We are right now in a critical period as the longstanding fight to ensure educational equality in non-public schools, including Haredi Yeshivas, hits a defining moment. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recently released new regulations that aim to enforce the Substantial Equivalency education law. The public comment period, a window of time designated to us providing feedback on these regulations, is open until May 31st. It is gratifying to see that rabbis and leaders across the Jewish community are speaking up on this issue, and encouraging their fellow Jews to do so, as well.
More than 150 rabbis and Jewish leaders have signed a letter urging NYSED to enforce minimum education standards. In the letter, the rabbinic and communal leaders express their strong support for regulations in Yeshivas, where tens of thousands of Hasidic school children are currently being denied access to a basic secular education. Their resounding message is this: It is upon state officials to act decisively on this issue, to ensure that all students under their jurisdiction are provided with the basic education the law expects.
If you are a rabbi or Jewish leader who would like to add your name to this important letter, please click here.
We, the undersigned, are Jewish leaders and rabbis from across the New York Jewish community, who share deep concern about the lack of secular education in many Haredi yeshivas across New York State.
At this very moment, in violation of state law, tens of thousands of children who attend these yeshivas are being denied even a rudimentary English, math, science, and social studies education. Without instruction in these foundational areas of study, Haredi students are ill-equipped to secure a well-paying job when they enter adulthood. It also severely restricts their personal freedoms and autonomy. This often leads many of these yeshiva graduates to be steeped in poverty, forced to depend on government assistance to make ends meet.
Judaic studies alone is not enough. While our Torah and traditions are enriching, they are not a substitute for formal education in English, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Our speaking out about this injustice is an act of love and fellowship, both a moral and religious obligation. Advocating for Haredi children and their futures is more than just another noble cause deserving of widespread recognition and attention; it is sacred work that we must all take part in in fulfillment of our responsibility as Klal Yisrael, members of the Jewish People.
This is hardly a parochial issue. As Jews, this issue belongs to all of us, regardless of denomination, practice or observance. Indeed, the responsibility lies with us to fervently commit to improving the overall lives and futures of the tens of thousands of Haredi yeshiva students.
Together we call on the New York State Education Department to enforce education standards in Haredi yeshivas. Basic literacy is a basic right. This is the only way to ensure that our Jewish brothers and sisters are granted the opportunity they deserve to gain essential skills to support their growth into the next generation of the Jewish people, upon whom our future depends.
|Ms.||Abigail S. Moore|
|Mrs. Allyne Schwartz||Allyne Schwartz|
|Ms.||Andrea Salwen Kopel|
|Rabbi||Ayelet S. Cohen|
|Rabbi, Dr.||Barat Ellman|
|Dr.||Barbara S. Kane|
|Rabbi||Charles P Rabinowitz|
|Rabbi||David L Kline|
|Prof.||Elaine C Klein|
|Ellyn Amron Austin|
|Artistic Director||Heidi Latsky|
|Rabbi||Irving yitz greenberg|
|Jamie Allen Black|
|Dr.||Jessica R. Brown|
|Rabbi Dr.||Jo David|
|Rabbi Dr.||Judith Edelstein|
|Karen R. Adler|
|Karyn Grossman Gershon|
|Rabbi||Lauren Grabelle Herrmann|
|Letty Cottin Pogrebin|
|Rabbi||Marla J. Feldman|
|Merav Fine Braun|
|Rabbi||Miriam Van Raalte|
|Ms.||Nancy K Kaufman|
|Rabbo||Paul F Resnick|
|Mr.||Peter A Geffen|
|Phyllis Teicher Goldman|
|Rabbi||Rachel Grant Meyer|
|Political Director||Rachel McCullough|
|Rabbi||Shelley Kovar Becker|