DISRESPECTFUL: Roshei Yeshiva Met With NYS Education Commissioner; Were Given Assurances, AND THEN IGNORED

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It is clear to all who have been paying attention to the fight over the new curriculum guidelines imposed by the NYS Education Commissioner, that the battle is being led by HaRav Elya Brudny and Harav Yisroel Reisman, who have both been working tirelessly behind the scenes.

YWN published incredible videos by both of them explaining the severity of the new policy.

Now YWN can reveal some of the events which lead to the public campaign led by the Roshei Yeshiva.

First of all, both of these Rabbonim along with Rabbi Chaim David Zweibel of Agudath Israel traveled in early November to Albany and met with the Commissioner. She promised that it would be the beginning of a dialogue and would be in touch with them before any policy would be released.

But instead of dialogue, they have simply been ignored.

Just ONE HOUR before the policy was released, the Commissioner met with Rabbi Zwiebel and other members of her Advisory Committee to review the new guidelines with them. Even then, she refused to share a copy of the actual guidelines with them.

The Rabbonim then wrote a very respectful letter to the Commissioner dated November 27, 2018. The letter appears below online for the first time.

Now, it is December 15, and the Commissioner still hasn’t responded.

Some dialogue.

Where is the response? Where is the respect? Where is the decency?

YWN has learned that Rav Brudny and Rav Reisman have coordinated countless meetings to work toward a solution.

They took the unprecedented step of taking to the pages of the WSJ to make their concerns known. And the response has alerted sympathetic people to our plight.

They will continue to work with all those willing to help.

A petition has been circulating that has already gathered tens of thousands of signatures.

Klal Yisroel needs to ramp up the pressure, and Klal Yisroel needs to keep up the pressure.

With Rav Brudny and Rav Reisman at the helm, if we get behind them and give our leaders the support they need, we will b’ezras hashem get the resolution we need.

CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE THESE LETTERS

PREVIOUS YWN ARTICLES ABOUT THIS TOPIC:

SHOCK: New NYS Guidelines Require Yeshiva Elementary Schools to Teach AT LEAST 6 HOURS A DAY of Secular Studies

TROUBLE FOR NY YESHIVAS: Schools Could Face Pressure Under New Rules

Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Joel DECLARES WAR Against NYS Education Department [FULL AUDIO CLIP]

READ THIS: HaRav Yaakov Bender Slams NY Times Over Anti-Yeshiva Article Following New NYS Education Policy

YWN Speaks Up, The New York Times Backs Down – But Look What They Did Instead

HOW NYS BLATANTLY LIED: New York State Promised Yeshivas STEM Funding, Instead They Gave Them Regulations

WATCH: Member Of Moetzes, HaRav Elya Brudny Describes Threat To Chinuch With NYS Education Policy

WATCH: HaRav Yisroel Reisman Describes Threat To NYS Chinuch As DRACONIAN, OUTRAGEOUS, & IMMEDIATE

NOW THIS: Yeshiva of Flatbush BLASTS NY Times Over Photo; Demands Retraction & Apology

UNPRECEDENTED: HaRav Elya Brudny & HaRav Yisroel Reisman Write Joint Op-Ed In WSJ About New Yeshiva Curriculum Guidelines

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




44 COMMENTS

  1. Given the Democrats’ overall anti-religious policies (remember whose candidate campaigned on the promise to crack down on those who “cling” to religion) don’t expect a political solution.

    However America does have “rule of law” and the Supreme Court already established a right to religious schools. As long as the schools reject government funding, they are on strong constitutional grounds. Those who depend on getting money from the government, are “going up the creek without a paddle”.

  2. Why don’t they sue or have every child enroll in public school.
    I am not a Navi, but this might be a punishment to the disrespect of all the talmidim in applying process and throwing out.

  3. 
THIS WOMAN WAS FIRED FROM THE TAMPA SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT JOB AT HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOL FOR “CREATING A WORKPLACE CULTURE OF FEAR AND BULLYING…”

    https://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/frustration-with-superintendent-maryellen-elia-bubbled-over/2215041



    Tampa Bay Times on firing of  Hillsborough County school superintendent MaryEllen Elia:

    

”The members’ written evaluations of Elia over the past three years shed more light on their points of disagreement. Valdes accused Elia of creating a workplace culture of fear and bullying, and failing to pay enough attention to minorities, including Hispanics. 



    “Stuart criticized Elia’s interaction with the board, saying she failed to include them in events such as a teacher appreciation video and the governor’s visit. ”

    

Well then, Elia is certainly paying attention to Orthodox Jews and bullying them and putting fear in other religious institutions to teach secular subjects that may have no bearing at all on their life and way of living.


    LET HER TRY TO GET HER JOB BACK IN TAMPA AND NOT TAMPER WITH YESHIVAS AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.

  4. The petition that is circulating was quietly started by Rabbi Yosef Churba. I don’t know him and this was the first I heard of him but the ever-growing list of names is a Kiddush Hashem and a testament to the Achdus with regard to this threat. Clearly, negotiating with this woman is not the way to go. This will come down to a battle. That, or several hundred thousand Jewish children enroll at the public schools and see how they plan to follow through on their threats.

  5. Sad that Rav Brundy and Rav Reisman have to step in to fix a problem caused by other people, who seem to be doing nothing other than walking around in potato sacks.

  6. Everything that happens is from Hashem. A fast day is an “et ratzon”. Let us beg Hashem on asarah b’Teves to help against those who are surrounding the walls of Torah education and trying to breach it.
    Also, the yeshivas should strengthen and improve the Torah education they provide their students and also increase in ahavas Yisrael.

  7. Thom McCann, your tidbit is actualky so i.portant that you should send this as acommunication to D Zweibel at Agudath Yisroel. Sometimes these stories are mussed and they can make a lot of diffetence. Imagine using it as leverage, tossing this info straight in her face, and on the desks of legislators.

  8. There’s much to dig up on the commissioner. Look up the below title of an investigative article. I’ve included an excerpt. Clearly she has an agenda. Maybe she wants large numbers of yeshiva students to enroll in public schools because that would push their scores upwards on standardized tests. Who knows? One thing for sure, she uses bully tactics and does not understand OUR unwavering commitment to providing a Torah education. Just a hunch, but she would probably not want to be the trigger of any legal action.

    Charter schools making big profits for private companies
    10 Investigates found new ways charter schools companies are profiting off education.
    Author: Noah Pransky and WTSP , WTSP
    Published: 12:48 PM EDT August 22, 2014
    Updated: 12:48 PM EDT August 22, 2014
    HILLSBOROUGH SCHOOLS VS. CHARTER SCHOOLS USA

    As first reported by 10 Investigates, SDHC Superintendent MaryEllen Elia sent a letter to the county’s three charter schools managed by CUSA, giving 90-day notice of her intent to pull their charters.

    But the letters prompted immediate outrage among the Winthrop, Woodmont, and Henderson Hammock communities, where parents seemed happy with the education. Elia has since said she never planned on shutting the schools down, home to nearly 2,800 students combined, but her letter did not indicate so.

  9. From where I sit, there is no doubt that the New York policy is far reaching and over stepping it’s bounds, and as such, is a threat to our Torah institutions. That being said, I wonder what sparked this action? I wonder how many of our Chareidi Yeshiva graduates could formulate and deliver the very heartfelt passionate rebuttal that Rav Brudny delivered? It is by no coincidence that rabbis Brudny and Reisman were called on for this task, as there a unfortunately very few Yeshiva graduates that could speak so eloquently. The Lemudai Chol in our Yeshivos (for those that have any at all) is a joke. We are not preparing our children for a future and they will continue to live in poverty, be a burden on society or R”L be attracted to illegal activity (which happens all too often). Something needs to be done for our children or we will be doomed as a productive and Frum society… just look at Ertez Yisrael and get a glimpse of what 10 years from now will look like if we keep the status quo. Action needs to come from within but it’s about time action is taken and if not, we have only ourselves to blame

  10. Am I the only one willing to mention why I’m upset about what’s going on? My son attends a yeshiva day school where most kids end up going to college. He would score well above public school kids in all areas including English, Science, History, Social Studies, etc. We, his parents, take secular education seriously so he and the school take it seriously.
    Is my sons school going to be affected because of the chasidish schools? If there wasn’t the chasidish school that teach little to no secular studies this wouldn’t be an issue. Don’t we that send are kids to schools with strong secular programs have a right to be angry at the chasidish schools?
    In the end, I’m not that worried. I think a compromise will be made and the worst case is my son will have to take an equivalency test and will easily pass it. That still doesnt mean i don’t have a right to be upset at the schools where secular education is a joke.

  11. Atara leyshona, I don’t know exactly where you sit, but where I sit, in the heart of flatbush, I see kids going through the flatbush school systems doing far better than their public school countetparts. In the accounting firm where I work the yeshiva graduates are just as, if not more, eloquent than our non Jewish colleagues. Rabbi Brudny and Rabbi Reisman have stepped up to the plate and kol hakovod to them, but don’t assume that others could not. All you would have to do is look to the 2 letters written about the Times article to see examples of other heads of yeshivos striking back. As to your claim that yeshiva boys don’t do well financially, while certainly many are struggling, many are doing very well. Certainly there is no way to say that people would do better in public school. Of course you then attempt to smear the yeshiva system which spends ours teaching ethics (time the new guidelines will no longer allow for) as being responsible for people turning to illegal activity. Of course you no doubt don’t blame the public school for all the violent crimes some of their graduates commit. So you seem to have an axe to grind and perhaps before you look to improve the community at large, maybe you need to look inwards and see if you have too much negius that perhaps you should work out first

  12. Why are so few mentioning the other option. Stop taking government money and do what you like. It seems like its a better option than what people are suggesting. So tuition will go up. Big deal, it’s a small price to pay for Torah.

  13. BillyW, I hear you, but perhaps you need to listen to the message from Rabbi Reisman. We didn’t really blink when they were just going after the chasidish yeshivos and now they’re coming after all of us. Perhaps we need to realize that we are all in this together. They can’t tell the difference from the outside between Satmar, Torah Vodaas, or Yeshiva of Flatbush. We are all in this together and banding together is how we will get out of this. While it’s easy to question those that have a different mesorah than us, it’s really more important that we all work to get the state to recognize all of our rights to live with all of our mesoros, rather than letting them figure out which mesorah they like and which they don’t like. Chances are they won’t like your mesorah either.

  14. 2geshmak:

    Your attack on Atara leyoshna is off target. It is ignorant to claim that our yeshivos have nothing to fix. It is similarly ignorant to say that what the commissioner did fixes anything. The new regs are destructive to everything, the yeshiva mandate to teach limudei kodesh, and to fix anything here. I agree fully with Rav Brudny and Rav Reisman. Atara leyoshna was drawing attention to something else, and you seem to have missed it.

    We need to prepare our youth for an adulthood of Torah and the ability to support a family. Dispensing with either of these is frankly against the guidance of Chazal. And failing to provide the basics of secular education renders the ability to enter the workforce with the tools to manage to support a family severely limited.

    The pattern of fighting back instead of developing Torah compatible curriculum to teach math, science, etc., triggered the backlash from the system.

  15. If the issue is money, it is a simple matter to turn down government money. The principle “He who pays the Fiddler, calls the tune” applies in this area.

    However the issue of whether attendance at a yeshiva meets the state’s compulsory attendance requirement, and whether the police will enter a yeshiva and draft the students to public school to be indoctrinated, is a question of survival for the frum community, and has been addressed in some well established Supreme Court cases (particularly Pierce v. Society of Sisters, when a state tried to ban parochial schools, and lost).

  16. Too geshmak,
    I’m not sure I totally agree but point well taken.
    I guess the one point I disagree on is about, “It’s really more important that we all work to get the state to recognize all of our rights to live with all of our mesoros”
    We do have the right to teach our kids how we choose, its just that people don’t like the terms. Which comes down to “Take our money, take our rules” “Dont take our money, No rules (or barely any).” Its really a decision that’s being left up to us. Do we care enough about our kids education to forgo state money?
    I also don’t totally agree with us all being in one group. It’s almost as if the better schools are covering for the poorer schools. Take for example my graduating high school class. It has 100% Bachelors degrees and 70% Masters and Doctorates. Your telling me even in a place as bad as New York they wouldn’t say, “I think we’ll leave that one alone. No reason to look stupid fighting for more secular education in a school producing those numbers (or anything close to those numbers).”

  17. Too geshmak, for what its worth, I sit in Lakewood where I’ve raised my children and now B”AH, many grandchildren. The secular education in our yeshivos is a joke where it exists at all and you’re fooling yourself if you think differently. Our children are ill prapered for the professional world and need to either rely on the Shver’s business, the next herd mentality business (Amazon, house flipping etc), or yes, Geneiva. The geneiva in our Charedie community is rampant and I believe it’s because we do not prepare our children for their responsibilities that their Kesubah demands of them. Maybe it’s better in Brooklyn, I wouldn’t know, but I would tend to doubt it. It’s been the failure of our yeshivos and the extremists who no doubt are L’shem shomayim, but have created many problems while addressing others. So do I have an axe to grind? You bet, it’s the distortion of Torah and i’ll grind that axe any day. BTW, this was what R’ Yaakov ZT”L warned us of, any why there was a time that Philly has a serious lemudai chol program, I’m not sure today. We can burry our heads in the sand or address the issue that caused this terrible demand.

  18. TLIK: Even the most Chasidish Yeshivas we’re working on increasing/improving their secular studies once YAFFED started making a ruckus. They didn’t come out and say so, most likely not to admit how much was lacking till now and not to give YAFFED ammunition.

    And negotiations were ongoing at the same time to come to some agreement with the city and state. These negotiations failed; that’s why declarations of war/fighting back (depending on how diplomatic the specific party chooses to be, it’s essentially the same thing) are the fiery words you’re hearing now.

    “ War” includes legal battles, without which at the point we’re at, with the regulations ALREADY IN PLACE nothing will change. So we have no choice now but to wage war.

  19. Too Geshmak,
    You wrote about successful kids from “The Flatbush school system” Be honest, whuch schools did they go to? How many (real) CPA’s are the Chasidish schools putting out? You seem to want the better schools to stick around so you can say (as if it’ll work) to the state. You want us to be at 100, this school is at 200 and this ones at 0, so we’re at 100. Like i said they’re not that stupid. As your posts go on its obvious you want to use the better school for cover and try to obfuscate the issue.

  20. It should all be about standardized tests. The whole idea of private schooling is choosing how anyone educates.

    As long as a decent percentage of the school is suceeding in tests ( same percentage as in public schools ) there should be no argument about more hours.

    I had a hurrible English education in my yeshiva -the more yeshivish one was the least serious one took it-
    The few that did well did it despite the hurrible teachers and curriculum because they and their parents really cared, but they had to do it alone and it was fighting a culture .
    Often classes were just videos and everyone packed out.
    Having more hours of secular wouldn’t have helped therefore testing is the effective way to regulate.

  21. Everyone is busy with Chassidishe yeshivas’ (un)curriculum! Give me a break! The most businessmen come from Chassidishe families where we were not bought up to rely for 10+ years on our parents and our women like many non-Chassidishe communities do, the women working to the bone while have having large families and the poo parents never get a rest only give for their childrens’ large families! Ridiculous!

    I’m not saying there doesn’t need to be some improvement in secular education in SOME Chassidishe institutions ( don’t lump all Chassidishe together) BUT secular education is not the end all and be all! Not by the goyim and not by us either!

    And the government has absolutely no right to mix in HOW we educate our children! The government can mandate that our children need to pass basic math and language exams HOWEVER they need to stop trying to make mess of our children when theirs are nothing to be proud of!

    And forget about the government giving the Yeshivas money, they should grant frum parents tax credits so that WE can spend more for our schools,not the government.

  22. The real problem in yeshivos, as I see it, is the attitude of the children. My chavrusa is a afternoon English teacher at one of the better mosdos and he laments that the children’s attitude makes it impossible to accomplish. For one, their attention is negligible and their desire to know anything is a disturbing distant second. He says it’s impossible to accomplish anything meaningful. That is scary. They are the future. It’s tail wagging dog. Seven hours if general studies will cause war. Will we also require police to roam the halls in our yeshivos!

  23. Billy’s: The Chasidishe schools aren’t putting out too many CPAs because that’s not what the goal of the Chasidim that want to “make it” financially is. The market in NY pretty much revolves around real estate
    professions (and Amazon businesses no matter your location) in which many Chasidim have succeeded. Many others are in construction related fields. To use your barometer of success is similar to applying the previous generation’s stereotype of Doctor/Lawyer to define financial success vs. let’s say Hedge Fund Manager.

    As an aside, when I was trying to decipher data regarding median income by location I was struck by the general income disparity between age groups.

    Although I couldn’t break it up by Chasidim vs. non Chasidim when I looked at Kiryas Joel, as the data on this website (Point2 Homes) encompassed everyone in the zip code 10950, the Median Household Income numbers based on age were nothing short of astonishing.

    Median Income Under 25 $19,160
    Median Income 25-44 $39,217
    Median Income 45-64 $100,744
    Median Income Over 65 $72,833

    So since zip code 10950 has a very young population, the median age is 23.95, it’s automatically skewed towards lower incomes. One has to build education and experience to increase their earning potential (and yes, the Kollel factor may also come in to play when we’re talking about very young Chasidish families). To compare, Nyack-10960 has a median age of 39.14.

    (For reference, I think they’re using 2014 data there.)

    Again this is not KJ, but all of 10950, of which KJ was about half the population. I’m trying to bring to people’s attention how misleading numbers can be if one lacks perspective.

  24. Yaapchik, don’t blame the kids! They are spoiled by their parents and get whatever they want and many non-Chassidishe kids are into video games and other attention grabbers. But the bigger problem is that most kids are stressed out! They learn too much and too early. The education years ago was much more processable, but today the amount of material kids need to learn, and even more so, memorize, zaps them of their interest to learn. That does does not mean RELLEVENT education needs to be cut, but irrelevant studies, of which there are plenty of in girls schools needs to be cut and boys who cannot learn the amount demanded of them in a typical yeshiva should have different options available to them, like learning music. And these boys should not be looked down at, only understood. Hashem made us all different and Reuven was not considered greater in the Torah over Zevulun who engaged in business and enabled him to learn.

  25. Mamelle
    Quoting stat from KJ is a joke. We all know no numbers are real. If people in KJ are doing so well why is it the Number 1 place in the entire US in terms of people on welfare?

  26. Yaapchik,
    Its not the children its the parents. I see it myself and I’m close to an english principal in a major yeshiva high school. He hires good teachers but it doesnt matter. The only recourse with a kid is his parents. When you speak to the parents and the attitude is we don’t care about secular education theres nothing he can do. I find it sad that so many in the New York yeshiva scene dont care about basic english and math skills. Theyre spending the time in class anyway so they might as well learn something.
    Of course the school matters. I send my kid to a school with a decent secular program. But just as important is me showing my interest and that it matters. I ask him whats he learning in Gemorrah but also ask about science and history, etc. We discuss American, World, and Jewish history. He sees I care so he cares. Lucky for me hes an avid reader. I know not everyones ok with reading everything, but i asked him if he finished Harry Potter and he said yes about 5 times. Thats thousands and thousands of pages of new vocabulary and reading well written Sentences with proper grammar and structure.
    Which is why I’m tempted to say we should break ranks. The people talking about we’re all in this together seem to be coming from the schools with poor education. Maybe we that are educating our children properly should approach the board about taking tests and when our kids score 3-4 grades ahead of where they are they leave us alone. Im not so sure thats a bad strategy.

  27. BillyW, that’s a good idea. Whoever feels they are better and wants to break ranks should try to do that. Then when the state comes after you to teach your kids leftist crap you won’t be able to blame the “schools which teach only very little secular education”.

  28. BillyW: Kiryas Joel has few people on welfare so you’re very mis-informed. Yes, many are on government programs, but they do work.

    My point was simply that in an area with a younger population that’s generally less financially independent, the median income for EVERYONE gets skewed lower. If you fail to grasp this simple fact, maybe you should try educating yourself in a Chasidish school… You can’t believe only the numbers that favor your antagonistic viewpoint.

    An additional point was that most Chasidim don’t want to be CPAs, they have other goals. You conveniently ignored this remark because it doesn’t suit your Weltanschauung.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do believe KJ could do better, and learning a bit of English would help. But to make them out to be uneducated non-earners based on raw numbers is disingenuous.

    And this is only a hunch, but I think Amazon (many have Amazon businesses) has helped the KJ economy, so it’s probably improving. We probably need to wait for the next census to know more specifics.

  29. As for earnings why look at overall? Especially when kj is only 50% of the stats. In KJ 70% earn below the poverty rate and 50% earn under $15,000. I’m not antagonistic nor do I have an agenda. I guess it comes down to frustration. Kids should be active and engaged in what they’re doing. Their not against the kids learning english they just don’t take it seriously. If kids are sitting in class with a book and a teacher why not learn it? Is it a good lesson for the kids to spent an hour playing around and being chutzpadik? The parents dont care so the school doesn’t care so the kids don’t care. I know for a fact many parents want their kids to get an education but there’s tremendous pressure in the community not to say anything. If you push for any type of secular education your looked at with suspicion of being “Modern” and outside of community standards. I don’t think you fully appreciate the pressure to conform that exists in many of the chasidish communities. It’s sad that Jews no less, have created an environment where asking that the kids learn basic english makes you look like for lack of a better word a nebach. While your asking the principle inside he’s laughing at you because he knows it’ll never happen. It’s one thing if they aren’t teaching at all it’s another thing if they are teaching it but the kids aren’t learning.

  30. Your right, they do work. But at what kind of job? I worked for a Chasidish company so I know first hand. The lower and fair ones end up shlepping in a warehouse with long stressful hours for low pay. They’re also working along side people with a lifestyle completely opposite of what they have in the community. Is that a success? The average ones end up dealing with customers. They earn fair money but not enough to live decent with a growing family. Its also long hours on their feet. But here’s the real issue. They’ve spent their whole life with tznius. No interaction with women, no eye contact on the street, separate sides for men and women, etc.
    They’re single or newly married young Chasidish men who spend their days talking to women dressed for the New York summer. Interacting day in and day out with women wearing halter tops and miniskirts who love to flirt with them. Is that considered a success?
    My background is psychology (I know for some people I’m a “Goy” since I studied it). I found it fascinating from that perspective. I witnessed countless times what I call the “Americanization” of the Chasid. It doesn’t take long for the change to happen. They hear people talking about sports, movies, etc. (& they like it). They start reading the non-Jewish newspapers (what kind of pictures are in the NY Post?) They went from Yiddish papers with no women to looking at women in bikinis. Before long they know the movie stars better than most people. The next step is they NEED the internet. They need to know what’s going on in the world and believe me they find a way. They go to the Jewish sites as well as the Non-Jewish sites. One thing I noticed that I found interesting, they love following politics. After a few months I’m no longer talking to a Chasid, now they’re an American like everyone else. Sure they have the dress but you can see it in their eyes, in the way they talk, what they talk about. Very often their peyos get shorter or they tie them up. They stop wearing their vest. Their overcoat is from Northface not from Yankel heimish clothing store.
    What I did notice that connects to the topic is you can sense their frustration. They wish they could write an email without worrying if it looks ridiculous or having to ask a non-Chasid to proof read it. They work hard to try to speak english properly and to learn the lingo. They wish they knew what Americans know about the world around them. I also noticed, which really struck me, is that deep down they have a great respect for education. When they speak to someone with a college degree you can hear the respect but also the wistfullness that they didn’t have the same opportunity.
    Many of them are extremely intelligent. Maybe just maybe if they really learned English and Math they could go to an all male program and become a CPA. They could work in a Heimish office and not be subject to outside influences. That’s what I consider a success.
    It’s not that they’re just not learning english and math. It’s that looking at it for the long term goal theyre actually hurting themselves by not taking their secular studies seriously.

  31. BillyW: Most Chasidim do not work in Manhattan retail or warehouse jobs – very many have Heimish office jobs (with some actually being CPAs) or work in trade industries – but it’s naive to think that secular exposure only exists there. No matter one’s education, almost all jobs require dealing with the outside world to varying degrees. And for those working in NYC (including Brooklyn) the overall standards have become more loose. This means that we need to fortify our kids’ religious education and focus on “Missur” as well.

    I agreed with you that some Chasidish Yeshivas could do better (the girls are doing great) and many are actually working to improve their secular education. They’re not publicizing it, but it is happening. And most parents care and want their kids to know a proper English, and of course math; especially if they had a hard time because they were lacking in these respects. Those totally anti-education simply don’t send their boys to English classes. (At least that’s how it used to be.)

    Kids are naturally edgy and may become rambunctious at the end of the day. The Yeshivas need to fight to buck this trend, and some are more successful than others.

    About the numbers, if you can find the KJ only (not just zip 10950) income by age group, I’d love to see it. Age does matter when it comes to income, even more so when it comes to those that start with little educational background and need to work their way up or spent a few years in Kollel. It’s not something to ignore, but needs to be analyzed to see if a community is on the right track.

  32. Mamelle. I think we actually agree on almost everything.
    As for Kiryas Joel, 70% can’t earn above the federal poverty rate which is $30k for upto a family of 5. Even excluding a lot for kollel, there are still many that can’t get a job making $30k. The numbers you showed before are even worse. The median income for under 25 was $20k! It’s the median not the mean so its not being skewed by those making zero. In New York with the higher salaries, if you know english and math, getting a job for $30k is not difficult. Here’s what crucial, if you map out how much a person makes over their career, the difference over the long term is tremendous between starting at $20k or starting at $30k. I ran the numbers, the difference over their career is over 1 million dollars! Imagine, teach your child english and math and they’ll earn an extra million dollars. Seems pretty easy and quite stupid not to do so.
    What really bothers me is as I’ve said before, if there was no english it’d be one thing, but they have the classrooms, books and teachers, so why not get the kids to learn? Like you said, the Yeshivas need to buck this trend. If the parents start to care the school will start to care and the kids will too. This is where I fear there’s a cultural problem. Asking for real learning almost labels you a “trouble maker”. I watched a school board meeting, where Chasidish men, not outsiders trying to make trouble, were begging the mostly frum board to get the education up to par. You could tell they were looking at them with pity and derision, and they weren’t going to do anything about it. Why this culture developed, I’m not sure. How to change it, I’m not sure about that either. It’s so sad because the numbers bear out that kids who don’t learn will live a life of near poverty and struggle. While the ones that do learn live in relative ease. Of course there will be exceptions but I’m talking about the bulk of them.
    As for outside influences, I agree in any job they’ll interact with the outside world. The difference is the level of exposure. Working in a store interacting with half naked women on a constant basis is a lot different than working in a Heimish office and occasionally interacting with Frum women and Non-Jews dressed in business attire. Besides the women there’s the issue of the culture. There’s also less exposure to things like non-Jewish newspapers, music, movies, etc.
    I think this whole thing will work out. The schools that are providing a good education will be left alone. The ones that aren’t will quickly try to get things in order. It’s sad it had to happen this way, the problem was, in the past the approach was, “How do we LOOK like were teaching the kids.” I think this time the approach will be, How do we Really teach our kids.” I understand, anything new is scary. They must be wondering, is my 10 year old son really going to know English? What will that expose him to? Will he have more interactions with non-Jews and be exposed to outside culture? As the saying goes, “The Catholic church changes, just VERY slowly.” The same could be said about the Chasidim. I think were seeing the beginnings of the Modern-Chasid. It was going to happen anyway, this whole ordeal just gave the final push. America’s a magical place. The focus is on the individual. There’s going to be a tug-of-war between the uniformity of Chasidim and the individuality of America. Where will things end up? Somewhere in the middle.