Fighting YAFFED – PEARS – A Concerted Effort to Keep Yeshiva Children Hostages Within their Own Community

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The New York Education Disgrace – The Ultra-Orthodox Children, State Sponsored Indoctrination and What If?

LostMessiah, 16 October 2018

If a Spanish speaking community wanted to set up its own schools where everything was taught in Spanish, no English (or minimal English) and where the children were not taught Evolution, Mathematics or subjects demonstrably able to give them a chance going forward, we would be horrified. If they demanded government funding (for computers and busing), it would be unequivocally denied. In fact, the more racist among us would be claiming that they are raising future drug-runners.

If a Muslim community want to live by Shaaria law (as opposed to a Va’ad or Beit Din (Rabbinical Court)), wanted to have their children taught in mosques and wanted to teach in Arabic only, we would have no part of it. The State would not even entertain the proposition. Not only would we probably be shutting the entire endeavor down, no matter how innocuous it all would likely be, we would be undoubtedly claiming that they are raising future terrorists, members of ISIS, suicide bombers; and they would likely be on every government watch list available.

If the Korean communities that teach their children mostly in Korean, teach versions of Christianity mixed with a heavy weight of teaching their children English, Science, Math, Music and other well-rounded subjects, wanted to stop teaching English and wanted to raise their children only speaking Korean and living by a different set of rules, we would not allow their schools to remain open and certainly not assisted with government funding.

And yet, here we are accepting (if not advocating for it PEARLS) a substandard education where children may be taught to reason using the Socratic Method of understanding Mishnah and Gemorrah (Jewish Texts) (maybe), but are not taught to work out a mathematics problem beyond grade 7. Here we are accepting the premise that because children are taught basic math through the numerological understanding of the Torah and its meanings, that it is enough. Here we are accepting, even entertaining a misleading claim that somehow 15 hours per day of religious education is enough to survive in a world (where others like secular Jews, non-Jews and others are supporting them). Somehow, we are accepting this Yeshiva double-standard? WHY?

If you don’t teach science, how will your 15 children be born? Who will treat an ear infection? What if the rest of us stopped accepting your business?

The children attending these ultra-Orthodox, insular and radicalized schools are taught to understand Jewish texts, a bastardized version of Yiddish spoken within their communities, and basic skills. They are given lessons in sexual education when they are old enough to procreate and not before. In nearly all cases they are not taught to assimilate. To the contrary, even a Jew not raised in that community is not “really a Jew.” In many cases they are taught the ways of the elders (namely how to survive by bilking the system (think Medicare and Medicaid). In some cases, they are exposed to sexual abuse and taught that to report is a “Moser” and therefore a sin. The children are wholly and completely indoctrinated.

And, may the truth be told if tomorrow the rabbis started to teach these children the lessons of radical Islam which Martyrs people willing to die for a cause, or any other radical belief system that many of us find so abhorrent, these children would listen. Why? Because they know nothing else. If the ultra-Orthodox community woke one day and wanted to weaponize their children, there would be nothing to stop them from doing so. In fact, in Israel there are communities where this is already happening. Children are being taught by Rabbinic leaders to throw stones, attack people who don’t keep the Sabbath, create chaos. Is this so far-fetched that it could happen stateside? And when do the lines get crossed from throwing stones to throwing bombs? What if? 

 

FIGHTING MOSTER: PEARLS Brief Defends Parents’ Rights To Choose Yeshiva Education

arents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools (PEARLS), an organization defending parents’ right to choose a yeshiva education for their children, has filed an amicus curiae brief defending yeshiva education from the misguided and inflammatory claims contained in a lawsuit filed by an organization named YAFFED. The brief, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, was co-signed by Agudath Israel of America, Torah Umesorah and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.

In its lawsuit, YAFFED challenges the constitutionality of a change in the New York education law – enacted in April, and widely known as the Felder Amendment – and uses that challenge as a launching pad for its all-out attack on the yeshiva system. YAFFED seeks to have the court supplant the Legislature, the State Education Department and the NYC Department of Education in setting education policy, and asks the court to direct SED and DOE to ignore the rich educational values students derive from their yeshiva education.

[RELATED – MOSTER CONTINUES HIS ATTACKS: YAFFED Sues NY State Over Hasidic Yeshiva Education; PEARLS Responds]

According to the PEARLS brief, “YAFFED cloaks its disappointment with the Legislature that enacted the Felder Amendment in constitutional garb”. However, the PEARLS brief points out that there is nothing in the constitution that prohibits consideration of the academic rigor and educational value of limudei kodesh, referred to in the Felder amendment as “the entirety of the curriculum.” Affidavits accompanying the brief, cite examples, predating the new law, where agencies looked at the multi-faceted yeshiva educational program when evaluating if it meets the bar of “substantial equivalency” to public school education.

The amicus brief also notes that the United States Supreme Court has time and again found that parents have a fundamental right to direct the educational paths of their children. That is not only a religious right, but also a fundamental parental right.

“While parents choose yeshiva education to fulfill a religious mission,” the brief says, “their ability to do so vindicates an important secular right – the fundamental right that has been repeatedly invoked by the United States Supreme Court to strike down state attempts to limit parental freedom to direct how their children are educated.”

The amicus brief counters YAFFED’s repeated claim that children who attend yeshiva do not receive critical tools and skill sets needed for long-term personal growth, and notes that “it has apparently not occurred to those who have established YAFFED that Chasidic parents utilize a different barometer than theirs for measuring a meaningful and successful life.”

PLEASE CONTINUE READING HERE.

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Yaffed Sues State, Cuomo Promises to Leave Education Untouched and Tish James Joins Cuomo Ticket- Education in NY?

Group sues state over yeshivas

GROUP SUES STATE FOR GREATER YESHIVA OVERSIGHT — POLITICO’s Madina TouréAn organization seeking to reform curricula in yeshivas is suing the state over legislation that, in the group’s view, protects the schools from proper oversight. The organization — Young Advocates for Fair Education, also known as Yaffed — filed the suit on Monday morning in Brooklyn federal court. It named Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa as defendants. Lawyers from the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan are representing Yaffed pro bono.

“Ultra-orthodox yeshivas, by our estimates, receive hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year,” said Naftuli Moster, Yaffed’s founder and executive director, at a press conference in Manhattan announcing the lawsuit.”This is clearly a problem and a problem that elected officials in New York have known about for decades and instead of improving the situation, the state allowed one lawmaker, Simcha Felder, who represents the interests of yeshiva leaders, to hijack the state budget process to ensure inclusion of an amendment that exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshivas statewide from having to provide a proper secular education,” Moster continued.

Felder, a Democratic state senator from Brooklyn who has been caucusing with Senate Republicans since he was elected in 2012, was accused of holding up the $168 billion state budget earlier this year until the state acquiesced to his request for yeshivas to be exempt from curriculum requirements. He provides the Senate GOP with a key 32nd vote. The final budget gave the state Education Department the authority to address the issue for bilingual teaching for a greater number of hours, a requirement that yeshivas fulfill.

The group contends that the state’s action flouts the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion” or “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

“The carve-out in the Felder Amendment is actually defined in a way that only those ultra-Orthodox yeshivas are included within that carve-out,” said Eric Huang, lead counsel for Yaffed. “These are defined by the fact that they’re nonprofits, that they have a bilingual program and that their education program is marked by very long days.” Read more here.

Aron Wieder – A Twitter Offensive Against YAFFED

https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2018/05/08/rockland-legislator-should-censured-using-social-media-harass-critic-writes/587996002/

Rockland legislator uses social media to harass, restrict debate on yeshiva education

Newsflash: Twitter is a pesthole of trolls. Actually, that’s news to no one. Still, most of us expect better of our elected officials when they’re on the social-media platform.

Which is why Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder’s smear campaign, on Twitter, against a local activist, Naftuli Moster, should be deeply troubling to Rocklanders. Wieder represents District 13, which includes part of the ultra-Orthodox community (of which he is a member). Many readers will recall the savage budget cuts and sweeping layoffs during his controversial time on the East Ramapo Board of Education, a school board controlled by representatives of the Orthodox community, whose children attend private religious schools known as yeshivas. Moster, formerly a member of a Hasidic community, leads the organization YAFFED (Young Advocates for Fair Education), which seeks to improve the secular education of yeshiva students. Flouting state law, many Hasidic yeshivas focus on religious studies to the near-exclusion of secular subjects such as English, math, and science.

Legislator Wieder has been a vigorous defender of New York State Sen. Simcha Felder’s recent attempt to hollow out the law that ensures private-school students get the same well-rounded education that New York’s public-school students receive. Through his Twitter account, Moster has argued against Felder’s legislation.

Aron Wieder

@AronWieder

Why is Nicholas Moster aka Yaffed against funding of secular education for cute Hasidic children?! Because he does not care about the education. Nicholas stop harassing the Hasidic community. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH @NYSEDNews

Rather than engage in a thoughtful debate on the issues, Wieder has attacked Moster personally. On Twitter, he has accused Moster of “deceiving lawmakers and policymakers that he is an observing [sic] religious Hasidic Jew” and underscores that point by using the anglicized version of his name (“Nicholas”) — a dog-whistle to the ultra-Orthodox, implying that no citizen who isn’t a member of that community is entitled to criticize the yeshiva system. As well, he retweeted photos of Moster and, even more alarming, a photo of a legal document with Moster’s cell phone number clearly legible, a widely reviled form of Internet harassment known as “doxxing.”

The Rockland County Board of Ethics should censure Legislator Wieder. His cyberbullying is not only a discredit to the body of which he is a member but a clear violation of the legislature’s own Social Media Guide, which states, in the section on “Social Media ‘Best Practices’ for Elected Officials,” that officials should strive, when posting on social media, to be “honest, straightforward, and respectful” (italics mine); that they should “add value to any social media discussion by staying focused on the issue” as opposed, presumably, to the character or beliefs of the individual (such as whether he is an observant Jew); and that they should not post “non-public or confidential information” such as private phone numbers.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

YAFFED and Illiteracy in English in America

Opinion 

What It’s Really Like to Be ultra-Orthodox in America – and Illiterate in English

I stood aghast at the epic travesty: My own adult brother – an American citizen born to American citizens, raised inside its borders, a dad raising children of his own – could barely read a sentence in the language of his land

A voter casting a ballot in Kiryas Joel, New York, November 2, 2010.
A voter casting a ballot in Kiryas Joel, New York, November 2, 2010.Mark Lennihan / AP

To read the article in his entirety click here.

YAFFED.Org – Speaks out against Kalman and Yeger

This was submitted to us by a frequent reader and we tip our hats to that reader.

We note that we are posting this without the prior knowledge of Yaffed’s Naftuli Moster.

This post should not be deemed to imply that we have the support of either Yaffed or Mr. Moster, nor should it be assumed that they are readers of our posts.

Please see the video.