Federal investigators are questioning leaders in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community in their expanding inquiry into Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising practices, multiple sources told The Post.
Rabbi and political fund-raiser Moishe Indig was questioned by FBI agents on Wednesday. Indig referred them to his attorney but agents seized one of his cellphones, the sources said.
“They told him, ‘It’s all about Bill,’ and they want more information from him,” said one source close to Indig, a de Blasio ally.
“They have an interest in Moishe because they’re digging into de Blasio’s fund-raising tactics and they want to know what favors they [Hasidic community members] are getting back from the mayor,” the source added.
Indig did not return calls seeking comment.
Agents visited Rabbi David Niederman on Thursday, but Niederman referred them to his lawyers, two sources said. Niederman told The Post federal agents did not visit him.
The FBI interviewed Sofer two weeks ago about mayoral fund-raising and influence peddling, but he refused to rat on his friends at City Hall, the sources said. The sources believe the FBI brought the food-stamp charge to squeeze information from him.
“They know Sofer is a progressive Hasidic Jew who is friendly with all these guys in the administration including [top de Blasio aides] Avi Fink and Emma Wolfe,” a City Hall source said. “People in the community come to him to fix their problems and he has amassed his influence.”
Indig, Niederman and Sofer are influential leaders in the Satmar community, one of the city’s largest Hasidic sects. De Blasio aggressively courted the Satmars in his 2013 mayoral campaign.
It was Indig who convinced leaders of the Satmars’ Aroni faction to shift their support from Christine Quinn to de Blasio two weeks before the contentious 2013 Democratic primary, sources said.
Sofer said at the time that de Blasio’s support for private religious schools was a main reason for the endorsement.
Sofer and Indig were the hosts of an Oct. 3, 2013, fund-raising event for de Blasio, according to the mayor’s campaign Web site.
Indig, who landed on de Blasio’s “Worst Landlords” list back when the mayor was public advocate, has attended at least two meetings at City Hall with Niederman and other religious leaders, according to the mayor’s official schedule.
But Indig has never registered as a lobbyist despite advocating on issues important to the Orthodox community, sources said.
“Developers go to Indig with issues with their properties, hoping to get permits expedited or rezonings approved by the city,” said one Williamsburg source. “People hire him privately to get things done.”
Sofer, 39, works in government relations for the Central United Talmudical Academy, which is tied to the Aroni faction. The yeshiva’s lobbyist, Capalino+Company, pressed Fink and other City Hall officials in early 2015 to open a universal-pre-K program at the site.
The FBI raided the academy’s offices in March, possibly as part of a probe into the use of federal school-lunch funds, reports said.
CUTA spokesman Michael Tobman called Sofer’s arrest a “personal matter having nothing to do with the larger community or its institutions.” Sofer did not return a message seeking comment.
Child abuse royal commission: Rabbi inaction failed abuse victims within Yeshiva community
The royal commission has delivered its findings into child abuse at Jewish institutions in Melbourne and Sydney, saying that abuse victims were let down by rabbis and their “confused” adherence to the Jewish law Mesirah, leaving them vulnerable to paedophiles.
The commission found many of the lead rabbis at Yeshiva Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi, as well as synagogues and schools in Sydney and Melbourne followed “a pattern of total inaction” that was wholly inadequate.
Three commissioners found a “marked absence of supportive leadership for survivors of abuse” and the incorrect application of Jewish law left those who spoke out criticised and isolated.
Mesirah is the religious concept stopping a Jewish person informing upon another to a secular authority. To do so would make them a “Moser”.
Mixed messages produced inaction
Those who spoke out where strongly criticised and confusion reigned about whether reporting abuse to police was forbidden, the report found.
“If anything, the mixed messages were likely to have produced inaction,” the report said.
Four victims of sexual abuse, along with leading rabbis within the Chabad movement, gave evidence about child abuse in Yeshiva Colleges and centres in Melbourne and Bondi last year.
Convicted paedophiles David Cyprys, Rabbi David Kramer and Daniel Hayman were all the subjects of allegations of abuse by parents and students between 1984 and 2000.
“It is perhaps unsurprising that a community described in the evidence as being insular, would be concerned by communication with those external to the community about child sexual abuse reportedly perpetrated by Jews,” the report said.
“We are satisfied that, for the period from 1984 to 2007, the Yeshiva College Melbourne did not have adequate policies, processes and practices for responding to complaints.”
Child abuse ‘uncommon’
Senior Sydney rabbi Yosef Feldman provoked controversy when he told the royal commission he would be “asking for more leniency” for reformed or inactive paedophiles
In its findings, the commission was critical of his ignorance about what constituted child abuse.
“Rabbi Feldman freely admitted to a lack of technical knowledge about child sexual abuse but expressed the belief that his ignorance was unimportant,” the report said.
He told the commission he believed child abuse to be “uncommon”.
“He did not hear of child sexual abuse or complaints of child sexual abuse ‘much’ and believed that ‘only’ 5 to 10 per cent of the community ‘are involved’ in child sexual abuse,” the report said.
Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand public statement in response to the Royal Commission Report
30 November 2016
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Report of Case Study No. 22. The response of Yeshiva Bondi and Yeshivah Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse made against people associated with those institutions
The Executive of the Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand (RCANZ), The Rabbinical Council of New South Wales (RCNSW) and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) are grateful for yesterday’s report by the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse at Yeshiva Bondi and Yeshivah Melbourne, and deeply distressed by its contents.
Child sexual abuse has caused unimaginable suffering to the victims in our community, and RCANZ, RCNSW and RCV and their members are totally committed to removing this scourge from our community and from our institutions. We offer our deepest sympathies to the victims and commit ourselves to learning from the failures of the past.
As the Royal Commission has made clear, child sexual abuse was allowed to continue because of actions and inaction by some rabbis and community leaders. Victims were not always believed or supported, adding to the trauma.
We restate a ruling that has been made many times before, that Jewish law requires all allegations of child sexual abuse to be reported immediately to the police and other relevant government authorities. We encourage all professionals working in the Jewish community whose work brings them into any contact with young people to receive specific and detailed training in child protection. We urge all synagogues and schools in our community to ensure proper governance procedures to oversee the work of their staff, to ensure that failings are identified and corrected.
We call on those who have been identified in the report as not fulfilling their legal obligations to protect children to stand down from their public positions. We believe that those who denigrated or undermined the victims have lost their moral right to serve as leaders in our communities. The Rabbinate must demonstrate that Judaism and the Jewish community will not tolerate child sexual abuse and those who perpetrate it, and must support those who have suffered.
We hope and pray that this report will help our community and others to keep children safe, and ensure that no child in the Jewish community, or throughout Australia, will ever again suffer the horrors of sexual abuse.
No member of the signatory bodies with a conflict of interest took part in the drafting of this statement. For further information please contact Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, Secretary of RCANZ via email@example.com.
Melbourne Yeshivah Centre public statement in response to the Royal Commission Report
29 November 2016
28 Cheshvan 5777
29th November, 2016
Dear Community Members
Today, the ‘Report of Case Study No. 22’ was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament. The Yeshivah Centre is currently reviewing the Report and expects to make a more detailed statement in the near future.
As you are aware, in February 2015, the Yeshivah Centre was the subject of a Royal Commission into ‘Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’. This followed the incarceration of two perpetrators of child sexual abuse, both of whom held roles in different capacities at the Centre. The Commission focussed on the institutional response to these crimes.
The Yeshivah Centre deeply regrets its failure to protect those who were victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by people in a position of trust in the Yeshivah Centre and its schools. We condemn any form of abuse and acknowledge the serious harm it causes, both at the time of the abuse and later in life, for victims and their families.
The Yeshivah Centre Board and staff have been working hard to properly respond to these issues and ensure that we embed policies and processes of the highest standards to create a safe environment for our children, and to support and show compassion for victims and their families. The Yeshivah Centre’s number one priority is the safety of the children in its care, and we will continue to take all possible steps to maintain and continually raise this standard. We also need to ensure that we continue to support and show compassion for victims and their families.
In September this year, the Commission invited us to present our current policies and procedures in relation to child protection and child-safe standards and the steps taken across the Centre following the Royal Commission hearing. We submitted information in relation to:
The newly established governance framework (with elections closing 7 December 2016);
Our accreditation from the Australian Childhood Foundation (Chabad Youth in 2014 and YeshivahBeth Rivkah Colleges in March 2016); and
The establishment of an independently operated Redress Scheme for past victims of Child Sexual Abuse.
In its executive summary and media release the Report notes that:
The evidence identified that Yeshivah Melbourne has taken significant steps in implementing structured child protection measures, including drafting formal policies and giving training to children, parents and staff.
We are aware that the process of growth and change that the Centre has embraced over the past few years will continue to present us with some challenges along the way. However, we firmly believe that this process of change and the new representative governance structures now being established will bring us forward towards a stronger, brighter and safer future.
The Yeshivah Centre encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse at Yeshivah Centre (Melbourne) to contact the independently operated redress scheme via the confidential email firstname.lastname@example.org or the police (contact the Moorabbin SOCIT unit on 9556-6124).
I-Team: Homes in NY Town Taken Over for Religious Schooling, Residents Say
Residents in the Rockland County town of Ramapo claim town officials are allowing single-family homes on small residential lots to be turned into religious schools with little or no public notice.
Suffern resident Annette Doerr said she has been battling the conversion of a home next door into an ultra-Orthodox school for several years. Doerr told the I-Team she believes there are more than 200 students in the four-bedroom house but has been unable to get specific information.
“It’s six days a week,” she said. “Whenever they’re on recess, we can’t be outside.”
“It’s too dangerous, it’s too dense,” she added. “The home was meant for a family.”
The property manager declined to tell the I-Team how many students attend the school.
Minna Greenbaum, another Suffern resident, said there are areas where almost every property on a block is a school or religious institution.
“The town turns a blind eye,” she said. “Everything is allowed.”
Residents said they are not opposed to schools if there is sufficient property to accommodate the students and buses safely.
Resident Peter Katz recently filed a lawsuit over a school that’s being developed on a nearby lot.
“A friend of mine owned this house, sold it to someone, and the very next thing, I discovered by accident it’s being converted to a school,” Katz said. “There was no public notice.”
Members of the Spring Valley Fire Department, which responds to emergency calls in the town of Ramapo, said they are especially concerned about modular trailers being moved onto residential lots as classrooms to accommodate students.
“We don’t even get the fire plans, and that’s the biggest thing,” said Captain Justin Schwartz. “It gets approved without us saying so. It’s a crime.”
The town of Ramapo passed a law limiting the use of “temporary” trailers to a maximum of two years. Democratic Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski said town officials have allowed the proliferation of “permanent” trailers to be used without proper enforcement.
He said he believes the New York Department of State should take over Ramapo’s building department.
“This is a willful, systemic ignoring of the law by those that are in charge, and when you have that, the State needs to step in,” he said.
Michael Klein, attorney for the town of Ramapo, told the I-Team that schools with permits are safe.
“The town of Ramapo will not issue a permission of occupancy permitting property to be used as a school unless it meets all fire and building codes,” he said.
“Whether people like the growing size of the community and the need to address the growing population, that’s a quality of life issue and people have different views of that,” he added.
Census figures for 2015 to 2016 showed there are 24,000 non-public school students in the East Ramapo school district and 8,500 public school students.
A School District Whose Children Have Been Raped of an Education and $3M in State Aid
It does not matter in East Ramapo whether you are Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox, secular, Hispanic, Black, White, or Green because all of East Ramapo’s children have been deprived of an education.
In the public schools in East Ramapo despite the best efforts of teachers, parents and activists the resources have been scarce and the schools in disrepair, leaving the public school children to study without proper textbooks, in classrooms known to leak during rainstorms. The schools of that district barely offer core classes. There are few art classes, if any and music is a luxury.
The public schools in East Ramapo, once the best in the State, lack the resources necessary to provide an education consistent with New York State mandates. Funding is grossly inadequate and the Board of Education, comprised in disproportionate part of ultra-Orthodox men blames the State.
There is no acknowledgement on the part of the Trustees of the East Ramapo Board of Education and their spokespeople that money has been siphoned off for years for the ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox religious education. The premise has been that there are more private school, Yeshiva educated children and more resources should be provided for their edcuation. Separation of Church and State be damned.
In contrast the private Yeshivas, funded with public taxpayer money, have the resources but the children are deprived an education by an establishment which actively chains them to functional illiteracy, mathematical ignorance and a non-science based religious education… in Yiddish. Separation of Church and State, an unknown concept.
Presently there is a public meeting at Rockland Community College, located in East Ramapo intended to explain how $3M in New York State aid will be allocated. Perhaps Church and State can walk on separate sides of the road….
Lohud reported on September 27, 2016
Full-day kindergarten and other programs will start Oct. 6
The state education commissioner has approved the East Ramapo school district’s plan for using $3 million in state aid to create universal full-day kindergarten and restore arts programs in grades K-6, among other initiatives.
Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Monday that she had given her blessing to the plan, and also said she would join state-appointed monitors Charles Szuberla and John Sipple at a public meeting to discuss the initiatives at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rockland Community College’s Cultural Arts Center, 145 College Road, Ramapo.
Full-day kindergarten and other programs will start Oct. 6, according to a district spokesperson.
The district conducted its own public hearing to receive community input on the expenditure plan on Sept. 7. The school board approved the plan on Sept. 13 and it was submitted to Elia on Sept. 20.
“These plans represent the district’s path forward to ensure progress continues and to ensure the educational rights of every East Ramapo student are met,” Commissioner Elia said in a statement. “Chuck Szuberla, John Sipple and Superintendent Wortham have worked as quickly as possible to put a long-term strategic academic and fiscal improvement plan in place that is both thorough and thoughtful. It continues the work already done to repair the trust of the East Ramapo community, while recognizing there is still work to do.”
The $3 million in supplemental funding was approved under a state oversight law that required the development of the strategic academic plan, as well as a comprehensive expenditure plan, in consultation with Szuberla.
In 2012, East Ramapo went from full-day to half-day kindergarten amid $14 million worth of budget cuts. Last year, two sections were added. Four new full-day kindergarten classes were included in the district’s $224 million budget approved by voters in May.
Here’s what’s being proposed for the $3 million:
$1.2 million to hire six monolingual kindergarten teachers and four bilingual kindergarten teachers.
Up to 11 sections of full-day kindergarten would be created, depending upon the number of children who enroll.
The bulk of kindergarten funding, $670,000, would go towards salaries, while the remainder would cover classroom materials, instructional technology and building adjustments to accommodate new classes.
Restoring art, music, dance and theater classes for students in grades K-6 will cost around $1.7 million.
The district aims to hire 12 teachers for arts instruction, the majority of whom were previously laid off and are on the preferred eligibility list (PELL).
BANKRUPTING THE WORLD BY DENYING EDUCATION TO THE ULTRA-ORTHODOX…
Last week we reported on a Satmar decree that women are not to receive a secondary education. Any woman who receives a secondary education will be forbidden from teaching within the Satmar community. Ostensibly, if a woman decides to go out and get a secondary education she will be effectively excommunicated. In our view, the purpose of the decree was to guarantee the cycle of subjugation of women within that community. As a side matter, no woman will be able to be a doctor, a midwife, a teacher, etc. because she will not be educated enough for any of those fields. Moreover, while many states and countries demand that funding to non-public schools requires some version of “substantially similar” education, if children within the Satmar community are being taught be teachers who themselves are uneducated, a “substantially” similar education is simply an oxymoron.
The following article was published in Israel this morning and represents an extraordinary statistical analysis of the rapid decline, if not destruction, of education within the ultra-Orthodox community and its affects on the educational system of the country at large.
We have summarized the article. If an English version comes out, we will publish accordingly.
In Israel every child is required to graduate high school with a “Certificate of Bagrut.” This certificate is necessary for kids to go to university and to get jobs within Israel. In order to qualify for the certificate, there are core courses: English, Math, Hebrew and a few others and then there are electives. The children within the public schools, similar to the United States, England, Australia and elsewhere spend years of learning these core courses and the electives in order to qualify to pass these exams obtain certificates and become active participants in the Israeli workforce and economy.
Within the ultra-Orthodox community, there is a 1% pass rate. In other words, only 1% of the ultra-Orthodox community throughout all of Israel has that certificate. Moreover cities like Jerusalem, which once had the highest pass rates, are declining in pass rates as their ultra-Orthodox communities increase in proportion to the decrease in non ultra-Orthodox members.
The results of this analysis provide a picture of the future of education in ultra-Orthodoxy as follows:
The children are going to have little choice but to remain within their own community as they will not have educational capital necessary to function outside of it;
The less educated the ultra-Orthodox population becomes the less services will be available to them from within their community and the more dependent they will become upon others to support them. This includes and is most prevalent regarding doctors, lawyers, midwives, hospital personnel, etc.;
The entire population of Israel is in greater danger from forces within and without as not only is its army service being affected by the ultra-Orthodox who do not serve in the army; but its education within the world stage is diminishing disproportionately to the surrounding countries which, despite what may or may not be fundamentalism is little-by-little exceeding Israel in educational levels.
This picture illustrates what will happen on a global scale if the non-ultra-Orthodox world does not impose educational standards and draw a line in the sand in terms of maintaining them. Put simply, as the ultra-Orthodox communities grow at exponentially faster rates than non-ultra-Orthodox and non-Jewish communities, the economic ramificaitons on a world stage will be devastating. The situation is simply not sustainable on a continuing worldwide level.
בית ג’ן מובילה בזכאות לבגרות, מודיעין הרשימה עם בגרות בהצטיינות וסכנין רשמה הישג נאה בעניין בלמידה. משרד החינוך מפרסם בפעם הראשונה שיקוף של בתי הספר התיכוניים ב-260 רשויות מקומיות. איפה בלטו בחמש יחידות מתמטיקה והיכן מנעו נשירה? היכנסו וגלו את התמונה המלאה ביישוב שלכם
שחר חי ויוסי מדריסוביץ’עדכון אחרון: 29.08.16
היכן שיעור הזכאים הגבוה ביותר לתעודת בגרות? איפה השיגו את תעודות הבגרות המצטיינות ביותר? איזה יישוב הצליח למנוע הכי הרבה נשירה ממערכת החינוך? כמה תלמידים היו מעורבים בתקריות אלימות? והיכן קידמו את המורים? משרד החינוך מפרסם הערב (יום ב’) לראשונה את התמונה החינוכית של בתי הספר התיכוניים ב-260 רשויות מקומיות בישראל.
בעבר, המדידה התייחסה לשיעור הזכאות לבגרות בלבד. במשרד החינוך ציינו בהתייחסם למדידה הקודמת כי “הדבר יצר רושם מוטעה שהזכאות לבגרות היא חזות הכול. עשייה חינוכית, ערכית ומשמעותית חשובה לא פחות”. לכן הוחלט במשרד לציין כי הישגי בתי הספר משקפים מעורבות חברתית, מניעת נשירה ממוסדות חינוך, שמירה על טוהר בחינות ועוד. המשרד הכליל גם את נתוני הגיוס לצה”ל, אולם נתון זה נכון לשנת תשע”ב.
את טבלת הזכאות לבגרות מקרב הלומדים ברשות בשנת הלימודים תשע”ה מוביל היישוב בית ג’ן עם 99% הצלחה. אחריו ברשימה: כאוכב אבו אל-היג’א עם 98%, קריית עקרון עם 96%, גבעת שמואל וקדומים עם 93%, מועצה אזורית לב השרון עם 92%, מועצה אזורית ערבה תיכונה, רג’ר ויבנה עם 91%, וגבעתיים, חורפיש, מודיעין ומזכרת בתיה עם 90%.
מבין הרשויות הגדולות, בראשון לציון השיגו בוגרי תשע”ה 77% הצלחה, בחיפה 76%, בתל אביב ובבאר שבע 70%, ובירושלים 47%. בתחתית הרשימה ניתן למצוא את מודיעין עילית וקריית יערים עם אפס אחוזי הצלחה, בני ברק 11%, ג’סר א-זרקא 15%, ביתר עילית 16%, ורכסים עם 12% זכאים לתעודת בגרות מקרב הלומדים ברשות.
נתון נוסף חשף את הזכאות לתעודת בגרות מצטיינת. בתל אביב נרשמה בסעיף זה עלייה מ-8.2% מהתלמידים שקיבלו תעודת בגרות מצטיינת בתש”ג ל-8.9% בשנת תשע”ה. גם בבת ים חלה עלייה: מ-3.1% בתשע”ג ל-6.1% בתשע”ה. מודיעין רשמה בסעיף זה תוצאה מרשימה עם עלייה מ-11% בתשע”ג ל-17.6% בתשע”ה. גם חיפה רשמה הישג כשעלתה באותן שנים מ-10.3% ל-11.7%.
רק 1 מכל 10 תלמידים חרדים זכאי לבגרות
באשדוד חלה ירידה בזכאים לבגרות איכותית: מ-3.7% בתשע”ג ל-3.3% בתשע”ה. ירידות נוספות בקבלת תעודות בגרות מצטיינות נרשמו בגבעתיים (16.4% בתשע”ג לעומת 14.5% בתשע”ה), בנס ציונה (מ-12% ל-10.8%), בטירת כרמל (מ-2.1% לאחוז), בדימונה (מ-2.8% ל-1.2%), בראשון לציון (מ-7.9% ל-7.2%) ובירוחם (מ-7.2% בתשע”ג ל-6.9% בתשע”ה).
התמונה החינוכית מגלה גם את מעורבות התלמידים באירועי אלימות. הממוצע הארצי בתחום זה עומד על 7%. בבאר שבע, בית שמש וכפר קאסם נמצא בשנת תשע”ה כי 9% מהתלמידים בכל אחת מהערים היו מעורבים בתקריות אלימות. בירושלים, נתניה, עפולה ואום אל-פחם 8%, בחיפה, אשדוד, חולון ואילת 7%, בתל אביב, רעננה, הוד השרון, חדרה, הרצליה ופתח תקווה 6%, בראשון לציון וטירת כרמל 5%.
הנתונים מגלים גם פירוט מלא לפי כל יישוב בתחום שבדק את המסוגלות, את הסקרנות ואת העניין בלמידה. סכנין רשמה הישג בתחום זה עם הצלחה של 74% מהתלמידים. בג’דיידה-מכר נרשמו 71% הצלחה, בעילוט 67%, ברמת גן 53%, בירושלים 50%, בתל אביב וכרמיאל 47%, בקריית טבעון 40%, במבשרת ציון 38% ובזכרון יעקב 37%.
התמונה החינוכית לבתי הספר התיכוניים בדקה גם את הקרבה והאכפתיות בין המורים לתלמידים בכל יישוב. כאן נמצא כי בקלנסווה דיווחו 55% מהתלמידים על חיבור בינם לבין מוריהם. בלוד השיבו בחיוב על השאלה 53% מהתלמידים, בנצרת 48%, ברעננה 46%, בחיפה 41%, בטירת כרמל 39%, בחולון 38%, בנתניה 37%, בבני ברק 36%, באילת 35% ובהוד השרון ורחובות 33%.
בפרק שבדק את העידוד למעורבות חברתית ואזרחית השיבו בחיוב בנושא זה 62% מהתלמידים בלוד ובחצור הגלילית. בעכו 57%, בגבעתיים 52%, בחולון 48%, בתל אביב 47%, במבשרת ציון 46% ובחדרה 45%.
במערכת החינוך נעשה לאורך השנים ניסיון לשמור על התלמידים בבתי הספר מבלי לפגוע ברמת ההישגים. באריאל נרשמה בתשע”ה ירידה באחוז הנושרים (מ-0.8% ל-0.3%). אחוז הזכאים לבגרות באריאל ברמת חמש יחידות במתמטיקה עמד בשנת תשע”ה על 14%, עלייה של 6% מהשנה הקודמת. אחוז הזכאים לבגרות בעיר ברמת חמש יחידות באנגלית נמצא גם כן בעלייה וגבוה ב-5% מהממוצע הארצי.
בבית ג’ן, שמובילה בשנים האחרונות בזכאות לבגרות, עומד אחוז הנושרים בתשע”ה על 0.5. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות לימוד במתמטיקה עמד בתשע”ה ביישוב על 12%. מדובר במגמת עלייה לאורך השנים ואחוז גבוה במעט מהממוצע הארצי. אחוז הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות באנגלית עומד בבית ג’ן על 29, והממוצע הארצי הוא 31.9%.
באשדוד אחוז הנושרים גבוה מהממוצע הארצי ועמד בתשע”ה על כמעט שני אחוזים, מדובר בעלייה של 9% מהשנה שקדמה. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות במתמטיקה עקבי לאורך השנים האחרונות ועומד על 11%, גבוה במעט מהממוצע הארצי. ברמת חמש יחידות אנגלית אחוז הזכאים בעיר עומד על 30%, מדובר בעלייה קלה במהלך שלוש השנים האחרונות.
בדימונה אחוז הנושרים גבוה מהממוצע הארצי ועומד על 2.3% – עלייה של אחוז וחצי מהשנה שעברה. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות עמד בתשע”ה על 7%. אחוז הזכאים לארבע יחידות לימוד באנגלית עמד על 28 – עלייה של 4% מהשנה שקדמה לה, ומעט מתחת לממוצע הארצי.
בראשון לציון נרשמה עלייה באחוז הנושרים מ-0.6% ל-1.3%. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות עמד בתשע”ה על 13% – שלושה אחוזים מעל הממוצע הארצי. אחוז הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות באנגלית בעיר עמד על 40%, גבוה ב-8% מהממוצע הארצי.
בתל אביב אחוז הנושרים בתשע”ה עמד על 1.7 – עלייה של שני אחוזים מהשנה שקדמה לה. מדובר בנתון שגבוה בכשני אחוזים מהממוצע הארצי. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות עמד על 12% – עלייה של שני אחוזים. אחוז הזכאים לבגרות ברמת 5 יחידות במתמטיקה עמד על 47, גבוה ב-15% מהממוצע הארצי.
בירושלים אחוז הנושרים בתשע”ה עמד על 2.2%, לעומת הממוצע הארצי – 1.46%. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות במתמטיקה בעיר עמד על 7% ובאנגלית על 28%. בחיפה שיעור הנושרים עמד על 1.6% – עלייה של שלושה אחוזים מתשע”ד. שיעור הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות במתמטיקה עמד על 17%, ובאנגלית על 45%, גבוה ב-13% מהממוצע הארצי.
בקריית אונו, אחוז הנושרים עמד על אחוז אחד בלבד. אחוז הזכאים לבגרות ברמת חמש יחידות במתמטיקה עמד על 26% – עלייה של שבעה אחוזים מהשנה שקדמה. מדובר בתוצאה שגבוהה ב-16% מהממוצע הארצי. אחוז הזכאים ברמת חמש יחידות באנגלית עמד על 72%, גבוה ב-40% מהממוצע הארצי. עם זאת מדובר בירידה של 3% מתשע”ד.
שר החינוך נפתלי בנט אמר לנוכח פרסום תמונת המצב בתיכונים: “בתי הספר הם לא מכונות של ציונים אלא חממות של ערכים. בית ספר שבודק את התלמידים רק לפי הציון – לא מעניק חינוך, אלא נותן מסר שלילי לתלמידים. הבטחתי למורים שפגשתי בשטח והיום אני מקיים – נמדוד בתי ספר לפי מדדי איכות, ערכים ומניעת נשירה לצד מדידת זכאות”.
הוא הוסיף כי “אני מאמין ששינוי שיטת המדידה תביא לשינוי משמעותי במערכת החינוך. מדידה לא סותרת ערכים. היא כלי לצמיחה ולשיפור. השאלה האמיתית היא מה מודדים. אם מודדים רק הצלחות וזכאות – מפספסים את הערכים, את ההתעקשות על כל תלמיד, את החינוך לעזרה לזולת, ואת זה אנחנו משנים היום”.
RAMAPO – A year ago, a grassroots group called CUPON was formed by a Hillcrest resident who saw an urgent need to keep the area’s development in check.
Since then, that group has helped a handful of similar organizations spring up around Ramapo, a town with a long history of civic activism. They all share concerns similar to CUPON’s, which stands for Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods.
“What we wanted to do is, instead of having a big CUPON for Ramapo, we wanted an individual area to have its own CUPON-like organization,” said Micheal Miller, who started the group in Hillcrest and has subsequently helped organize other neighborhoods. “Then, if you go to a (municipal board) meeting, you’re going to be representatives of your area,” he said. “That carries much more weight than if we go as one organization.”
Ramapo is Rockland County’s fastest-growing town, home to an estimated 126,595 people with 12 villages. In recent months, new groups focused on controlling development have formed in such areas as Monsey, New Hempstead, Airmont and Chestnut Ridge.
“The goal is to empower the other members of the community,” said Hilda Kogut, who launched CUPON Chestnut Ridge this spring, noting that many of her fellow villagers have begun speaking up at village meetings about their concerns. “We’re making some progress.”
What activists are up against is substantial: More than 3,000 homes are proposed or could be proposed for large pieces of land that changed hands in recent years, according to Miller, who compiled the information based on property sale records and other sources. In addition to the 197-acre property in the Route 202-306 corridor just outside of Pomona where the controversial 479-unit Patrick Farm development was proposed, the list of parcels include the 130-acre Minisceongo Golf Club property on Pomona Road and the 145-acre former Edwin Gould Academy site in Chestnut Ridge.
Based on ongoing trends, those properties could potentially be developed into higher-density housing catering to Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox Jewish families from outside the county, Miller said.
“They are bringing in Brooklyn to Ramapo,” Miller said. “It’s going to become an extension of New York City.”
Orthodox Jews share concern
Tension between religious and non-religious communities has been on the rise in Rockland for the past several years, fueled by strained relations between members of the East Ramapo school community and its school board, which is controlled by Orthodox Jewish residents who send their children to private schools.
But over-development is a shared concern in her Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, said Shani Bechhofer of Monsey, who has lived in a community called Viola Estates for more than a decade. A major housing development, also called Viola Estates, is under construction on a nearby 5.5-acre property on Viola Road, even though Bechhofer and her neighbors expressed their opposition before the Ramapo Planning Board, she said.
They formed a grassroots organization, Viola Estates Residents Allied for Integrity, which is also being assisted by Miller.
“The more we were educated, the more we began to understand the issues that are affecting us, not just this development,” Bechhofer said. “That’s why we named our organization ‘Allied for Integrity.'”
Bechhofer said she was “disheartened” by the town’s response when she and her neighbors reported to officials that more units than planned were being built there. The property, formerly owned by Temple Beth El, was originally zoned for single-family homes allowing 1.74 units per acre, or a total 10 units for the site. In July 2013, the developer was granted a zone change to allow for eight units per acre, or 44 units on 5.5 acres.
As construction moved along, neighbors saw that the basements in each unit had been turned into what they saw as accessory apartments, according to a letter they sent to the town. Ramapo officials acknowledged the work done was not according to the plans but, instead of requiring the developer to follow the existing plans, officials approved revised plans that included a “finished lower level.”
In June, three neighbors sued Ramapo town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, Building Inspector Anthony Mallia and Viola Gardens LLC., the owner of the property, over the issue. Town Attorney Michael Klein has told The Journal News the lawsuit lacks merit. Attorney Steven Mogel, who was recently retained by the neighbors, said Friday that the lawsuit, filed in Putnam County Court to avoid any potential conflict in Rockland County Court, was expected to be discontinued because of procedural issues, but “it doesn’t mean that the efforts that the neighbors have engaged in are over.”
Miller, for his part, has been leading the effort to stop a 20-unit housing development, Bluefield Extension, on the 1-acre site on the east side of Union Road in Hillcrest, along the Monsey border. The property was originally zoned for single-family homes.
“This would set a precedent,” Miller said. “If they are allowed to build that, they can come into Hillcrest and do the same thing where they want to.”
From 2000 to 2010, Ramapo’s total population grew by 16.2 percent, while the statewide population grew 2.1 percent and the county’s grew 8.7 percent. The biggest increases within Ramapo were seen in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish villages of New Square and Kaser, which grew by 50.2 percent and 42.5 percent, respectively. Montebello village saw a 22.7 percent increase, and unincorporated Ramapo, including Monsey and Hillcrest, grew by 20.9 percent.
In addition to over-development, community activists keep an eye on issues such as illegal conversions of homes, zoning and code violations, and so-called “blockbusting,” the practice of persuading homeowners to sell their property cheaply by suggesting that changes in neighborhood demographics will destroy their property values.
“Some of the villages and areas are going through all of those issues, while others are going through only some of them,” Miller said. “But, eventually, every one of them is going to affect every area.”
Leaders of the newly formed community groups say they want town officials to stop “spot zoning” — which they think has become too common — to accommodate high-density housing development. They also want officials to enforce zoning codes more stringently.
Kogut, a retired FBI special agent who moved to Rockland decades ago as a child, said she doesn’t want her community to be overcrowded.
“If we were constructing homes for people in this county who had no place to live, I would not have been so offended,” she said.
Klein, the town attorney, said the town is trying meet the needs of different groups, the largest town in New York state outside of several on Long Island.
“We have many groups in the town who criticize us for not providing enough housing and enough development. We have other groups in the community that criticize us for providing too much development. So it’s a difficult balance that the Town Board needs to strike between what is appropriate, manageable development, and what might not be,” he said. “While I understand people have different views, particularly where it affects their immediate community, many people have different opinions on what’s appropriate development and what’s not.”
THE DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY THE ULTRA-ORTHODOX DRAINING FUNDING AND RESOURCES AND NOT PROVIDING A “SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR” EDUCATION WITH PUBLIC FUNDS – METHODOLOGY
We are seeing it happen often. The ultra-Orthodox take over a school board, drain resources, sell property. It is our own faults for not getting out to vote. The ultra-Orthodox hostile takeover of public education in the United States is a well-earned victory; they get out and vote in droves. Once they have a school district in their control, where the money used to pay for resources and education goes, well… that is not so well-earned.
In the case of East Ramapo Central School District, the people got out and voted and they spoke, loudly. A former principal was elected to the position on the school board. The ultra-Orthodox majority responded by sabotaging her victory. The requirement was that she be sworn in within 30 days of her appointment. So, what did the ultra-Orthodox members of the school board do? They kept postponing the swearing in ceremony. Until, lo-and-behold, the 30 days had come and gone. And then what? They appointed someone ultra-Orthodox to the post, someone no one knows, someone whose own kids attend private schools, someone clearly intent upon destroying the public education there. And, worst still he is someone who does not even live at the address listed – Fawn Hill Drive. Rather, the house is rented.
Yesterday an article came out in the Forward, reprinted here, about a recent Satmar decree that women are forbidden from attending universities and colleges. In other words, women are forbidden from getting educated. Moreover, any woman who chooses to get educated will be precluded from teaching at Satmar schools. One commenter to that post rightfully pointed out the impossibility of providing a “substantially similar” education if those teaching the classes are uneducated. That is a requirement in much of the United States in exchange for funding to private school using public taxpayer funds. Taxpayers, most of whom are not ultra-Orthodox, not even Jewish, are paying the taxes siphoned by school boards like the ultra-Orthodox minted East Ramapo Central School District school board, to be used to fund private yeshivas.
There is a lot wrong with this picture…. Unless, of course, you are ultra-Orthodox. Can we even wonder why there is so much hostility toward the utlra-Orthodox community in New York?
East Ramapo trustee accused of using phony address
Calls for the resignation of a newly-appointed member of the East Ramapo School Board are mounting amid accusations that the trustee does not live at his reported address.
Since Joe Chajmovicz’s appointment to a vacant seat in July, the school board has been criticized for naming someone not widely known to the public school community, and district parents have demanded he step down to allow for someone with ties to local education be named.
One of those parents, Romel Alvarez, said this past weekend, a group of about 15 people went to an address in Airmont, on Fawn Hill Drive, that Chajmovicz claims is his home, but discovered a family was renting it out.
“We went there to protest for him to resign his seat,” said Alvarez, who has been vocal at recent school board meetings on the matter. “We’re going to keep visiting there, each week, until he resigns. We’re not going away.”
A district spokesman insisted Chajmovicz has lived at the address in Airmont for the last seven years. Requests to the spokesman to be put in touch with Chajmovicz or to receive a statement for further comment were refused.
It’s unclear if Chajmovicz ever actually lived at the home on Fawn Hill Drive, though public records list it as his address starting in 2010, and a phone number was once listed under a Lisa Lefkovich at the address. Lisa Lefkovich is listed in other public records as Lisa Chajmovicz.
The home on Fawn Hill Drive is owned by a man named Moshe Solinsky as of March 2015, according to records.
A call to the number listed for the home was not returned. When a reporter visited the house Wednesday afternoon, no one answered the door. The landscaping was not well maintained, a trash can sat on the stoop, partially blocking the front door, and the aluminum siding was dirty.
Chajmovicz, 41, has two daughters, both of whom attend private schools, and works in the real estate business. He has also been involved in the development of affordable housing, according to another district spokesman, Darren Dopp.
After he was picked for the seat, the district touted Chajmovicz’s skills with finances and communications. However, the new trustee declined a request for an interview at the time.
Local education advocates, as well as the Spring Valley NAACP, are continuing to question why Jean Fields, a retired Ramapo High School principal and co-chair of the chapter’s education committee, was not selected to serve the balance of Engel’s term. They have asked Chajmovicz to forfeit his seat to allow for someone else, such as Fields, to be appointed.