may be permitted to attend for a shorter school day and/or year if the instruction received has been approved by the local school authorities as being substantially equivalent in amount and quality to that required by the Compulsory Education Law.
Education Law section 3234 gives the Commissioner authority to supervise enforcement of the Compulsory Education Law by withholding public school moneys for certain failures to enforce the Compulsory Education Law.

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Education in New York – Taxpayer Subsidizing Yeshiva Education Without Standards – PEARLS Statement

PEARLS: Statement on New Education Department’s Proposed Regulations

As the New York Department of Education continues to attempt to establish and enforce guidelines for private schools, PEARLS, which advocates for Frum Schools in NY has released the following statement:

The regulations proposed by the State Education Department disregard the concerns expressed by more than 1,000 private schools from every segment of the nonpublic school community.

The proposed regulations disregard the long history of success demonstrated by private schools across New York State, they undermine the choices made by parents who choose private schools for their children, and they substitute the education bureaucracy in Albany for the private school leadership sought by parents and students.

The regulations proposed today are nothing more than a repackaging of the guidelines that were opposed by the entire private school community last Fall and declared null and void by the Albany Supreme Court this Spring. It is disappointing that the State Education Department failed to engage in dialogue with private school leaders prior to issuing these proposed regulations.

We remain willing to work collaboratively with the State Education Department. But we will continue to oppose SED’s attempt to impose top-down mandates on hundreds of thousands of private school children across the State. These proposed regulations will not be any more successful than the failed and rejected guidelines they replaced. We therefore urge SED to work with the private school community in a manner that respects the success, autonomy, history and purpose of private schools.

The recreation of Jewish life and learning in the United States after the destruction of the Holocaust was nothing short of miraculous. In 1944, there were two dozen Jewish schools in New York, with no more than 5000 students. Today, there are 165,000 students enrolled in more than 400 Jewish elementary and high schools in New York. State regulations cannot be allowed to hinder our mission or hamper our growth.

 

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Kushner Cos and The Distressed Properties it Owns in Manhattan – Reason to Stick with What You Know

Debt, Conflict and Vacancy Imperil Kushners’ Times Square Dream

Jared Kushner’s family averted disaster last year when a Canadian asset manager swooped in to buy their skyscraper in midtown Manhattan, which had been hemorrhaging millions of dollars. Now they’re facing a similar crisis a few blocks away.

At the former New York Times building on West 43rd Street, a graying property in Times Square, the pattern is uncannily similar: Buy at a steep price, pile on too much debt, run up big losses, fight with tenants and flirt with default.

It’s the latest example of overreach for a family that built a fortune on suburban rental properties, only to have its urban ambitions stymied. Kushner Cos. bought the first six floors of the Times building for $296 million in 2015, envisioning a multifloor amusement park in the heart of Times Square. Four years later, a toxic brew of debt, conflict and vacancies has put their investment in jeopardy.

Bright signage for several touristy attractions is displayed outside Kushner's building in Times Square.
Tenants at the Kushner-owned property include a bowling alley, a guitar store and an ocean-themed exhibit.
 Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Think of the building as a vertical mall with three-story neon signs beckoning tourists. There are tenants the Kushners inherited: a sprawling sushi restaurant, a below-ground Guitar Center store and a two-story bowling alley with thumping music. And ones they brought in—in the basement, National Geographic Encounter, an exhibit about oceans with humpback whales and sea lions cavorting on digital screens; on the second floor, Gulliver’s Gate, featuring detailed miniatures of the Colossus of Rhodes, the Empire State Building, Jerusalem’s Western Wall and other famous sites, complete with miniature trains and glowing skyscrapers.

The Kushners’ new tenants have a few things in common, including ticket prices exceeding $30, underwhelming crowds and financial trouble. The National Geographic exhibit has paid only partial rent since August, and the Kushners are looking for a new tenant. Gulliver’s Gate paid irregularly, prompting a legal battle that resulted in its rent being cut by almost half this year. Take a walk around the back of the building, and there’s a dusty unfinished space meant for a champagne bar. It never opened. Kushner Cos. has traded lawsuits with the proprietor, an operator of airport restaurants that is alleging fraud, claims the Kushners have denied.

A spokeswoman for the National Geographic exhibit confirmed that the attraction wasn’t paying full rent, but she declined to provide details. Gulliver’s Gate founder Michael Langer said he was “happy we were able to work together for an amicable agreement.” A spokesman for OHM Concession Group, which leased space for the champagne bar, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Leased tenants at 229 West 43rd St. at time of 2016 loan

Current tenants

Rental income lower than projected in 2016

Currently empty

Office Condo

4th floor

Bowlmor Lanes

After trading lawsuits, got rent cut by nearly half

3rd floor

2nd floor

Gulliver’s Gate

Haru Sushi

Ground

floor

Los Tacos No. 1

American Market

by Todd English

Never moved in

Cellar

floor

Replaced by The Ribbon

Guy’s American Kitchen+Bar

National Geographic Ocean

Encounter

Hasn’t paid full rent since August 2018

Subcellar

floor

Guitar Center

Sources: Loan prospectus, Bloomberg research

The missteps have added up. Kushner Cos. assumed that all these tenants would be paying rent when it piled $370 million of loans onto the building in an October 2016 refinancing, most of it from Deutsche Bank AG. In March, the company defaulted on one high-interest chunk of its debt to other lenders, and the property has often run at a loss after accounting for loan payments, according to data compiled from disclosures to investors. While there’s always room for improvement, spaces for so-called experiential retailers require custom designs and can take years to fill.

The story of how the Kushner family purchased a Times Square building only to see it founder during an economic boom is one of zealous overconfidence and a passion for trophy properties, according to more than a dozen people interviewed by Bloomberg News. It’s also a tale of how the real estate market encourages excessive risk-taking, rewarding those who use steep leverage on speculative properties even as they pass potential losses to others. Most of the debt on the Times building has been transferred to investors – it’s their problem now. Meanwhile, Kushner Cos. allocated some of the loan to pay itself $59 million, according to public filings.

Wells Fargo & Co., which manages the loan, has placed it on a watchlist for troubled debt and taken control of the property’s accounts. At one point, the building also drew the attention of federal prosecutors. The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York subpoenaed records about the refinancing in 2017. What investigators were looking for, whether the Kushners were a subject and if the matter is ongoing is unclear. Spokesmen for Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo declined to comment, as did Jared Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell. Representatives for Kushner Cos. didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment.

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Top: National Geographic’s exhibit, where the fish are digital. Bottom: The shoe-rental counter at Bowlmor Lanes.
Photographers: Bryan Bedder/Getty and Yeong-Ung Yang/The New York Times

The former Times building and Kushner Cos. were both struggling when they came together in 2015. The 18-story landmark with a mansard roof had been the newspaper’s headquarters for almost a century, until the company moved a few blocks away in 2007. That same year, Africa Israel Investments Ltd. bought the building at 229 West 43rd St. for $525 million and began searching for a way to repurpose it, exploring everything from luxury condos to a Disney-themed hotel. When those plans fizzled, the company, led by Russian-Israeli diamond merchant Lev Leviev, decided to sell part of the site as a retail complex.

The rapid growth of internet shopping made many real estate investors skeptical. But Charles Kushner, founder of the company that bears his name and father of now-presidential adviser Jared Kushner, was still bullish on retail when Leviev’s brokers pitched him. He had reason for his optimism. In 2011, as Kushner Cos. was straining under a mountain of debt at its 666 Fifth Ave. skyscraper, selling the building’s stores for $1 billion helped pay off some of it and buy time.

Four years later, 666 Fifth Ave. was again operating at a loss. The Kushners were supposed to have improved the property and raised rents. Instead, they had been shopping a plan to knock it down and build a glittering high-rise twice as tall with a five-story shopping center at its base.

The Kushners needed an infusion of cash, and the bottom six floors of the Times building offered a tantalizing opportunity. Tens of thousands of peoplewalk by daily. The building was about half leased, but if the family could fill it quickly and bolster its rent rolls, Kushner Cos. could refinance at a higher valuation, taking any gains as profit.

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