Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brooklyn's Biggest Yeshivas Violating Federal Law 

The 7 year old attends Lamplighters Yeshivah, a Jewish school located in the heart of Hasidic Crown Heights. For Sidof and his fellow classmates, the more fervent the prayer, the more minutes they receive for recess.

And a nice long recess provides Sidof with a welcome break from the challenging and mandatory math, English and science classes he must take every day--- subjects the majority of the 84,000 children who attend conservative Jewish schools in Brooklyn never get. Lamplighters Yeshivah is an exception, as the majority of Orthodox Jewish schools don't teach secular subjects at all, despite being legally bound to do so.

Now take Shmueli Lowenstein. The 25-year-old is a former student at Oholei Torah, a typical yeshiva in Crown Heights, where, he told a news source, "I did not grow up learning English or any kind of secular studies at all" and math was "nonexistent."

"Everything was done in Yiddish until seventh or eighth grade, and then they would switch to Hebrew," Lowenstein said. "I don't think I ever received a paper with English writing on it, except for maybe a permission slip for a school trip."

Under New York State and federal regulations, general subject such as history and math are mandatory to all New York schools, both public and private.

While NY state law does allow religious students to bypass questions regarding evolution on standardized tests, completely excluding all science from the curriculum is prohibited.

"Many schools in Borough Park and Williamsburg are testing the waters" in regards to omitting "secular studies altogether or ratcheting it down another few levels," Zalman Alpert, an expert on the Orthodox community, told a media source.

"In some schools, they're taught very similar to public school … where the English department is fairly normative. But those schools are very few in number and they're rapidly disappearing."

Rabbi Sholom Skaist of Williamsburg's massive United Talmudical Academy told DNAinfo.com the school does teach general subjects — just not very much.

"We teach math, English, some social studies and some science," Skaist said. "They do not have secular studies in all the grades, only from fourth to eighth grade."

Like other schools in poverty stricken areas, Brooklyn's conservative Jewish students receive federal, state and city aid in the form of free lunch programs, educational materials and federal Title I allocations to educate students from poor backgrounds. However, year after year of reports from the United States Department of Education show that federal education officials have to practically beg the city and state to exercise more control over how private schools in their jurisdiction spend federal money.

"The NYC Department of Education staff indicated that private school principals have the final authority on which of the eligible students receive Title I services," the 2012 report states. "The [New York State Education Department] must require all its LEAs [Local Education Authorities] serving private school children to maintain control of their Title I programs."

While federal and state officials confirmed that New York City Department of Education is ultimately responsible for ensuring both that the city's private schools spend government money appropriately and that they provide the minimum standard of instructed mandated by law--- this simply isn't happening.

Case in point, Hershy Gelbstein, 18, who got the majority of his education at Brooklyn's United Talmudical Academy: "I can't read, I don't know anything about the outside world," he said. "I have to struggle every time I have to read a menu for a restaurant."

However, Libby Pollack, a Williamsburg local who was educated in the Jewish school system, said it's practically impossible that officials don't know what's going on.

"What's going on is illegal, it's totally illegal," Pollack said. "Unless somebody just arrived to Ellis Island, there's no such thing that they grew up here and they don't speak the language of the land — it's a disgrace, and it's the norm in Hasidic Brooklyn."

And Pollack isn't alone — the Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED), an organization comprised of former yeshiva students, has spent over a year trying to "sound the alarm" to education officials. They say that religious Jewish schools should never violate federal policy. In other words: in conjunction to Torah studies, they must also teach what the state requires.

"Pick a random Hasid off the street and just talk to them, it will be obvious that they're lacking in education," Pollack told DNAinfo.com. "With sex abuse, a lot of people try to deny it, but here [with education] you can't deny it — it's not something that could be hidden. If a person did not get an education, it's going to come across."

In other words, perhaps all these schools can take a few pointers from Lamplighters, which integrates secular courses into religious studies. "We give our children a sense from a very young age," says the school's director Yocheved Sidof, also the father of young Uriyah. "The whole world is one, the whole world is God's work, it's not separate."


Your website is extremely anti religion! Many a Heimishe Cheder teach English and kids come out knowing enough to be able to converse with others. Many pick it up at home and get super good jobs. Just oak how many frum chassidic guys hold political and professional jobs.


The evolutionists open themselves to a major mathematical flaw, by their own admission. They say that the probablity of a random collision of atomic particles, resulting in our world, is some 1 out of several trillion.
Let's say, 1 out of ten to make it simple. So, that means that 9 out of 10 it was not random or accidental! So, why are they looking at the 1 out of 10, stating it as some kind of truth, when more than most likely, it could not be that way?


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