Eliminating secular subjects from yeshiva curriculum

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    Major Orthodox organizations have state that they will not comply with requirements from the NY Board of Education.
    But parents will still be on the hook to provide a basic secular education or have their children be declared truant.
    Are there “kosher” homeschooling options available, for individual filled or “learning pods”?


    One option is to have the secular curriculum run by a separate corporation and in effect the Torah portion would have the same status as the goyim’s “Sunday schools”, except ours would be running 20-40 hours a week. That would free the yeshiva from government interference, but whatever alternative schools we set up (and homeschooling is just a type of alternative school) would still have to deal with a hostile government. We need to remember that the hostility is against the yeshivos per se, but is actually directed against all religious and ideological community who reject the “woke” religion or militant secularism, and as long as the Democrats have solid control of the state and local government, Yidden (and many others) will have reason to fear persecution. If the litigation fails, and the electorate continues to support the “freedom from religion” regime, the only option is migration to a jurisdiction that support freedom of religion (and if you are a home owner in New York State, the forced migration of Yidden will have a devastating effect on your investment).


    New York might soon find itself with 100,000 “truants” whose parents refuse to budge one inch. Let’s set how successful the District Attorney’s in New York will be in prosecuting the parents of these 100,000 truants.


    It would make considerably more sense for the yeshivos to find their own ways of assuring their students have basic proficiency in english language and math skills to function in society rather than having to comply with “one size fits all” state regulations on hours of instruction etc. Parents should not have to engage in “home schooling” to avoid their kids being functionally illiterate when they graduate high school. They should have the skills to get a good job in the modern economy if they choose to do so when they graduate or perhaps a few years later if they want to continue full time learning for a while.


    @ ujm Budge from what? Having למודי חול taught in yeshiva? If the choose is between government interference with staffing and corriculum, or having parents homeschool for secular subjects the choice is obvious.
    There is already precedent for children who are either working or studying to do a limited amount of work to satisfy basic state requirements. Just wondering if there are “kosher programs” available.


    “The only option is migration to a jurisdiction that supports freedom of religion..”
    I’m trying to visualize Texas versions of Willy, BP and KJ….there is a Texas expression that pokes fun at “newbies” who just arrived who seek to adopt a Lone Star State persona.
    “All hat, no cowboy”. Clearly, litvish style black hats will work well but there will be some initial puzzlement regarding Shtreimlach along with Huizen Zaaken and Bekeshes.

    Reb Eliezer

    I received a high school academic degree from Yeshiva Chasan Sofer after passing the Regents in 1966.

    Shimon Nodel

    This may nor seem obvious to some, but it is a very real concern.
    If you separate the yeshivos from the school system, many thousands of families would stop sending their kids to yeshivos altogether. Some would suffice by homeschooling both lemudei kodesh (a terrible and devastating prospect) and lemudei chol. Others would end up accepting public schools as a legitimate option for their children. We would undo a hundred years of progress, only this time infinitely more catastrophic.


    As RebE, you can pass GED. How much effort is really needed to pass _minimal_ requirements for an American high-schooler?! Maybe you can teach math and American history in Yiddish – or Aramaic? Bein Adams vehavero: Inyan of machlokes Yefferson ve’Adams vedrakei shalom. Vemetu b’yom ehad. Elu vElu …


    thought experiment: what if the heilicke East Ramapo school board open an actual public school? They can hire teachers, control curriculum, establish dress code, expel for using bad language. Can they avoid coed? Maybe they can make limudei kodesh in the morning and chol in the afternoon. Imagine a kiddush Hashem when the next generation of Hispanic politicians, proud graduates of Monsey Elyon, in suits and hats, will speak Spanish with light Yiddish accent.


    @ Gadol There is already a yeshiva and Kollel in Texas, but I’m sure there are some who would prefer a separate community.
    I think there is a site in Waco available…


    @ Gadol But the plus of Texas would be direct access to cleaning ladies…


    “All hat, no cattle” is a better version… Yidden used to do shehitah right in NYC, so it would be possible to get some cattle going. Deep South might be a more heimishe place. From my little experience, there are people there who are very excited to see Jewish people outside of the pictures in their Bible class. The biggest cultural problem though will not be hats but drastically different speed of speech, A NYer will not be able to stand there for 10 minutes waiting for the local to finish the greeting.


    I’m not sure what the big fuss is here.
    As ujm noted, the parents of these schools won’t comply and it’s not like the city can win this battle. For these parents it’s yaharog v’al yaavor. The only thing they can do is yank funding.
    As for not getting a diploma, I can assure you that is already the case of a large percentage of yeshiva boys. A good percentage of Yeshivos in Lakewood don’t even offer English. I do not know anyone in Lakewood who has been arrested for truancy.
    One of my kids who graduated HS a few years ago in Brooklyn, he was the only one to take the SAT and one of 4 graduates with a regents diploma.
    So if a kid wants to go to college he can get a GED. But most of these kids have no interest in college anyway.
    So what is the big fuss?

    emes nisht sheker

    Not enrolling in a school that provides required education would probably be guaranteed wins for the State if they pursue truancy charges and penalties (monetary and jail time) against parents.

    Unfortunately this whole issue came to a head and is likely unwinnable because there are communities that rely heavily on welfare and also provide no secular education. The Amish case does not help here. As much as the Supreme Court supports freedom of religion and all that, understand that these are people that do not come from backgrounds where reliance on welfare is looked favorable on.


    Addressing your two points
    2) do you really think the state will attempt to prosecute tens of thousands of chassidim? Even if they just pick a few handfuls to try to make a point, do you not think they would rather go to jail? And that’s not very good optics for the state. I don’t see them being able to win that battle. If it was me, I would gladly sit in jail.

    2) again. All they can do is pull funding. Either from Yeshivos or various programs. But then it looks like they are singling out Jews and what politician wants to be labeled an antisemite?

    The way I see it, the only thing they can do ( besides pulling the funding) is the clear that a high school does not meet equivalency and therefore the graduate will not get a GED/diploma
    But as I said above they just don’t care. So what is the big concern here?


    ENS: There’s no data whatever demonstrating that Chareidim use welfare any more proportionally than African Americans who go to public schools. Therefore your insinuation that the Supreme Court would treat these Jews worse than their decision for the Amish, or that the Amish case, which is now the law of the land, is for some reason inapplicable to these Jews, is laughable.


    @ mentch I don’t know, what kind of pressure was the state able to bear on Lev Tahor?

    emes nisht sheker

    mentsch 1 – Jail is an extreme option. Most likely if the State wants to win this they would pursue monetary penalties as well as possibly pulling welfare from parents of truant children. Really don’t think many parents would hold out against such threats (also makes the antisemitism charges moot).

    ujm – Few issues with your statement. (1) data exists for places like New Square showing heavy reliance on public welfare. So regardless whether you compare to black people in public school or not it does not change that there is heavy reliance on welfare. (2) comparing a “successful” community to an economically disadvantaged one with unstable households, maybe sounds good in your mind but doubt will convince others. Or is your argument that our communities are failures as well but just not as big as a failure as say the black one in public schools? Neither argument is very convincing to your cause. (3) The Amish rejected all forms of public welfare. It is a very different standard as to what you suggest. It would be very easy in court to prove reliance on welfare. Just get a list of families and compare that to welfare rolls. (4) as mentioned before, I would not assume how these justices view this as the idea of not providing a basic secular education and reliance on welfare does not align with their lives. Brett Kavanaugh went to Georgetown Prep and then Yale, Gorsuch went to Georgetown Prep followed by Columbia, Barrett also went to top-notch schools with highly ranked secular education. As religious as they are their way of religious life and education is nothing like what goes on in the Yeshiva’s with no secular education.



    A. The State cannot legally deny an entitlement program (note the name) such as TANF or SNAP, for unrelated reasons. That would effectively deny food for the children. And the parents of the 100,000 “truants” don’t pay their monetary penalties, they’ll jail them en masse? Be real.

    B. 1) KJ and NS are little rural towns with very limited populations. Data from those little towns can ONLY be applied to residents of those towns. You cannot extrapolate data from there and apply it to 200,000 other “Jews” in the State simply because, hey, those towns are supposedly the same kind of Jews. No court would accept such antisemitic tropes. That would be, lhavdil, like applying the criminal rate of African Americans in Washington, DC to blacks nationwide. Hey, they’re black and they’re black.

    You have no data on welfare acceptance rates of Jews in New York statewide because such data does not exist. There’s no reason to believe it is any higher than African Americans who went to public school, and it most likely is much less.

    2) a Are you implying that the African American community is a failed one? b. Why are AA more “economically disadvantaged” than us? Only an answer acceptable and provable in court is worth answering.

    3) The Supreme Court’s decision in Yoder does not at all rest upon, or even mention, the welfare rate among the Amish. (And, again, there’s no data showing Orthodox Jews are taking welfare more than average, in any event.)

    C. The fact of the matter is that Chareidim AND Chasidim make more per working person than the average American as a whole, forget about African Americans. The only reason even in KJ/NS the official data shows so-called “poverty”, is because they have LARGE FAMILY SIZES K”H, i.e. many children per family with two parent households. Since the poverty statistics are based on family size, a family in KJ or NS with two parents and eight children (i.e. a family size of 10 — many are k’h even larger) where the father, who is a Yeshiva graduate is earning $90,000 a year is counted as “impoverished”, whereas the single parent family with two kids and a dog (family size of three) elsewhere in the middle of New York State, where the parent, who graduated from the local public school, earns $55,000 a year, is considered middle class.

    In other words, the Yeshiva graduates are earning more than the public school graduates, but the Yeshiva graduates are counted as poor due to large families, whereas the public school graduates earning less are counted as middle class. This renders use of these “statistics” effectively meaningless as a gauge whether Yeshiva graduates, with their much less time for secular studies, are earning any less than public school graduates.

    In fact, EVEN IF there’s a higher welfare rate among some Jews, it is because they have larger families that make them eligible for welfare even though they earn more money than non-welfare gentile families. Nothing to do with a lack of a proper secular education.

    In the real world we know the Yeshiva graduates, even the Chasidish ones, are on average earning much more than the average American. But in any event, there are no existing statistics to prove it either way in court. So the argument will fail.


    Dig up NYCLU article and their reference to East Ramapo “wealth”. Their presentation is extremely biased, but there are some public numbers they are using that you may want to unpack to show the economic state of the community.

    emes nisht sheker


    1. I have heard of various laws that give such power to the State to refuse welfare in such cases.

    2. NS was an example I provided to you. In court the state can easily subpoena data for any school that would try to bring a case under the Yoder standard.

    3. The Yeshiva’s try to compare their outcome to the black community in public school, just going with the standard that those arguing Yeshiva’s with no secular education are doing fine. Why not compare to non-Jewish private schools run by the diocese instead?

    4. You say the SC case does not refer to welfare…. yet, below is a quote where the SC in its decision distinctly notes the rejection of welfare in determining the Amish’s self-sufficiency, which is key to the case.

    “Whatever their idiosyncrasies as seen by the majority, this record strongly shows that the Amish community has been a highly successful social unit within our society, even if apart from the conventional ‘mainstream.’ Its members are productive and very law-abiding members of society; they reject public welfare in any of its usual modern forms. The Congress itself recognized their self-sufficiency by authorizing exemption of such groups as the Amish from the obligation to pay social security taxes”

    5. You make some claims about poverty levels strictly being dependent on family size… Ok. Sounds good in your head but where you can pull actual data from shows your claims are not based in reality. New Square Median Household Income is $24,164, for the Bronx that number is $41,895 and for Brooklyn that number is $63,973.

    But let’s look at per capita income… NS is $8,702, Bronx is $22,749 and Brooklyn is $36,295… But family size… Well NS average family size is 5.26 vs the Bronx being 2.71 and Brooklyn being 2.61 so average family income in NS is $45,773, the Bronx $61,650 and Brooklyn $94,730.

    So when you look at the data the numbers for NS are not great… Kiryas Joel has per capita income of $9,119 with an average family size of 5.6 which gets average family income to $51,066 which is still less than the Bronx or Brooklyn.

    So no, these Jewish families are not making more money. They are making less (or are you saying they are under-reporting income and committing welfare fraud? Shame on you for even suggesting that). But you say there are no statistics to prove any of this, well I would disagree.

    In any case the burden will be on Yeshiva’s here to show they are putting out a self-sufficient community to meet the Yoder standard and not the other way around. But in case you think it is the other way around the publicly available data, no matter how you cut it strongly indicates the places with the least secular education are associated with very low income levels and high reliance on welfare.


    ENS, thanks for the numbers. Here KJ is close enough to Bronx.

    I am sure we need to do some adjustments here. First, you have a good approach doing “family” rather than person, this compensates for larger Jewish families. Another question would be ages – if Jews have larger families, than maybe average age is lower and this greatly affects the income. Also – are these numbers before or after government transfers? This will affect all calculations.

    also, you want to compare KJ with other similar areas, not parts of NYC.



    1. NY has no such legal ability.

    2. Subpoena whom? The Yeshivos do not have income information of their graduated students.

    Additionally, the Yoder case doesn’t have any criteria to claim that educational exception other than the expression of sincerely held religious beliefs.

    3. Because if you want to argue the Yeshivos, AS IS today, are producing a worse outcome DUE TO their lack of a more serious secular studies curriculum, then the Yeshivos can use whichever demographic of their choice that does have a compliant secular program to compare themselves to.

    4. The justices are simply describing the various attributes of the Amish community. The decision, though, is a binding precedent even for others who do not share every attribute of the Amish community.

    5. Firstly, you’re again attempting to extrapolate data from NS to non-NS Jews. You cannot.

    Secondly, NS is generally two parent families with one working parent and one stay at home parent. The secular world is generally both parents (or “partners”, at they’re often living together unmarried with children) are working; and sometimes even their 18+ year old children are in the workforce, for a third (or more) income. So with one working parent in NS, they can still be earning more INDIVIDUALLY, even though your statistics are combining all working adults in the family to produce a higher income per secular family.

    Thirdly, your KJ data shows a very nice income compared to the Bronx, even if it is a bit below average. That makes my case much more than yours. Especially, combined with my previous point under “Secondly”.

    Fourthly, we both know that there’s more cash income not reflected in the statistics. (Take the moral discussion to a new thread. But note that in court divorce proceedings, the court WILL count off-the-books income in determining asset separation, child support, alimony, etc, without engaging in a moral or criminal outlook.) Look at the quality of the homes, the material possessions, how they’re dressed and the relatively lavish and frequent simchos made even by the average citizen in those two upstate towns compared to the Bronx.

    Yes, these Jews are definitely making more money than their Bronx public school graduating compatriots.

    And the burden to prove otherwise is on the anti -Yeshiva forces if they think they can take away the Jews and the Yeshivos constitutional rights as outlined by SCOTUS in Yoder. The Yeshivos and the Jewish community do not have to prove they did lose those constitutional rights of freedom of religion as it pertains to education.

    emes nisht sheker

    AAQ –

    It is a fair point about the age but don’t think it will make places like KJ or NS equivalent to Brooklyn. Maybe the Bronx, but you are now comparing to the poorest borough.

    End of the day, there is still high reliance on welfare and if the thinking is that they have a good showing under Yoder, I doubt that to be the case.

    emes nisht sheker


    “Fourthly, we both know that there’s more cash income not reflected in the statistics.”

    The point I have tried to make again and again is that this all goes back to welfare. Reduce reliance on welfare and the SC will not tolerate the State interfering as was the case with Yoder. If the above point you claim is true, then the fraudulent reliance on welfare in such a case reflects poor education in being part of the larger society and would support fare worse intrusion by the State into our education.

    And despite all your contentions about the Yoder case the self-sufficiency of the Amish community is a key element as the court balanced the state’s interests versus religious rights. Because they were self-sufficient as evidenced by rejecting welfare the state could not make a good enough argument that they had a strong enough interest to outweigh the religious rights. Had they not been self-sufficient (e.g. heavy reliance on welfare) hard to imagine the outcome would be the same.


    > The Yeshivos do not have income information of their graduated students.

    I quoted some of those recently from the data they submitted to the Dept of Ed


    ujm > we both know that there’s more cash income not reflected in the statistics.

    I thought we were discussing religious communities. According to many authorities, the above means such people are not religious and should not be counted for this discussion.

    > self-sufficiency of the Amish community is a key element as the court

    I did not read the case, just the editorials about it and those also think that self-sufficiency was the crucial part of that decision.

    > they can still be earning more INDIVIDUALLY,

    this is a very good point. I am sure there are ways to include child raising as part of the value to the society.


    ENS/AAQ: Good grief, people. Who said this cash income isn’t being reported to the IRS? All your above statistics in this thread is NOT IRS data! And you’re both assuming the worst in other Yidden; that they don’t report their cash income for tax purposes?! Of course they do.


    And, for the umpteenth time, the Chasidim are very self sufficient. Their incomes are above the national average and certainly above the average of other minority groups that go to public school. And their welfare acceptance rates are below other minority groups that go to public school.

    emes nisht sheker

    ujm – you don’t make a whole lot of sense. I looked at public data. If there is cash income not included in that but reported to the IRS… Yeah ok. I don’t have time for such mental gymnastics.

    And nothing you said changes the evidence of high reliance on welfare by communities that also teach very little secular education. How will you show self-sufficiency when welfare reliance is high? Comparing to minority groups in public schools, even if those groups are worse, maybe sounds good as a talking point, but I don’t think gets you around this issue that the State has a vested interest anytime you can’t clearly show self-sufficiency. The Amish met a very difficult standard here that I don’t think various communities affected by these new laws can come close to meeting.


    Again, no one needs to be exactly like the Amish to benefit from the constitutional rights of freedom of religion pertaining to education enumerated in Yoder. If anyone wants to strip anyone else of their First Amendment rights, then any burden of proof lies upon such party. Taking a small rural town and attempting to apply it to others, only because they share the same religion, won’t fly in court. Aside from the fact that the difference in income between the compared parties is rather small in any event.


    Ujm you are making things up.
    As of the 2020 census, the median household income across the US was $67,521. In NY it was $71,117.
    In Kiryas Joel it was $35,437.
    The official poverty rate for the country was 11.4%. In NY it was 17.9%.
    In Kiryas Joel it was 41.3%.
    Can you explain that?


    Again someone is taking a small upstate rural village and attempting to extrapolate that data to city dwellers almost a hundred miles away. Why? Because, hey, they both look like the same kind of Jews.

    That’s like blaming blacks nationwide for the black incarceration rate in Washington, DC.

    emes nisht sheker

    ujm –

    You are seemingly convinced that chassidic schools in NYC that teach no secular education, if you pull a list of graduates and families from that school you will not find heavy reliance on welfare. Yet, Public Data indicates that Williamsburg and Borough Park are near the top recipients for Food Stamps.

    But believe what you will.


    ENS: That’s complete sheker. There are many neighborhoods with larger food stamps acceptance than Boro Park and Williamsburg. Are all your previous comments also filled with false data? Additionally, Willy has a significant Hispanic population.

    emes nisht sheker

    ujm – all you have done is disagree with everyone you want to without presenting any data to make your case. If you convinced yourself then great. I see no point in further arguing the point.


    could you guys be more specific with numbers? It is an interesting discussion and you are waving your hands around. You need to bring specific numbers, see what they mean, possibly adjust for family and location, etc. You will not convince each by who shouts LOUDER (or anyone else)


    step 1: pls define zip codes or districts with large jewish population and what kind of population it is
    step 2: find several most comparable non-jewish areas in terms of geography

    emes nisht sheker

    AAQ – I presented enough data already. Everyone is welcome to form their own conclusions. Ultimately, what matters is how a court will see all this and not who shouts louder here.

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