Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ezra Friedlander chastises Young Advocates for Fair Education! Upadated with Yaffed's response

The following is a letter by Ezra Friedlander attacking YAFFED!
My comments in RED
Yaffed's response below the article!

By Ezra Friedlander
Recently, we’ve been hearing much in the news about a group that calls itself Yaffed (Young Advocates For Fair Education).  They sent a letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and seven district superintendents, calling upon them to investigate “the quality of secular education, and in particular English instruction, at (the listed) Yeshivas, and to take steps to ensure that pupils at these Yeshivas receive the essential and substantially equivalent education to which they are entitled.”
This group, led by Naftuli Moster, is causing a tremendous amount of controversy in our community, and I’d like to share my own thoughts here.
On the face of it, their proposal seems fair.  What could be more beneficial to our community than enhancing the quality of its education, even secular education?  In fact, my wife and I, who are parents of two young boys in the Yeshiva system, were recently also discussing this very same issue.
So what could be wrong with Yaffed’s proposal? Plenty!
In our community, mesorah (loosely translated as tradition, values, and fundamental beliefs) is the core of our educational system, a concept that has defined the Jewish people from time immemorial and has been the source of our continued survival.  So when a person like Mr. Moster and his organization comes along, calling on the New York State Department of Education to investigate our Yeshivas, my only response is:  “How dare you?  What right do you have to interfere with such sensitive and sacred matters?”
Do Moster’s claims have any validity at all?  That is irrelevant. 

DIN: Why is it irrelevant? For the last 30 years parents have been  fed up with the lack of secular education in the Yeshiva Systems, but are bullied into silence.. ask any parent of any child attending any Chareidie School!
Way before Mr. Moster wrote the letter to the NYS Dept of Education, they put billboards up warning the Yeshivos to do something....
Now years after their futile efforts they finally take some action by putting a fire under your collective  asses,  you attack them?
"sacred matters?”
taking money from the government and not providing services, is "sacred?" 
Mr. Moster's claims are absolutely valid.

 His actions speak louder than his words.  By what he has done, he has completely disqualified himself from the conversation.  He is like a prosecutor who is representing his case to the jury but has gathered evidence illegally.  Any judge would throw his case out of court without a moment’s delay.

DIN: What evidence has been gathered illegally?
 Why don’t we ask any Frum Teacher teaching in the Yeshivos, and ask them what they're teaching? 
Let's ask the teachers what is really going on? 
They will tell you, that all they do, is babysit!
The Yeshivas contrary to what Ezra says, don't care!
The children in the English classes in Yeshivos are by in large chuzpadik, and act like a bunch of untamed dogs!

Last year I met a non-frum English teacher of a well known Chareidie Yeshiva in Monsey, he also teaches in public school. He told me that the yeshiva students are a bunch of "savages" making "choizik" from him, throwing stuff at him and refusing to be taught. The sheer chutzpah is not to be believed,  whereas in public elementary school the children by in large behave.
He quit. He told me that in 35 years of teaching he was never as abused as in the Frum Yeshivos.
What a Chillul Hashem!

I had the occasion to go into an elementary public school last year and saw all the children sitting in their seats like little soldiers. The children in the hallways were accompanied by an adult and walked calmly to where they had to go. The very same day I picked up a child in a Frum Yeshivah early and the kids that were in the hallways were pushing and shoving each other with no adult in sight. Walking in the classroom  to pick up the 8 year old child was like walking into a wrestling ring, with the teacher shouting at the top of his lungs, trying  hard to calm the situation; the kids paid him no heed. 
Walking outside, I found out that it was recess, that explained the  total chaos with no organized sports, just kids fighting with sticks and beating the hell out of each other .... the Rebbe was calmly eating his orange as if this was ordinary day!

And by the way, isn't Mr Moster a product of the defunct Yeshivos? Isn't he himself legal evidence?

I highly doubt that this organization truly cares about our youth.  Or about the quality of our Yeshiva system.

DIN The Yeshivos don't care either. If the Yeshivos really  cared about our youth, they would be teaching them proper English, reading, writing and arithmetic.

 Because if they did desire to communicate effective change, they would not have gone about it by retaining the former Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel (a man who I do respect on many levels) to represent their case.  It seems to me that, the sole purpose of this whole campaign is to besmirch our community’s reputation and to undermine our system at its core.  And for that I unequivocally condemn their efforts.

DIN: You Ezra, know more than anyone around, that this organization tried everything in their power, including contacting all major Yeshivos, and were rebuffed!

It pains me greatly that it takes this person and this organization to raise points about our system that do indeed need to be addressed.  They are hardly the proper messengers to deliver this message. 

DIN: Who, Ezra, are the “proper messengers” to deliver this message?” 
Why don't you do something about it, instead of bashing people that are trying to help?
You're the one shooting the messenger! 

In order to bring about productive change, the demand must come from the parents themselves and not from outside forces whose very mission is to attack our system with a viciousness and mean-spiritedness that will put our Yeshivas at risk.

DIN: Parents, as you very well know, Ezra, are thrilled that the Yeshivos even have a space for their children in their moisid, they will never speak up. 
The parents that do speak up are the ones with the mighty dollar, and they don’t need their children knowing English … they will be taken care of…. speaking English like a Russian with a Chinese Mandarin accent will be just fine.
But, what about the ordinary Szlub that punches a clock and wants a better life for his children …. What about him? Who will speak for him? He is terrified of opening his mouth, because he is  not paying full tuition. So who will listen to his silent cry?

Frankly, I personally feel that, by and large, our Yeshivas do adequately meet the State’s educational criteria. 

DIN: What? Yeshivos “do adequately meet” bla bla etc. WHAT??????
You insane?
Didn't you just say that you and your wife are worried that the Yeshivos are not addressing the issue?

 And most of us are very much aware of the serious failings within the New York public school system, so I would advise the DOE to focus on their own schools.

DIN: So  the NY Public Schools are in shambles ,….  are you suggesting we sit back and ignore the welfare of our own precious children?  Are you suggesting that our children be on par with the drug addicts of the public school systems?

Be that as it may, my goal here is not to criticize that system.  I’d rather focus on our own Yeshivas.

DIN: So Focus…. Whose stopping you? Why don’t you get off your high horse and “focus”!

When discussing this same issue, my wife and I came to the conclusion that it would be disingenuous for us to demand that our Yeshivas take on additional expenses at this time.  

DIN: Well I discussed it with my wife as well and we came to the conclusion that you and your wife are a bunch of morons and may I add "disingenuous."

They are sadly underfunded and struggling to survive.  Especially in the Chassidic world, where a minimum of four to six children in a family can be attending Yeshiva at any given time, tuition barely covers the necessities. So how can we possibly demand that they do more?

DIN: Crazy logic….. the yeshivos are doing poorly because the alumni are all in Kolleliem and nobody speaks English, nobody works… so who is going to support the Yeshiva system? How about changing the system and teach English to our children so they will be productive to society? Is that too much to ask?
"So how can we possibly demand that they do more?"
Whose asking them to do more? We are asking them to do the bare minimum that every single Yeshiva is supposed to do ...and that is teaching them English, reading, writing and arithmetic ...we are not asking for the yeshivos to teach history, geography or poetry, G-D forbid,.... we are asking for the basics!

Is there room for improvement?  Certainly.  But the only way to improve the system is through the united efforts of the parent body.

DIN: Helllloow? Are you listening? Again, the parent body is afraid to speak up, because their children will find themselves in public school!

It is our responsibility to ensure that our children are properly educated to prepare for their future, including giving them the tools to succeed in life.  The Torah demands that parents educate their children and the Yeshivas are essentially our shlichim in this endeavor.  But the onus is essentially upon us.  Parents should work together with the Yeshivos to create a curriculum that would allow their children to be properly trained to enter the workforce.  That is, after all, the stated objective of this campaign for change.

DIN: Hey Ezra? Are you still there????? Hellllooow?
Again and again, parents have their hands tied behind their back…. The’re not going to do doing a thing… 
they want to marry off their children, and they don't want some yenteh shadchtendeh to say "the parent of the girl is a big troublemaker, he is a crazy meshiginer he wants his kids to actually speak English" 

Its people that graduated from the archaic system like the people running the above mentioned organization that will do something!

It’s important to me that my children are prepared to earn a livelihood and I take that responsibility very seriously.  If Mssrs Moster and Siegel would really care about this, I call on them to redirect their talents and energies to find creative ways to request that government funding be increased so that Yeshivas can enhance their curriculum. 

DIN: Government funding????? If you take government funding… 
your precious Yossily will find out that when he gets older he can marry Yankele!
Is that your solution? Mr. Friedlander, the Chuchem fin de ma nishtana?
More "government funding?' is that the reason why Chareidim voted for Obama and gay candidates? Because they are feeding your mosdos money? Is it all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
I guess so!
Who can forget the headline in the blaring headline of  Vosizneis     

 "Ezra Friedlander: I’m Voting For Christine Quinn For Mayor, And So Should You"

Doing so would at least give them a seat at the table to participate in this conversation.  It would show that they truly care about our children.
The Jewish people have only survived through the millennia because of the wholesome purity of our chinuchsystem.  And that is uncompromising.  Back in 1892, Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, (the Netziv) actually shut down the famed Yeshiva in Volozhin because Russian authorities, prodded by members of the Haskalahmovement, sought to introduce secular studies to the Yeshiva.  He closed down the Yeshiva rather than submit to their demands.

DIN: Im not familiar with the Volozhin Yeshiva whose population wasn’t more than 300 students … a far cry to today’s yeshivah of thousands. In addition the Volozhin yeshivah students were by in large in their mid 20’s …and all were able to converse fluently, read and write in the language of the country.
Today’s yeshivah students cannot read a traffic sign.

I’m certainly not comparing the DOE to the communist regime.  I’m simply trying to demonstrate how sacred our Yeshivas are to our community and how outside interference can only be counterproductive. Moster certainly knows this. And calling on the DOE to investigate our Yeshivas tells me in no uncertain terms that his agenda is not to improve our Yeshivas, but to disrupt and destroy them.

DIN: When I went to a chassidishe yeshivah many moons ago, the Yeshiva had an adequate English Department, and so did many others…those graduates are still supporting their Alma Maters  and, may 
I add, supporting their grandchildren…
Moster will be the one who will force Yeshivas to come to their senses!

Sadly, his claim, as legitimate as it might be, has lost all credibility.  It reminds me of the halacha which states that a Sefer Torah written by an apikores (non believer) is not kosher and cannot ever be used.  I’m not accusing him or anyone else of being an apikores, just that their actions have invalidated their initial intent.

DIN: Is that what Moster reminds you? Hey Ezra? How did you get your job?
Do you speak English? Do you write English? I see you write pretty well.
You did nothing till now to foster and support a basic secular education in a Torah setting… so  shut up and let Moster's organization take care of business!

It pains me to write this article because I truly believe that positive change can be accomplished when there’s unity and people work together for a common cause.  But when it comes to our sacred mesorah and the education of our precious children, there is no compromise.  We must ensure that they are brought up al taharas hakodesh.
Don’t blame the messenger?  In this case, I do.

DIN: It "pains me" more to have read an article that contradicts itself and offers zero solutions! 
Adios Ezra!

Ezra Friedlander is the CEO of The Friedlander Group, a NYC and Washington DC based public policy consulting group.  Follow him at @ezrafriedlander on Twitter.  For more information, contact ezra@thefriedlandergroup.com or visit www.thefriedlandergroup.com.


Fred said...

Basically, the idiot Friedlander is treating this organization like mosrim. Yeshivos and the Rabbonim who run them must be above secular law, so it's impossible that a normal human being who is victim of that system should open his mouth to protest the horrible education the yeshiva system provides. That Mr. Moster chose to involve secular authorities in changing the system makes him, his organization, and perhaps anyone who agrees with him person non grata in the eyes of frum morons like Mr. Friedlander. I'm sure that because Mr. Moster is no longer observant renders everything he says or believes in as treif. The sad fact is that many people who go OTD do so because they are victims of a corrupt and inept educational system that virtually guarantees they will be bankrupt once they leave the yeshiva system and attempt to earn a living. Idiots like Friedlander are the root cause behind so many people leaving observent Judaism.

Anonymous said...

I interviewed a person recently. He had a great deal of trouble completing the application as it was in English. I asked what he currently does and he told me: he teaches English in a chassidic yeshiva. Even he had to laugh at this.

Anonymous said...

Funny sight: chassidishe guys watching a football game at Mendy's Sports Bar & restaurant on the Upper West Side, shouting "fumble! fumble!" with Hungarian accents.

Anonymous said...

New York County Civil Court
Index Number: CV-030844-14/NY