Over the past year, New York yeshivas have been dealing with an attempt by the State to force yeshivas to alter their curriculum and schedule.
An article by Dr. Marvin Schick reveals that New York yeshivas confronted an identical threat between 1939 and 1942.
There were only 26 yeshivas in New York in March 1939, when the Board of Regents adopted the following resolution:
“Private or parochial schools that operate with a program providing a session carried on in a foreign language during the forenoon,
with only an afternoon session in English, be advised that such practice violates the compulsory education law…”
The battle between the yeshivas and the State went on until July 1942, when a hearing was held – on Tisha B’av!
Here is how it was described at the time by one witness. The yeshiva representatives:
“fatalistically feared that here there commenced a misfortune … a destruction of the Torah,
for a harsh decree of the Board of Regents would bring destruction to the Yeshivos, would annihilate the fortress of our spiritual existence.”
The small group of yeshivas stood together then, just as the much larger yeshiva community that exists now, B’H, has stood together.