Withholding funding: Checkmate

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    Governor Cumos threat to withhold state funding from schools who dont comply with health department directives, and from local governments that dont enforce those directives, is a game changer.
    Even if funds could be raised by effected מוסדות to cover the shortfall to the schools, the political fallout from local governments losing state funding would wipe away any trace of cooperation or good will by Orthodox community enjoys.
    It’s time for responsible actors in the community to ask whether conservative or libertarian principles justify putting חינוך in the path of a political hurricane. Its too easy to confuse “standing up for your rights” with “fighting city hall””. In this case, I fear that those who insist that the ציבור resist all Covid related restrictions have placed their principles above the social and political wellbeing of our community.
    In the end, Trump will lose NY. Even he wins nationally, well still rely on the goodwill of the governor and mayor for cooperation across a range of issues. Covid restrictions, and particular mask wearing, seem to be a comparatively trivial issue to risk so much over.


    Good luck. 83% of the frum world gets its clues from fox news hosts and presidential twitter rants — fight to the death for personal freedom and have zero regard for social responsibility. We cry about tinokos shel beis rabban until we have to wear a mask so tinokos shel beis rabban can continue going to cheder. Draw the line right there. My kids will stay home and watch dora the explorer until their eyes fall out if need be but I will not wear a mask or skip simchas torah shul kiddush just because cuomo said so.


    @se2015 My kids will stay home and watch dora the explorer

    By the way, if someone has kids at home – why do they feel a need to go to a shul and demand that schools take kids away from your home, when they can fulfill a mitzva of teaching their kids Torah, job, and swimming. To put it simple – why walk to say “veshinantem levaneha” instead of just doing it?!

    Pilpul: Davening in a shul without a mask is sfeik sfeika (meshugene is not hayav to daven, and prayers are probably not accepted while doing an avera), while teaching a kid is just sofek – either they will learn or not.


    Your points are well taken however there
    are 2 issues here that cause mosdos and kehillos to fight – both not necessarily correct but I can hear them
    1). That Torah of tinokos shel bais raabon is not allowed to ever be suspended. So we need mesiras nefesh for that
    2). A perfect example is when another comment here says “that my kids will stay home watching Dora the explorer until their eyes fall out”. I assume that’s an internet show. Wouldn’t happen if kids were in yeshivas
    Trump May very well win by the silent majority that hated lawlessness, defund police, BLM, going back to Iran an Palestinians, etc. As Yidden we owe him Hakoras Hatov and our votes


    Azoiy, I understand the need to teach Torah
    best way to achieve that goal is to be extra careful in both medical and political aspects. If opening schools require mesiras nefesh, then focus your community on this prime goal: you should close shuls, stores, parks, all adults walk in N95 masks, do not travel, test proactively, stay home when sick, keep each class separate, open windows in classes, buy air purifiers. I think this will be a success medically, and you’ll be written up positively even in NYT.


    let’s get to basics: Bava Basra praises R Yehoshua b’ Gamla for opening schools that were able to compensate for parents, not all of whom were able to teach children. Some read this Gemora to mean that parents teaching kids is still preferable where possible.

    So, could now at least some parents teach kids at home? I think amount of time that last couple of generations were able to spend learning is way much than farmers during 2nd Temple had. We have more texts and videos than ever. Of course, challenges are different also, But, still – could some parents fulfill the mitzva of teaching their kids themselves? Did some try? what are results?


    Azoiy, that other comment was by me, and I was being satirical.

    Yes, Dora the explorer is a kids cartoon about an illegal immigrant who gets separated from her parents at the border. She is trying to get to her grandmothers house before ICE catches her and puts her in a detention center. Sad actually.


    “best way to achieve that goal is to be extra careful in both medical and political aspects”

    Right. If we really thought yeshivas were the most important thing, we would have been doing it all along instead of foolishly insisting on the our rights to go maskless during a global pandemic or blithely ignoring our responsibility to everyone else.

    Decency is Key

    This isn’t about doing what’s right, because they DID do what was right and were still shut down. Multiple Yeshivos were visited by health inspectors before RH who praised their compliance, PPE usage, procedures to minimize interaction between cohorts, quarantining of cohorts if there was a suspected exposure. They were shut down the next day.

    We do what’s right, we’re called out for the few who don’t. Stop the blame game.


    Decency, I don’t know where you live, but here in the red zone, from around a week after shavuous until just before Yom Kippur, the majority of frum Jews acted like they were only dimly aware that a pandemic was happening somewhere else. If it wasn’t exactly back to normal, that was only because it was harder to book a hall for a 600 person wedding.

    If you’re going to claim that the frum community has in fact complied with the law all along then you must be saying that there has been an resurgence of infections in spite of such compliance. If that is true, then how does it makes sense for the governor to anything but order further restrictions. That in a nutshell was the self defeating argument submitted to a federal judge last week. But of course none of it was true. There are a few shuls that comply, including at least one of the plaintiff shuls, but those are exceptions and we all know it. Despite that, we’ll attack the governor for becoming an overnight anti semite instead of following health guidelines.

    Perhaps if the approach had been to acknowledge lax compliance with existing laws and presented a plan going forward, the state would have given it a shot. For all I know, agudah tried it. But the kicker is that so many of us are so sold on ridiculous conspiracy theories, on the notion of our personal rights obliterating any moral responsibility, that we can’t even commit to following laws. From what I observed, compliance ticked up just before Yom Kippur but had already waned just after first days of yom tov, even before the governor announced plans about zones.

    The fact that yeshivas are closed and tinokos shel beis rabbah are sitting at home or struggling to learn on zoom, is a direct result of our community’s misplaced priorities and our willingness to embrace politics and conspiracy theories over derech eretz and common sense.


    “We were doing everything right and they still shut us down.”
    That is exactly what the Catholkc schools and churches are saying.
    Unfortunately they are in the same geographic area as those who think burning masks in the street sends a message of responsibility and respect. אוי לרשע אוי לשכיניי
    To those who dont have any experience with dealing with city agencies, be aware that only the most clueless of fools will flaunt noncompliance with health department regulations. It’s a big mindless beaurocaxy that doesnt discriminate or show mercy or understanding when enforcing the rules. Maybe you’re smart enough to argue down a library fine or a speeding ticket.
    Not a violation of public health restrictrictions during a pandemic.

    ☕️coffee addict

    I’m surprised that out of 50 states the only states to have “cases in schools” is NY and NJ

    Don’t tell me other states are closing schools because they’re not and their percentages are higher

    So it has nothing to do with health


    Addict, learn דף יומי and apply it to the zones of infection in NYC. It’s literally an עירוב map for Brooklyn.
    It may be easier to externalize the problem and blame it on anti semites, or even dismiss it and claim that as long as that many people aren’t dying it doesnt matter. But I think the time has come for honesty and perhaps a little courage. Infection is higher in religous neighborhoods then surrounding areas because compliance is lax, and its inexusable. Simply put, if we can wear streimels in the summer, we can wear masks to the grocery. The ציבור is strong and resilient and enough to get through this without excuses.


    I don’t live in NYC, but logically, getting money for schools is more important than having rights to play in playgrounds. If you’re already paying taxes to NYC, bout might as well get some benefit from your own taxes. Logically, just sitting this out is logical.

    Now, besides that, there is a wicked double standard I do not like when people have the right to go on planes (which is a small space) but not shuls (which can be much larger). The Corona pandemic is being used by the secular elites as an attack on our traditions.

    Decency is Key

    I live in Midwood and I’ve never seen the laxity which you’re referring to. An 8 year old kid came into one of the shuls without a mask in August and they kicked him out. On YK, when Jews were told by the rabbanim to wear the masks outside, even though they weren’t required outside yet, EVERY Jewish person I passed in the street was wearing a mask. EVERY non-Jewish person I saw in the street WASN’T – I saw plenty.

    I haven’t been to the BP area in a while, but around here the guidelines have been followed.

    As far as schools go, I’m aware of what was going on within a number of mosdos and will just ask you to re-read what my original post because it is an accurate account of what happened. They were following guidelines in excess of CDC suggestion, working with an infectious disease specialist, and were shut down regardless.

    ☕️coffee addict

    Mr. Ribiat,

    1) Have you seen the outbreak in other districts?

    2) do you think those locations are ghettos where only Jews live in?

    I took a walk around where I live (in one of the zones) and figured out the percentage of non Jewish people I saw and it came out to 62% wore masks (31 out of 50)

    On the second day there was a birthday party happening with little kids having pony rides (looked like there was masks but I’m not sure how hygienic it was)

    (Granted I saw a lot less Jews wearing masks, but you can’t say we’re the only cause of it


    Reb Addict,
    As a wise man once told me, הלכה עשב שונא ליעקב. doesnt mean that we should knowingly provoke animosity.
    The מגילה records המן as basing his decree on the claim that יש עם אחד… ואת דתי המלך אינם עושים. Shouldnt we be doing everything can to show good citizenship?
    Prejudice and גזירות are in the hands of the רבש”ע; what we can control our own behaviour. Its time to restore respect and dignity to how we present ourselves to the world.

    ☕️coffee addict

    Mr ribiat

    I didn’t know grass hates us that badly 😜

    The Jews during chanuka and communist Russia obviously don’t follow your view

    There is no comparison between going to school and a zoom class and there is no reason why kids shouldn’t go to school (there is no known fact that they can transmit it)


    Reb Addict,

    You’re not equating the refusal to social distance or wear masks with the matters of faith that Jews have joyously endured every matter of suffering for.
    You’re arguing that no matter what the cause, we cant close our yeshivos, and that we should endure every sacrifice to keep them open.
    I just dont see how you can accomplish that with some sort or reconciliation with the broader community of human beings who live in NY state.
    Choosing a hill to die on because you just want to be left alone sounds more like Branch Davidians than Orthodox Judaism.

    ☕️coffee addict

    “I just dont see how you can accomplish that with some sort or reconciliation with the broader community of human beings who live in NY state.“

    That was done, I don’t know where you’ve been they aren’t outright flouting the rules


    The liability with accepting government handouts and patronage, is the government does not give out money our of love, it is because it wants something. You ask them for money and forgot to ask what they will want in return. Perhaps one needs to review Pirke Avos, which discussed this very problem.


    “If you’re going to claim that the frum community has in fact complied with the law all along then you must be saying that there has been an resurgence of infections in spite of such compliance. ”

    In my neighborhood we DO comply and go beyond what is required, which is what good frum Jews are supposed to do. Indoor minyans have really strict social distance rules. Many minyans are outdoors. No passing around the Torah. Anyone not in a mask is not allowed in. Same for schools: no mask, no entry. Lots of remote learning. Walls torn down for better ventilation and lots of disinfectant everywhere. No public funerals.

    And no increase in cases.

    This isn’t a burden. I like davening outdoors! It is like the Holy Kotel. And we even have a lot of feral cats running around to remind us of Jerusalem!!!


    The Top 10 things we appreciate about living through a pandemic is next weeks thread.
    (But since you shared, mine is “no משלוחים ringing the bell after מעריב”).


    @Coffee addict said “ I’m surprised that out of 50 states the only states to have “cases in schools” is NY and NJ

    Don’t tell me other states are closing schools because they’re not…”

    Actually, schools have been closing in the Midwest (plenty in Montana, Wisconsin, and both Dakotas) and the south. I know plenty of people who live ‘Out of Town’ but not in those places.

    Otherwise, I can agree. Just recently 2 towns surrounding Lakewood closed their parks to lessen the spread of COVID. It was “pure coincidence“ that it started right at the beginning of חול המועד‎ and they are reopening now. And in the meantime, the websites are publishing photos of people sneaking into a side entrance while the police blocked the main entrance (and directed traffic). The hatred posted on these sites in unreal. Yes, this is Golus, but comments relating back to Germany?!

    And there is a lot of compliance going on in Lakewood. Schools, shuls, stores, plenty of masks. At least as many as in goyish areas in nearby towns, maybe even more. But it only takes a few people, a few photos, and they are looking to shut everything down.

    Decency is Key

    Charli, Midwood has a very high compliance rate in shuls and out and about and one of the highest # of positive cases. One neighborhood over where there has been little compliance and a large religious population was never considered a red zone and did not have this rise in cases.

    Despite the fact that we have many cases in these religious neighborhoods, we are not spreading the virus exponentially. This would be the case if we were “not complying”. There are individuals within certain kehillos who are intentionally flouting the guidelines, however it is not a large portion of Orthodox, Hasidic Jews.

    As of yesterday the transmission rate in BP is lower than the transmission rate in 56 other zip codes. Many people have it, many large families may have contracted it and shared it within the household, but the cases aren’t rising in a way that would suggest virulent spreading.

    High cases, but contained and not increasing exponentially, which means there IS a certain level of compliance, even above some other communities.

    BTW, the hardest hit community, which also has the MOST cases currently is a majority Muslim community in Queens that had a mass gathering last week, with little compliance according to eyewitnesses, that was never even mentioned on the news. You really have to start doing research and stop believing everything you see at face value.


    Decency – it seems silly to disagree about facts, but I have to say again that from what I observed in numerous places, compliance in the orthodox community, including parts of Midwood, through the summer and most of September, was mostly non-existent.

    To be clear, Cuomo has been very heavy handed about this. I’m also a little suspicious about improving numbers so quickly after drawing zone maps — I don’t see how clusters fade in less than a week. You would think that with effective measures infection rates to continue to rise for a bit before falling. In any event, none of that excuses the lack of compliance and lack of derech eretz.


    @Decency, transmission is very clustered. A city or a country can be ok one day, and not OK another day.

    I did not hear about any cases in the community for several months, but then one family visited relatives in NYC and sent multiple kids to several school next week. Everything closed down for a couple of weeks. How far transmission is going depends really on how close kids and parents were in contact with others.

    So, if you are a member of similar community with not many cases and connections to general population, you can either be careful all the time, or establish an early warning system where people report cases and be ready with maybe 10-20 people getting sick and everyone else getting back to careless life in 2 weeks. Ask your Rav what is better,


    Coffee Addict: NO ONE says that yidden are the only non-compliant segment of the population that are the primary source of viral transmission. However, at least in the short term, they are the most visible non-compliant group in the neighborhoods with infection rates 3x to 4x higher than City averages. The shutdown restrictions apply equally to ALL religious institutions in those neighborhoods, Jewish and otherwise. Tonight, we read on the YWN news page that the City had to preemptively block a planned Satmar wedding in Willy where potentially up to ten thousand chassidim planned to attend. I have no way of knowing whether the story is true but if so, it reinforces the narrative that there is an arrogance that the “rules don’t apply to us” and Yidden are entitled to act like a bunch of college students at Spring Break with no consequences.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    GH – i think 10,000 was a typo. I also wonder if you could answer one question honestly for me, do you become so violently aggressive and hateful when you see people are lax in halacha and Torah laws as well?

    ☕️coffee addict


    Capitalizing “no one” doesn’t make it true

    You’re closing your eyes and ears to the truth, just listen to what Cuomo said


    Syag, >> when you see people are lax in halacha and Torah laws as well

    Can’t answer for GH, but I did point out to the kids that it is hillul Hashem when we saw Jewishly-dressed drivers driving dangerously and in disregard to other drivers. And at this point, when Rabbis from multiple groups paskening to be careful, I think such behavior is becoming CLEARLY against halakha [it was against halakha from day 1, but we can say that people were not warned].

    Incidently (?), Eruvin daf yomi discusses how to consider a Jew who openly violates just one area of halakha. We currently consider most un-observant Jews stolen children, but maybe we are now seeing a new generation of apikoirsem emerging, who are fully versed in Shulhan Oruch.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    When i hear her and Charlie cursing out people for daring to go to shul, i just wonder if they are as aggressive and threatening to people outside the pandemic for *not* going to shul. While i agree with the need to protect lives, it should be heavy hearted.


    Personally I think containing “microclusters” is a terrific idea. Instead of a second or third shutdown, like Israel has done, targeted lockdown to contain spikes while keeping the rest if the city and state moving makes sense, if it works. Unfortunately Israel tried the same thing (coincidentally(😉) their red zones were also predominantly חרדי) with limited success. To bad it didnt happen to someone else though (sarcasm intended).


    @Syag, not going to shul is a private matter. Endangering other people is different. You may have explanations, but mixing these things up is disingenuous. Note all the unfortunate news on the YWN front page: these are consequences of behaviors 2-3 weeks ago.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    The question was directed to GH for a reason.
    And unless you have nevuah, or access to data that hasn’t even been collected your speculations are somewhat meaningless.

    Decency is Key

    I’m pining to see which one of you volunteers as a Kapo when the “block by block” tracing turns into ghettos. Cases have been rising exponentially in other areas of the state, such as the Bronx and I have yet to see Cuomo call them out on the news.



    I had a different thread in mind for this week, but you’ve inspired me.

    “Some things are simply unique.”


    it is a reality for at least a couple of thousands of years that the world pays attention to what the Jews do. So, you need to behave accordingly. Start with doing minimally required by the government instead of pointing out that there is another place that does things wrong.

    Decency is Key

    I have stated that I’ve seen widespread compliance in Midwood. Others have stated that they haven’t seen it. I’m not sure where they live, but I live around several shuls and throughout the past month+ it is RARE to see a frum Jew without a mask. I’ve never advocated against wearing masks, myself and my family members wear masks whether we believe in their effectiveness or not.

    However, so many commenters, especially those who don’t live here, are convinced that we weren’t masked or social distanced and the government’s critique is warranted. In reality, there is a significant amount of anti Semitism that is driving the focus on the frum community. Cuomo pointed to one neighborhood, in which some were complying and some weren’t, and painted us all, even those of us from other areas, as “defiant spreaders”. His staffers admitted that there is no statistical measure with which the “Red Zones” were established. What was reported on the news wasn’t true of MOST of Orthodox Jews in NY. My point is that they’ll point out the few who aren’t compliant and make an issue of that, while simultaneously ignoring gatherings and non-compliance in non-Jewish areas despite a steep increase in cases.
    You are just incorrect to claim that these government actions are warranted.


    @Decency, I have enough testimony both from this site, other sites, and from very reliable direct witnesses that there are a number of places that are not doing the right thing. you are right, compliance, as well as the virus, are very clustered. Obviously, people who are sitting at home are not visible. Maybe you should organize masked processions to both City Hall and yeshivos that do not comply.

    Decency is Key

    This September I worked in 3 separate Yeshivos, all were complying. A number of yeshivos and schools actually worked with a leading epidemiologist to figure out a plan for this school year. Children are separated into cohorts and only come into contact with other children within their cohorts, even on bus rides to and from school. The schools that I worked in were all exceptionally careful. In one, a child was thought to have been exposed, wasn’t showing symptoms, and the entire class went into quarantine for two weeks. Prior to RH the inspectors came, praised the children’s compliance and the school’s procedures and then shut them down. I see countless Jews each day going to and from shul who are and have been wearing masks. This is why it frustrates me so much to hear the vitriol and blame coming from among us.

    Bottom line is, we’re araivim zeh lazeh. But that doesn’t make the slanderous claims logical or warranted.

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