Bintel Blog

Hasidic-Controlled School Board Roils Rockland County

By Nathaniel Popper

  • Print
  • Share Share

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Hasidic Jews living in New Square and a few other Hasidic enclaves near the Catskills.

A few weeks ago, we told you about the battle in Rockland County over a proposed kosher slaughterhouse that would be built less than a hundred feet from a residential neighborhood — a proposal that has not endeared the ultra-Orthodox Jews of New Square to their neighbors.

Now, though, the slaughterhouse issue is being overshadowed by anger over the way in which the ultra-Orthodox communities control the local school board. It turns out that the people who send their kids to public school are not happy about the school board being controlled by people who send their kids to private religious schools and who seem to be primarily interested in lowering their own taxes and increasing the amount of money going to special education programs.

Peter Applebome of the Times was at a public meeting in which the public school parents vented their anger Hasidic-controlled East Ramapo school board. One of the non-Hasidic members of the school board, Mimi Calhoun, told Applebome: “We talk about money, about bids, budgets, contracts. We don’t talk about education. It’s shocking, and it’s becoming demoralizing for the district.”

The latest battle was set off after the board decided to hire a lawyer used by other Orthodox-controlled school boards, a lawyer who happens to be an expert at funneling money to special education students in religious schools, and who also happens to be charge nearly four times as much as the current school board attorney.

This is not the first time that Rockland County’s Hasidic Jews have had trouble over their handling of public educational funds. Back in 1999 four New Square men were given prison terms for abusing public money designated for educational programs. That time the men got off thanks to a controversial pardon from Bill Clinton.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Education, Rockland County, School Board, Special Education

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.