Strengthening Torah Life. Advocating for the Community. Serving Each Individual.

September 11, 2022 - 15 Elul 5782

News from the Agudah:

  • Much has been happening over the last 72 hours in regards to the autonomy of the Yeshiva education system in New York. On Friday, the New York State Education Department published their updated regulations regarding yeshivos, which they are planning on voting on (and, our unfortunate expectation is, voting for) on Tuesday. Below, please find our statement we shared on this topic. 

  • Also, the New York Times' negative article attacking the chassidish education system was published today. Please find the Agudah's statement on that development below. Agudas Yisroel has been on the front lines of this ongoing battle and continues to take action on behalf of our mosdos haTorah.  

  • In that connection, "Together We Will" takes on a new significance. Over the last week or two, you have seen those words - referring to the Agudah, and its partners, all of you - in various periodicals and in these News from Agudah emails. Now, more than ever, it is important to emphasize the importance of our work for Klal Yisroel, and how we simply can't do it without being together. When you click on this link here, and donate money to the Agudah, that makes everything else possible. Everything that we do that you read about in these emails is because of you. Together, we will!

Agudath Israel Statement on Updated Substantial Equivalency Regulations

Agudath Israel remains deeply concerned that the state is moving forward with its plan to intrude upon and regulate the curriculum of private schools. The specter of government overriding the will of parents and dictating how and what we teach in our private, religious schools is frightening. 


Agudath Israel also notes the inclusion in the 142-page document released today of significant discussion addressing many of the comments submitted. Our legal team is continuing to study the Regulations and the discussion included therein to determine its impact upon the New York yeshiva community.  


We also note the Regulation’s inclusion of several alternate pathways described in the Regulations, which provide avenues for private schools to be deemed equivalent and avoid the need for intrusive and subjective local authority inspections.  


We have opposed government intrusion in our schools many times, and fought prior incarnations of the Regulations in court, in Albany, and, together with the broader Orthodox community and many others as part of the first and second public comment periods. We will continue to fight on behalf of our community to protect the autonomy of private, religious schools, as needed. 


The Regulations are slated to be voted upon by the Board of Regents on Tuesday.  

Agudath Israel Statement on New York Times’ Attack on Hasidic Community

Agudath Israel of America decries today’s one-sided New York Times hit piece on New York State’s Hasidic community and its educational institutions.


The article is riddled with bias, ignoring the vast majority of Hasidic parents – those who cherish their yeshivas – instead citing a minority of people who have rejected the community’s values, and passing them off as representative of the whole. The true viewpoint of the tens of thousands of parents who send their children to Hasidic schools is represented, in part, by the recent historic 350,000 letters during the state’s public comment period, the vast majority of which pleading for no interference with the yeshiva educational system for which they pay and value. Could the New York Times not speak to one of those parents?


In this article, everything beautiful is turned ugly. While challenging college classes are lauded in society, our disciplined, rigorous, and intellectually challenging Torah studies are denigrated. Disgusting innuendo abounds. The supposed poverty data, which form the foundation of much of the piece, have been debunked so many times as to become tiresome. And then there are the outright falsehoods, too many to list, being cataloged now by writers, fact-checkers, and defamation lawyers. 


There are certainly some who have had poor experiences in a yeshiva. But the New York Times has written a piece that could find almost nothing positive in a community that has raised generations of successful entrepreneurs, professionals, and blue-collar workers. Generations of successful human beings – even if success is defined in purely material terms.


Hasidic communities are models of safety and commerce, with low crime, suicide, and drug abuse rates. Our communities are focused on pursuits of knowledge, family values, kindness, and service to G-d and to others. 


We await, in vain, for a New York Times article on that.