The Issue

Presently, many Chasidic Yeshivas and some other ultra Orthodox Yeshivas focus on Judaic studies almost to the exclusion of general studies such as science, literature and history. Students attending these Yeshivas do not receive a “substantially equivalent” education in comparison to public school students as mandated by New York State law, and though many of these students are extremely intelligent, they lack the knowledge base and skill sets that would give them a competitive edge in the workplace.

While students graduate from these institutions well-versed in Talmud, Chassidic philosophy, and Jewish law, and while it is true that some students can build lives based upon these teachings as they pursue Rabbinic careers, many students are limited by the absence of a general education. Additionally, a well rounded education fosters intellectual curiosity and the promotion of civil liberties. It also lends itself to the awareness of and to greater tolerance and respect for other cultures, all of which tend to be absent in these insular Chasidic communities where students reside and are never exposed to other cultures through contact or through study.

Under other circumstances, this matter would be easily remedied. However, the department of education has neglected to enforce proper education in these religious and private educational institutions as meticulously as they do in public schools. From these circumstances, YAFFED was born with its mission to help these communities improve their system of education and bring about lasting reform.