Forward Thinking

Jewish Week Publishes Orthodox E-Rate Investigation

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

An investigation out today from the Jewish Week sheds more light on apparent Orthodox abuse of the E-Rate subsidy program, which the Forward first reported on last week.

E-Rate, a federally mandated subsidy program, funds internet and telephone connectivity for schools and libraries. The Forward investigation revealed that Orthodox institutions that didn’t actually qualify as libraries were nonetheless receiving large E-Rate subsidies.

The Forward’s story also showed that these Orthodox libraries had received far more in subsidies than the average library in New York, and that experts questioned the size of the allocations.

The Jewish Week story focuses on Orthodox schools’ use of E-Rate. The newspaper reports that 22% of all New York State E-Rate allocations in 2011 went to Jewish schools, which constitute just 4% of the schools in the state.

That amounts to $30 million in E-Rate subsidies in 2011. Much of that money went to ultra-Orthodox schools that don’t allow Internet use in the classroom, according to the Jewish Week. The story demonstrates that a handful of large Jewish schools received disproportionately high amounts of E-Rate subsidy.

The investigation is the first in a three-part series, according to the paper.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: E-Rate, Jewish Week

Yes, Virginia, Hanukkah Has a Correct Spelling

By J.J. Goldberg

“Jewish Tech” blogger Rabbi Jason Miller asks a useful and important question in his Jewish Week column this week, namely: How do you spell Hanukkah? Unfortunately, he starts off with an incorrect premise, then looks for an answer in the wrong place and leads his readers on a bit of a goose chase. He ends up, strangely enough, in the right place.

Let’s start by acknowledging that the question looks odd in print, since in the course of asking, we have to spell it. Having said that, Miller gamely leads in the wrong direction and makes up an answer by asserting that there’s no correct spelling. “Since it’s a Hebrew word that is transliterated into English, there are several acceptable spellings,” he writes, quoting his own column from last year. He’s writing about it again this year, it seems, because “people still want to know if there is a consensus.”

He goes on to note the myriad ways of spelling “Gaddafi” (“or is it Kadhafi or Qaddafi?”) and concludes that our December Spelling Dilemma is the same chartless jungle. His solution: Go to Google, and see which spelling gets the most hits. Answers: Number 1 is Hanukkah, with 8,470,000 hits, followed by Chanukah with 3,390,000.

Well, those are the right answers, but the way we got there does the reader a disservice. Spelling isn’t a popularity contest. It follows rules. It may evolve over time, but it will still reflect a language’s historical evolution. As for transliteration, it’s a system of spelling with defined rules. There are right and wrong ways to render words from one alphabet into another. The fact that many people don’t know them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

The tough part about transliteration is that there are two different systems. Not three or four or many—just two. But that’s enough to make many people think there’s no system at all. So let’s look at the rules.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Transliteration, Rabbi Jason Miller, Jewish Week, Hanukkah, Gaddafi, Classical Hebrew, Classical Arabic, Chanukah




Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • 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.