What do you want to be when you grow up? This is not a common question for boys who attend ultra-Orthodox New York yeshivas. This is because many of these schools focus on Judaic studies, preparing students for a life of religious scholarship – at the expense of basic reading, writing, math, and science. New York state law requires private and religious schools to provide a curriculum equivalent to that of public schools, and a 2019 report from the New York Department of Education found that only two of the 28 yeshivas on which she had investigated met those requirements. This is particularly problematic, given that the city’s yeshivas receive more than $ 100 million in public funds per year.
The authorities failed to enforce the laws, allowing the community, which is a strong and unified electoral bloc, to ignore secular education requirements. In the video above, a mother pleads with city and state officials to enforce the law so that her son can enjoy one of the most basic rights – education.
Beatrice Weber (@beawebwriter) is a former member of the New York Hasidic community. Her son still attends an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva.
Chaim Levin is a former student of Yeshiva Oholei Torah, an ultra-Orthodox school in Brooklyn.