This past summer, YAFFED filed a federal lawsuit alleging that it would be unconstitutional for the State Education Department of the New York City Department of Education to give yeshivas any credit for all of the learning that occurs during the Limudei Kodesh part of their school day. Today, the federal district court threw out that lawsuit.
The defendants in the lawsuit were various state officials, but given the importance of the case, PEARLS, the Agudah, Torah Umesorah and the UJO of Williamsburg filed an amicus brief to put the yeshiva community’s position in the issues before the court. The court cited extensively to their papers, including this gem:
“As stated by amici: Orthodox Jewish parents choose yeshiva education for their children to fulfill the Biblical injunction that
“You shall place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul … and you shall teach them to your children to speak in them.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19.
The Bible says of Abraham, “I have known him because he commands his sons and his household after him, that they should keep the way of the Lord.” Genesis 18:19.
(Brief of Amici Curiae Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools (PEARLS), Agudath Israel of America, Torah Umesorah: National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, and United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg (UJO) (collectively, the “PEARLS Amid)).
For parents who choose a traditional yeshiva education for their children, it is an important pillar of continuity within the Hasidic community, assuring that their beliefs will be reliably passed on from one generation to the next, and instilling an invaluable sense of Jewish identity and belonging. (“Twerski Decl.”) ( 5-12).
Proponents argue that these schools are “the primary vehicle responsible for inculcating Jewish values, Jewish learning and Jewish living, are responsible for the rebirth of the Jewish community out of the ashes of destruction in Eastern Europe, and are what today ensures and allows for the continuity and growth of the Jewish community in New York and around the country.” (Twerski Decl. ¶ 12).
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