Modern Orthodox Acting Badly?

A town, founded as a resort, has a small Orthodox community. Years pass. Orthodox, mostly modern, from Brooklyn and Far Rockaway move to this former resort town. Soon they become the majority. They use their majority status to take over the town’s school board and to impose spending cuts and other measures on a school system they do not use. They do so because the cost of private day school tuition is very high, and the taxes on their properties used for the public schools is significant. Driving down the cost of public school education they do not use means more money in Orthodox pockets to pay for the private education they do.

Where is this happening? As the NY Times reports, versions of this story are happening throughout the wider NYC area. This particular story is set in Lawrence, Long Island:

“Other communities are watching Lawrence very closely, for fear they may be next,” said Prof. William B. Helmreich, the director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College. Orthodox adherents “are cohesive, they marshal forces and vote as a bloc,” he said. “It could happen anywhere.”…

“It’s ominous,” said Steven Sanders, a former New York City assemblyman who was chairman of the State Assembly’s Education Committee. “This is not going to be an isolated situation. This is a worrisome trend. The common thread is not religion. The common thread is people who don’t feel invested in educating other people’s children. What do you do when a community is significantly comprised of individuals who don’t have a stake in public schools when they’re already spending for private schools? It’s a fracturing of the social compact.”

Orthodox leaders like this member of the school board complain about the quality of the public schools:

“We’re paying elite salaries and getting a mediocre district,” Mr. [Uri] Kaufman said.

Yet, while test score are falling (in part, it seems, because better students have shifted to private schools and in part because of the increased number of poor and minority students in the district), the Lawrence Public Schools are far from mediocre:

Half the students are black or Hispanic, and 36 percent are eligible for a free or discounted lunch, a poverty indicator. “Yet we had seven Intel scholars this year, tied with Bronx High School of Science and fifth in the nation,” Dr. Fitzsimons said. “We’re no slouches.”

Should tax dollars be used to support private religious education? If the answer is yes, can those dollars support a madrassa or a Hare Krishna day school or a Jews for Jesus day school, for that matter?

Of course, if the answer is yes to the first question it must by definition be yes to the second as well.

So what is the solution to the day school tuition problem? Try this:

  1. Combine schools so each community has a community day school. This saves money by eliminating redundancy. It also increases accountability.
  2. Use the public school tax model to support day schools. That’s right, level a tax on all Jewish community members. This can be done by “assessing” each Federation for the amount of money it costs to educate each student in the Federation’s “district.”
  3. Have tuition be paid to the Federation, not the school. This removes the “fundraiser’s incentive” to open competing schools. It also means that a student cannot attend the day school unless his family has a relationship with the Federation. This should be a win win proposition for both the Federations and the schools. It also means the day schools can spend their time educating rather than fundraising.
  4. Is this extreme? Sure. But what we now have is not working and extreme measures are clearly necessary.
  5. Who will oppose these steps? Mostly haredim, who will refuse to educate their children with non-haredim and with children from competing haredi sects.

The Times also mentions Orthomom, a great JBlog well positioned to cover this issue, although she claims all the Orthodox want is their fair share of busing money and other funds allowed constitutionally, and not funding of day schools per se. I think she’s clearly wrong here. What the Lawrence Orthodox clearly want is their fair share of those monies along with a reduction in public school spending aimed at lowering their tax burden. In other words, they want to take more from the public school system while putting in less. They will get more buses; public school students will get fewer teachers and other resources.

Or, to put it another way, the issue for the Orthodox is financial – how much more can we take out and how much less can we put in. For almost everybody else, the issue is how can we best educate our children in public schools. That Orthodox Jews don’t notice this difference speaks to the heart of a much larger problem – the way Orthodoxy teaches about and deals with the Other.

[Hat tip: Sy.]

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34 Comments

Filed under Modern Orthodoxy, Religion, Territorial Disputes

34 responses to “Modern Orthodox Acting Badly?

  1. avrohom

    Before Rosh Hashna you have nothing what to do but bash your brothers and sisters who bleed hard to make end meet. WE atre talking about people who work to earn their money (not your haredi enemies). And they cannot make ends meet with the astronomical educations costs skyrocketing the way it is now.

    What is Shmarya propose? The elimination of education that is suitable for each child according to his way, a primary fundamental element in education of a child. Hiis primary concern (what he mulls day and night) is how to erase the haredi education of Torah that leavfes out all garbage of goyishkeyt that pervades the world and shamrya’s world that is the bone in his throat.

    BUt shamrya forget it: The Talmud TOrah’s a Haredi yeshivas will not shut down. Furthermore: the simple fact is that these haredim and orthodoxy hold on to the future of jewish idnetity; all the other denominations do not have the glue that holds jews together and their yiddishkeyt lacks any solid substance (ergo: the assimilation in every single non orthodox family).

    Whether you like it or not, they will outlive you and all your friends.

    But a more practical start would be: for the Federation to start using the money it HAS to fund all yeshivas Day schools for this is where the money belongs: Jewish education (not other useless projects that is got nothing to do with jewish survival).

    Instead of yuor hailing and endorsibng any plan that aids funding for jewish schools you waste jews time and energy and focus in putting them in a newgative light.

    you have a lot of teshuva to do for your constant putting frumme and haredi jews in anegative light. Your goyishkeyt has not subsided even though the war in lebanon has proven that your getchkess and idols are worthless ,

    latch yourself to TORAH AND MTIZVOT AND TESHUVA WHILE YOU STILL CAN…

  2. I like your plan. I wish it would work where I live, but here there aren’t any strong communities to begin with.

  3. Here in Detroit, the Federation already provides significant funding to all of the day schools and yeshivas. In my own experience, having worked on school board and city council elections to elect Orthodox representatives, part of the problem is a refusal by the public school interests to provide those services that are constitutional to private school students. The legal obligation of school boards is not to the children enrolled in their school district but rather to the voters who put them in office.

    The fact is that public schools waste huge amounts of money. It costs the day schools here ~$5500 to educate a child. The public schools here are up over $8,500. Get rid of useless teachers’ aides, useless administrators, faddish books and technology, and hire competent teachers and good principals.

    Part of the solution to the tuition problem would be to make all tuition, no matter who is paying it, tax deductible. Vouchers, though clearly constitutional since Pell grants to seminaries are, are a bit of a non-starter politically, so I’ll settle, in the mean time for deductibility. Though this would be painted by the teachers’ unions as favoring the rich who send kids to private schools, the fact is that most private school students attend parochial, not elite private, schools.

    If your employer sends you to college or any kind of training, the tuition the company pays is tax deductible. As a society we feel that encouraging employers to have educated and trained employees is a worthwhile thing, so we don’t tax it. If educated employees are good for a society, why should parents and individuals paying K-12 or college tuition not get the same regard as companies? Aren’t educated children and college graduates good for society too?


    National Health Plan Now – 50% Windfall Tax On Attorney’s Fees

  4. hashfanatic

    Oh, those poor people in Lawrence.

    They worked all their lives to build a pleasant place to live their lives in, and then look what gains a foothold.

    So horrible, and so very suburban New York.

  5. Michelle

    I think this is excellent! Finally there is a solution — pressuring the teacher’s unions into accepting and endorsing school voucher systems! If the sucking sound from public education gets too loud, you can either plug it up with a wad of money, or cut if off. The former was the way it was. The latter is the way it is going to be. Hurrah for Lawrence!!!

    I hope other school districts follow a similar path until there is so much pressure on public education that they finally bow to vouchers.

    Why should I pay for a system that I can’t use? My local school is so full of illegal Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Columbians that when my children went there for four months my son reported to me that twice a day for two hours at a time he was left alone with the teacher because everyone else in the class needed to attend ESL courses, and that he couldn’t speak to anyone in his class but his teacher because they didn’t speak English!

    Get vouchers–then the citizens will support funding education EQUALLY–rather than fighting the low functioning liberal anti-religious drivel that passes for public education these days.

    I applaud this group of parents. I wish I had thought of it first!!!

    M

  6. B”H
    The prophecies about the days of Moshiach describe a society that is economicly liberetarian. (Everyone shall sit under their own fig tree etc. )therefore I think it’s proper to post this link from Mises Institute :
    http://mises.org/story/2226
    Education: Free and Compulsory
    By Murray N. Rothbard
    Posted on 9/9/2006
    [Subscribe at email services, tell others, or Digg this story.]

    The Individual’s Education
    Formal Instruction
    Human Diversity and Individual Instruction
    The Parent or the State?
    Children’s Associations
    Compulsory vs. Free Education
    Compulsory Education in Europe
    Fascism, Nazism, and Communism
    Compulsory Education in the United States
    Arguments For and Against Compulsion in the United States
    The Goals of Public Schooling: The Educationist Movement
    Progressive Education and the Current Scene
    Notes
    http://mises.org/story/2226

  7. Paul Freedman

    From this I am still unclear as to what services to non-public school attendees are Constitutionally available, what services the Orthodox of Lawrence are or are not receiving, and whether Lawrence has always had a large minority population or whether, as some here believe, this is largely the result of (mostly illegal) immigration of Hispanic would-be Americans. Shmarya, you’ve ignored the issue of illegal immigration as it impacts on school systems in concentrating your ire at Orthodox who allegedly are cutting school budgets for schools they don’t use. We should remember, however, that the children of illegal immigrants are *not* illegal immigrants but American citizens; this is a demographic challenge that will not go away given past policies. In six years, Michelle’s schools will have a cohort of Latin American children who are as American as anyone else and have every right to be educated–ESL is a good step to mainstreaming Hispanic children into the English speaking community. (This is probably not a hot-button issue for haredi parents). In my small (predominantly Christian) community of Falls Church, VA, property owners (not Jewish) who have no children in the school system do not directly attack school funding (the Falls Church education system is a magnet and valued asset) but (so far unsuccessfully) attempting to limit development of condominium and apartment housing that would bring in new children, new students, and new taxes.

  8. zach

    Daniel said “It costs the day schools here ~$5500 to educate a child.” So let’s see, you have the Federation subsidizing the schools (Yeshivah Gedola/Beth Yehudah with its miserable secular education , Akiva with its mediocre secular and religious education, and JAMD with its mediocre religious education) and the tuition still costs from $8000 upwards ($15K for JAMD). Are you saying that there is, at a minimum, $2500 profit per kid plus the Federation contribution? Something here just doesn’t jive. Could it be the $150K salaries to the top administrators?

  9. hashfanatic

    The impact of illegal immigration would indeed be a worthy discussion to have at this point-if it weren’t for the fact that the frummies would be pulling the same tricks whether the immigrants’ kids would be in school or not.

  10. Paul Freedman

    I’m still unclear as to what tricks the frummies (not the MO who are the subject of this post) are pulling in the United States; outside of getting Kiryas Joel’s school system incorporated as a public school district it seems they’re mostly just going broke trying to afford their (private) schools.

  11. Paul Freedman

    There is a solution that has been pioneered by Evangelical Christians who built on the family model that pre-exists in conservative, religiously traditional communities: a “stay-at-home-mom” with the time and motivation to implement the values of her tradition–you work up a network of *home schooling*–and avoid many of the overhead and administrative costs of centralized academies. Curricula and teaching aids are developed and children are taught at home–with shared outlays to provide for field-trips and group activities. Fundamentalist Christians are teaching their own children into the high-school years and getting impressive results. An additional problem, imo, however, is the frum rejection of secular studies, including, from these reports, job skills training, and the deprecation of non-religious study across the traditional Orthodox community (whether for time constraints or ideology).

  12. Levi

    im totally into the haredi education model

    take oholei torah for instance:

    A: they get funding as a public school

    B: they have a fundraising campaign that brings in millions annualy

    C: they dont waste a dime on secular education (they have a storeroom for the textbooks the government provides in case there is an inspection and they have to distribute them for appearances)

    D: with 30 kids to a class and by hiring imbeciles they save wads on their teachers salaries

    now all the destitute parents (who cant get a decent job with their oholei torah education) only have to pay minimal tuition (often as low as $150 a month) to train their children for a non-career as a rabbi/shliach or perhaps if they are diligent in their studies a shochet or a mashgiach

  13. Anonymous

    You are totally wrong criticizing people who do not want to pay high taxes for a school system that they do not use; for any reason.
    The people of Lawrence and Woodmere etc. are just participating in the democratic system by voting for their self interest.

    The real solution is that separate schools, non-sectarian and not coed should be set up for secular studies and these schools would be eligible for public funding. The hours for these schools should be set so that somebody can spend the morning hours doing something else (study, sleep, work etc.).

    These schools would not teach religion and would lift the burden of funding a double school system and remove all legal impediments. The only “danger” is that some non-Jewish or not religious person may choose to participate. So be it.

    The other “danger” is that although these schools would be legally eligible the state would nevertheless not provide funding; proving, of course, that all the talk about opportunity and a social compact is utter nonsense and an excuse by which the majority can oppress the minority.

    Well, in Lawrence, at least, the roles have switched. Turnabout is fair play.

    As for your solutions, they are nonsense. Taxing the Federations does not create money and any solution that does not increase the pool of money does not solve anything. Creating community schools would keep down cots if there are large economies of scale but would reduce school choice.

    Who knows if these economies exist or not and whether the reduction in choice is worth it? Presumably, if the economies were large enough some big Yeshiva(s) would have expanded well beyond current capacities. Since they have not, the burden of proof is on the person who asserts these economies exist.

  14. Paul Freedman

    The problem would be having public schools for secular studies that, for the sake of argument, could be part of the school system without having non-Jewish students taking advantage. otoh would frum parents participate?

  15. hashfanatic

    Paul, the average New Yorker sees this as just another form of tax evasion, from a segment of the population most able to pay their dues, yet always the most unwilling to do so.

    As an American, I’m more than willing to pay my fair share.

    I’m simply not willing to pay Modern Orthodoxy’s.

  16. Anonymous

    As an American, I am willing to pay my fair share of taxes. I am just not willing to pay for the education of other person’s children. If they want children, let them pay for their education. I am especially not willing to pay for the education of other person’s children when my child’s education is not being paid for.

    There is a fundamental difference between (illegal) tax evasion and voting against government spending and high taxes. The first is illegal; the second is as American as apple pie, or at least as American as the Boston Tea Party.

    As for the average New Yorker, I bet that the average New Yorker would applaud any community that votes for lower taxes. As for the frum community being more able to pay taxes; that is a bad joke.

  17. Anonymous

    As an American, I am willing to pay my fair share of taxes. I am just not willing to pay for the education of other person’s children. If they want children, let them pay for their education. I am especially not willing to pay for the education of other person’s children when my child’s education is not being paid for.

    There is a fundamental difference between (illegal) tax evasion and voting against government spending and high taxes. The first is illegal; the second is as American as apple pie, or at least as American as the Boston Tea Party.

    As for the average New Yorker, I bet that the average New Yorker would applaud any community that votes for lower taxes. As for the frum community being more able to pay taxes; that is a bad joke.

  18. Paul Freedman

    Public education is a public good that benefits all.

  19. Anonymous

    Roads are a public good that benefits all. Defense is a public good that benefits all. Farm subsidies are a public good that benefits all. The Freedon Tower is a public good that benefits all. Public hospitals are a public good taht benefist all. Museums are a public good that benefits all. Pork barrel projects are public goods that benefits all.

    All these statements are equally true or false, or, perhaps, meaningless.

    Public education is paid for by private money which is paid to the government on the threat of going to prison. It is a good paid for by taxes as are most governmental services. As such, it should be subjected to proper scrutiny, not sound bites. (As a technical point, nobody has even argued that public education is pareto-optimal, so it can not be said to benefit all, unless you ignore the cost of the education.)

    The theory of public education is that people should grow up and have jobs that will make them less likely to become public charges. It is also that they should have an idea of our poltical heritage and values and hopefully subscribe to them.

    The idea that children should not become public charges and that they participate in the democratic process is equally valid for private school children. Therefore, their education (the secular part) should also be provided for.

    The best way would be through vouchers for secular education only.

    As Professor Milton Friedman (Nobel Laureate, Economics) has long pointed out, vouchers are also an efficient way of providing for education as opposed to the inefficient way (government monopoly) that prevails now.

    The only reasons we do not have vouchers is that(1) the teacher’s unuion opposes it; and (2) the majority benefits by not paying for the education of the minority.

    In Lawrence the majority and minority have flipped and the minority (now the majority) is exercising its right to vote for lower taxes. Not surprisingly, the opprseed majority (now the minority) is complaining. Then again, slave owners complained when the slaves were freed also.

  20. Paul Freedman

    hashfanatic: let’s say that the Modern Orthodox are doing what anonymous and Shmarya and his sources say they are: using their electoral clout to lower funds available to public schools–by which we mean government funded (through taxation): I haven’t read that the frummies (ultra-Orthodox) usually have this pull outside of Kiryas Joel.

    Anonymous: there are thousands of good reasons for making public education a tax-payer funded good whose benefit is dispproportinately inexpensive for those who contribute less towards its public subsidy: the education my mother and father received, that I received, that my brother received etc. are some of them. A sytsem of tax deductability does not solve the problem for those who wish to attend sectarian schools: they need vouchers that substantially meet the tuition: they don’t need a tax write off, they need direct subsidies out of tax revenues. And I do not understand why you believe that Constitutional muster is passed by limiting these vouchers to “secular” as opposed to doctrinal education, when the mores and administrative dictates of these “secular” schools are doctrinally sectarian, with practices and standards being set by mashgichiim.

    If any conceivable school system, seecular or Talmudic, that the Orthodox in question would be comfortable with, is Constitutionally suspect under current Constitutional precedent should the Orthodox wish to receive public funding for these schools (notwithstanding that, duh, the tax rolls are filled by private individuals), then I think people have a double beef should the Orthodox, majority or not, wish to hollow out the schools used by the non-Orthodox (including Reform, Conservative, non-affiliated, Reconstructionist and other Jewish mixed multitudes) who use and are satisfied with them. Analogizing teachers and bureaucrats to slave owners is a red herring–it is the students and pupils who do not desire sectarian instruction who are being attacked.

  21. Paul Freedman

    That is anonymous, your belief is that the Orthodox, as free individuals should not be taxed to pay for schools they don’t wish to use but that other parents should be taxed (via vouchers–deductions won’t cut it) should be taxed for Orthodox (sectarian (separation of sexes, kashrus, provision for afternoon services, etc.) “secular” schools.

  22. Noclue

    Both the above comments misrepresent my views. Vouchers should pay for secular subjects only; the schools should be actually separate from any sectarian school; that is separate corporate existence; separate governing body; separate finances. It should teach only secular subjects in accordance with the New York state curriculum. It should be in fact open to all. The only concession to religion should be cultural, it should not be co-ed; the schools would be free to require a dress code just as some public schools require uniforms and just as some public schools are not co-ed. There would be no clubs so most free speech issues would not arise; but students would be free to say and think what they want. Its hours should be so that students could do something; anything, in the morning and early afternoon hours. (It could teach Hebrew as a language just as schools teach Spanish to students in the Bronx).

    Any group who wishes should be free to set up the schools or to use the public schools or just have their own private schools with no state funding. The school’s finances should be subject to annual CPA audit and be in accord with GAAP. Only approved firms by the state should be allowed to perform the audit. The State Education Department should have supervisory oversight power just as it does for charter schools. In fact, these schools could be set up as charter schools.

    This would certainly pass constitutional muster under both the federal and stricter New York state constitution. It would benefit society because the students would be productive members of society and would relieve the burden of running a dual school system. It would eminently fair to all.

    To Mr. Freedman; stop misreprsenting my comments. I believe that if anybody’s secular education is paid for then all person’s secular education should be and if not all then no person should have a free secular education. It is (obviously) not what you said.

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander. And yes; if orthodox Jew’s secular education is not paid for then they should not be taxed to pay for the education of others.

    I suggest this. If nothing is done by the beggining of next summer all orthodox parents should register their kids in public schools. (I did not say attend). This act of protest would be effective and show just how much money we are saving everybody else. Then we should register and vote for candidates who support real equal opportunity for all, not the current ones who treat us worse than third class citizens and throw us crumbs.

    The orthodox community is headed for a financial overload and something should be done. We need realistic solutions not pie in the sky dreams of Federation money if only because Federation simply does not have the resouces to provide substantial aid. We are American citizens just like anybody else and it is time we are treated on equal terms.

    If anybody has a more realistic solution; then post it.

  23. hashfanatic

    These people think very strategically and realize that the more uneducated the surrounding residents’ children become, the more likely (and more cheaply) they will be to employ as servants, helpers, menial workers, etc.

    They acutely realize the deepening divisions in local society and understand it will no longer be feasible or even desirable to ship their worker class in from inner-city or neighboring areas.

    They want their own kind to work for them, as long as their own kind doesn’t get it into their heads that they are equals.

    Two problems solved in one.

  24. Anonymous

    These people? Who? You must mean the Elder’s of Zion. See The Protocols of The Elders of Zion, Tzarist Russia Press.

    Your post, hashfanatic, is anti-semitic, classic style.

  25. Paul Freedman

    Noclue: I think I get your concept now. It is intriguing but there are two issues: one is whether a publicly funded school that separates sexes violates Title IX Education Act Provision–and your proposed schools once funded via vouchers are quasi-public–there may be precedents permitting it. I don’t know.

    The second is that educational establishments do not run in a vacuum–they are licensed and your schools, would probably run on part-time schedules (?) to accommodate day learning in religious schools: a part-time school schedule, a three or four hour day does not meet the requirements of students who are *not* studying for part or most of the day in other institutions, and I don’t know if such schools will be acceptable under local school codes that license educational facilities, private or public.

    If you are proposing full-time schools for secular subjects that are funded by vouchers whose only difference from public schools is that they are not coed and, for example, do not teach evolution, or, have mixed dances, that is another idea, but I don’t know that full-time secular schools meet Orthodox needs.

  26. Paul Freedman

    Half-day academies may be licenseable–home schooling is–I see that you propose: ” Its hours should be so that students could do something; anything, in the morning and early afternoon hours. (It could teach Hebrew as a language just as schools teach Spanish to students in the Bronx).”–still how many hours is this institution open in the day and where does schooling in Tanach take place? off-site?

    An alternate approach would be a home-based approach or an offshoot: I know that Christian parents are permitted to teach their children at home and those children are considered to be appropriately instructed as long as certain testing standards are met. You may still feel that the system is unjust as others are using schools you are contributing to in taxes but the cost for a network-centric educational system could be affordable.

  27. noclue

    The legal obstacles you mention need to be researched but do not appear daunting. Coed schools are accepted both at the college and pre college levels and the legal obstacles apparently have been overcome.

    The problem of half day schools v. full day schools can be met, if needed, by legislation, which would require that the core subjects, i.e. English, Social Studies, Science and Mathematics be taught, while electives may be met in other approved ways, which could include work study or religious education or volunteer work or self study including internet study.

    Tanach should be taught as part of Limudei Kodesh and not at this school. However, Hebrew language should be taught. Such instruction could include classical Hebrew texts as long as they are taught in a secular manner. I would not necessarily recommend TNACH because it is too fraught with religion. However, such texts as Kuzari or Pyutim could be used in the curriculumn, as long as they are studied as philosophy and lierature. This could be done correctly and above board. Even TNACH could be taught in a way that is ideologically and legally acceptable; by concentrating on the texts as a way of studying classical Hebrew.

    Home schooling will not do it. It would guarantee that nobody learns anything and will doom our children to secular ignorance and poverty.

    My solution is eminently fair and legally doable.

  28. hashfanatic

    To unnamed poster calling me an antisemite:

    Did you call Bill Cosby anti-black?

    Hypocrites.

    If these questionable financial machinations continue in suburbs such as working-class Nassau County where working people have to subsidize preferential treatment for already wealthy special interest groups, not only will you see heightened antisemitism, but I predict a holocaust scenario-there-in twenty years time.

    This is common sense. All the frustrations and trigger mechanisms already exist, and no one is openly discussing or taking responsibility for contributing to it.

    Who will be to blame then?

    Who will be left to even hear?

  29. hashfanatic

    Paul, you cannot compare the children of the Five Towns to the children of the Bronx.

  30. noclue

    Hash fanatic, you are truly anti-Jewish. I suggest a psychiatrist.

  31. hashfanatic

    Nice cop-out, but untrue, no clue!

    In leafy suburbs like Lawrence, Teaneck, etc., the frummies gravitate to areas heavily inhabited by WASPs and/or very secularized, professional Jews for decades.

    There is absolutely no precedent to the idea of government subsidies for private religious instruction (indeed, whole schools). It is counterintuitive and repellent.

    What happens is, the secularized Jews who are chased out tell their new non-Jewish neighbors, they tell THEIR friends, families, neighbors, and such. This is totally natural, especially in New York, where white flight HAS precedent. The Five Towns area is a major shopping destination that former residents continue to shop at out of habit, where they encounter the new residents and their (many) children in the aisles and such. Confrontations will occur, but they aren’t even necessary–the children can taste the hostility, they can cut it with a knife.

    The rabbonim knew this would be unhealthy. They may not have insisted the MO families stay in Brooklyn and assimilate, but they certainly didn’t encourage it (they had far more sense, until lately).

    You cannot have an opulent Modern Orthodox Kiryas Joel and still interact with others, less than ten miles from Times Square, supported by the working class, and not expect disaster to result.

  32. Paul Freedman

    noclue–I think I understand “where you are coming from”–the difficulty is always in getting organizational traction to work towards making a concept a working model ‘memash’–what is needed is at least one “charter school” that has an atmosphere conducive to an Orthodox philosophy of “moral education” but by scheduling of modules permits full-day study for those who desire it–either through state or localities the “propers” of offering a half-day (maybe 5 hours) a schedule for students could be nailed down while permitting the students to benefit from economies of scale offered by public education (and payed for through existing taxes and subsidies).

  33. noclue

    To Paul Freedman. Exactly.

    To Hashfanatic. Huh? I suggest an editor.

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