Bais Yaakov School Ordered Closed After Discrimination Tensions


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The Ministry of Education on Sunday ordered the closure of a Beis Yaakov School operating in the Shomron chareidi community of Emanuel. Municipal officials were ordered to see to the immediate closure of the school, which is plagued with racial tensions surrounding ashkenazi and sephardi schools, or perhaps more accurately, the parents, as was reported by YWN-Israel (

The school was never approved and it operates under unacceptable conditions. The ashkenazi girls have not been attending classes since Chanukah, with the parents arranging for private classes and tutoring. The ashkenazi population objects to the presence of sephardi girls in the school. The ministry states it will not permit the school to continue operating in sub-standard temporary conditions and it will not condone classes of six and nine girls to accommodate the racial discrimination.

Municipal officials indicate they have passed the message along and if the school continues to operate, those responsible will face the criminal consequences of their actions.

A High Court decision is expected on Wednesday regarding the illegal practices taking place in the school, the racial segregation.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. That’s the problem when you are given government aid. You’re no longer at the rule of the Gedolim but rather the secular law. It’s poshut.

  2. GOOD, finally close down the school. Nothing will change the stereotypes and discrimination is so ingrained among Israelis that there is no hope or chance of renewal.
    This will, unfortunately, put the last nail in the coffin of the beautiful city of Emanuel….. this city has been drying up over the last 15 years and with no school for girls it is SHALOM…

  3. Discrimination against Jews? Why should one jew discriminate against another? If we hate each other aren’t we asking to be attacked by the goyim that hate us all?

  4. i wasnt at all aware that this situation existed. im really curious as to the logistics of it. i would however caution applying such a politically charged western word like “segregation” to this ancient people with an ancient language in an ancient land.

  5. there is a story with a father of a Sephardic bochur who wanted to enter an Ashkenazic Yeshiva and the Rosh Yeshiva refused. the R”Y asked the father: “why do you insist on sending your son to my yeshiva?” the father replied “because i want my son to study in an Ashkenazic yeshiva.” then the R”Y said “so do I, I also want an Ashkenazic yeshiva.”

    it’s unbelievable, when i was in Israel, and i was in Yeshiva Ketana ready to move on to Yeshiva gedoila, i had a (Sephardic) classmate asking me a favor to “come with him” to an Ashkenazic Yeshiva, because they wouldn’t accept him otherwise…
    only when we’ll realize there is no real difference these kind of stories will keep coming….
    seriously, does it make THAT much of a difference????

  6. that the gedolim did not demand an end to this practice long ago is the true shanda

    and this doesnt even touch what happens to the ethiopians

    a jew is a jew is a jew

    this is wrong

  7. This is horrible!! Jews discriminating against Jews??
    Like #3 said “If we hate each other aren’t we asking to be attacked by the goyim that hate us all?”

  8. This situation makes my blood BOIL!!! What is this?? They don’t want their kids to go to school with sephardic girls and then everyone wants to know why mashiach isn’t here-THATS WHY!!! It makes me soo mad!!! What, the Ashkenaz think their better???? Get real!! Everyones equal!!! And then I love how they come to America to my Sephardic community ALL the time collecting for Tzedaka and do we turn them away?? NO!!! Because we help a brother in need!!!! This is pathetic and HAS to stop!! I have so much more to say but ill keep my mouth shut.

  9. Washington: “NoRedHerring wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Gedolim came in and reversed the government’s action?”

    Yes. It would. Ashkenazim have a right to not want to mix with Sefardim if they think that their customs will be lost. One Jew should not HATE another Jew. However, if you don’t want your children mixing with others if you are afraid that your children will marry them and not follow your customs, I respect that. Most peoples in the world want their culture and customs to survive, YOU are in the minority.

  10. “the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means”

    this is exactly what is being done, so why not call it what it is?

  11. to NoRedHerring #12: The letters of MINHAG are the same letters (in hebrew) as GEHINOM. How beautiful. Let’s keep our minhagim and ignore ALL OF THE TORAH! There is no difference between ignoring one mitzva and ALL of the Torah.
    The Churban was caused by focusing on little things and ignoring the essence of the Torah. How a father can watch his son dying but cares about making a knife impure.
    How we can breed hatred and feel smug that our minhagim are left intact.
    Hillel hazaken told the convert, ‘what you don’t like don’t do to others. That is the whole Torah. The rest is pshat’. Let me guess we’re frummer than Hillel.
    I take comfort in the hope that nobody else feels that hatred of other Jews is less important than customs. If Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim who were supernally great, all died because they didn’t respect each other, what chance do a bunch of cheresh, shoteh vekatans have.

  12. I’m curious if there’s more to the story than straight-up discrimination based solely upon the ethnic origin.

    Are there standards that the Ashkenazim hold of that the Sefardim do not, such as television or other such things? Just wondering.

  13. Glad that my mishpacha has all American minhagim, since the alter bubby and zeydees arrived on the shore of America in the early 1900’s.
    Yes, some of the family even feasts on hotdogs/hamburgers/sour kraut and apple pie for shabbos, while other members are giving shiur in heilige yeshiva—-with ‘believe it or not’ American Minhagim. And we got some inter marriages in the family with sefradim, chassidim, MO’s and even a Baali Tsheva.

  14. Thank you RedHerring for coming clean. Is Gefilte Fish more important to you than Anti-Semitism? What would the Rambam say if he knew you were discriminating against his sect? What would the Mehaber say? What will you do if the Mashiah turns out to be Sephardic, kill yourself?

  15. Yes, these are the yeshivot/schools that go to Mexico, and every where else asking for donations from sephardic communities and individuals.

    However, such a discrimitation occurs in the USA, where some sephardic children from yemenate and persian background, where children following Sephardic halacha are asked if they are Jewish, and where sephardic families are dennied financial aida, or just rejected all together.

    I have seen those cases, in Florida,

    It is a real shame to behave like that and for the askenazim to reject such a rich culture , but perhaps they don’t know any better.

    I’m sorry for the hilul the school and those families are doing but I’m glad they are closing the school, the same should happen everywhere else.
    If such a situation takes place.

  16. As someone who lives in Emanuel, I can only say that the secular media is playing this story up to show how “racist” haredi Jews are.

    The facts are that about half of the girls in the “ashkenazi” school are ethnically sefardis. The difference is minhag, in particular standards concerning tznius (length and tightness of dress), no makeup, no MP3s, etc.

    The parents who objected to the current standards of the city Beis Yakov either bussed their girls to Bnei Brak or tried to start another school.

    The media conveniently forgets that the local Chabad girls school started as independent school inside of the Beis Yaakov building in exactly the same way about ten years ago. No one cried “racism” then…

  17. > this city has been drying up over the last 15 years and with no school for girls it is SHALOM…

    zionflag, you obviously haven’t visited Emanuel in a while. It has 3 schools for boys, 3 (now 2) schools for girls, and a seminar, 18 synagogues and no free apartments. In fact its been the population growth that triggered the desire for a new school.

  18. I have lived in Emanuel for eleven years, have six kids who have been and are still attending schools here. When we first came, there were three schools for boys and one for girls – the only school for girls was the Beis Yacov, which already had within in a split off Chabad school, which soon after moved to its own building. The original Beis Yacov was largely comprised of Chassidic families.

    The three boys schools were then and continue to be Chabad, Chassidic, and Sephardic. “Chassidic” does not mean “Ashkenazic”. Members of both communities marry each other, so these terms really refer to minhagim (traditions) and not ethnic group. This point cannot be emphasized enough. It is nearly impossible to point to a family and declare, “they are Ashkenazim” or “Sephardim” if you are speaking in ethnic terms. We are already blended. Though some families are still obviously of beautiful Yemenite origin – and their girls are attending the Beis Yacov Chasidi.

    The demographics here changed. Chassidim were moving out, and the flavor the original Beis Yacov was becoming more modern. The formation of the Beis Yacov Chasidi was an effort by members of the original Chassidic population here to re-create the kind of Beis Yacov that they had a decade ago. It was a stricter school – in terms of dress, exposure to media, even to some aspects of Haredi culture that they feel is not for them as in Haredi “rock music”, choice of careers, etc – and certainly NOT of an “Ashkenazic” school! This was after a couple of years of outreach programs meant to encourage people to move the original Beis Yacov back towards its original narrower interpretation of the Israeli Haredi lifestyle. This outreach did not succeed, to the Chassidim formed their own school – in their minds, returning to the original school’s former style.

    Hostile reporters are harassing children here. The Chassidic children, (Ashkenazi Sephardic, blended) feel intimidated. They are afraid to walk to and from school. The following happened to me on Monday January 25. I approached a hostile reporter:

    Me: You come here to lie about us. How would you like it if someone filmed your children?
    Reporter: I would be very happy go ahead and do it.
    Me: We don’t do that because we are not cruel. You lie about us. What is wrong in your life that you want to provoke Haredim? (She started walking to her car) Is there a problem in your life that causes you to provoke Haredim?
    Reporter: You need pills. Can someone calm her down? You are a crazy woman.
    Me: Go away. We don’t want you here, we stand against you, men and women, Sephardim and Ashkenazim, we stand against you united. Go away. Stop lying about us.
    (Getting into her car, she opened the door abruptly and it bumped my stomach)
    Me: Do not hit me with your car door! (Incredibly, she opened the car door threateningly to hit me again but I jumped away.
    Reporter: “You need pills go take pills.” She contorted her face and stuck out her tongue, shaking her head back and forth, then drove away.

    When will people stop believing media lies? When will they question media provocation? Reporters will mentally and physically attack people and you believe what they say?

  19. Post Script,

    After I sent this off I realized the ultimate irony here and one worth mentioning. Are you aware that this year another school opened in Emanuel? It is called “Beis Rachel and Leah”. It opened under the auspices of the boy’s Sephardic school. Why has that attracted no media attention?

    My description of what happened between myself and that hostile reporter above was just to tell you what it is like to live under a cloud of media provocation. I still struggle with whether I did the right thing at all in confronting her, and have personally decided not to speak to hostile reporters again, the toll it took on me was staggering. I am not telling others what to do, just that, close up, I have seen media provocation, and I hope never to confront it again.

  20. RG, I am sorry you are experiencing hostility from reporters. By now you probably realize that it was not a good idea to follow the reporter to her car. If she was able to hit you with her car door, you were probably too close to her.

    Really once you had achieved your stated goal of getting her to leave your children alone you had no reason to follow her, since it was unlikely that further interaction would leave her feeling more positively about you.

  21. To anon – you are right – (though I did not feel I achieved any goal – she was continuing her harassment as she was slowly backing into her car – but I get your point) – I hope never again to fall into a cynical media trap of making their targets look hostile on film. If you cannot stay composed when harassed, bow your head and slowly leave the scene. Someone told me that Jackie Onassis would smile at reporters as she yelled at them for harassing her, so they could never get her appearing upset. I am not as savvy as she was by far!

    Because of its small size, Emanuel has been a nice place for people to get to know members of different kinds of communities more easily than in a large city perhaps. That makes this horrendous media fabrication all that more ironic – and painful. Those of you who have written above who have believed the media and are yearning for Moshiach – have you not considered that lies about Jewish people may also be postponing Moshiach’s arrival?

  22. The girls who attend the Beis Yacov Chasidi in Emanuel have their roots in the following countries: Iraq, Persia, Morocco, Kurdistan, Yemen, India, The Old Yishuv here in Israel, Tunisia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Germany. What makes this school different is its standards, that is all.

  23. Another point – one of the original founders of the Beis Yacov chasidi, which was founded in 2007, was Rav Ba’adani, a gadol (very well respected Rabbinical authority) who happens to be Sepharadic. Additionally, there were two families who had daughters in both the original Beis Yacov and the Beis Yacov Chasidi at the very same time, proving yet again that this was not an ethnic division. This is a dynamic, fluid society. There were girls who switched back to the original school and those who switched to the Chasidi school the following year. There is an excellent Chabad school here, plus secular, dati leumi and charedi dati leumi (chardal) schools in other towns in the Shomron that offer excellent alternatives, and the new Beis Rachel and Leah, run by a wonderful principal and staff, offer yet another choice for students here.

    I live in Emanuel. I love the variety here, some of which must be preserved in diverse educational institutions. Variety has been instrumental in the survival of the Jewish people, both nationally and individually.

    Don’t give so much power to the media by believing their misinformation. Two years ago, I approached a so-called journalist that was here with two cameramen – she said to me that it must be an ethnic division because the chasidi school is in the same building. (Does that make any sense? What is wrong with two schools in one building? It saves on resources! The top floor had housed the high school until they got a new building a few years ago, so why not use the empty rooms for the chasidi school?) I said, “but the Chabad school began inside this buidling until they got their own building.” She blushed, blinked rapidly, eyes darted back and forth, said, “I have work to do” and walked off quickly. She had already drawn her conclusions, no need for the facts.

    Next time you hear a news story that moves you, please contact people who live locally to get a sense of what is happening.