You may have heard that the New York State Education Department recently published proposed Regulations about “substantial equivalency of instruction” required for students attending nonpublic schools.
This can have severe ramifications for yeshivos and day schools across the board in NYS, so we wanted to provide some answers to common questions we are receiving about this serious development.
Q: How might the proposed regulations affect my child’s yeshiva?
A: The Regulations, on their face, may require schools to make major adjustments to their limudei kodesh and secular programming.
For example, the proposed regulations specify 1) the number of required hours – as many as 4-5 hours per day, depending on grade level; 2) more than 12 required subjects, including, at the lower elementary level, consumer and family science, visual arts, theater, media arts, career development, occupational studies, etc.; 3) assessment of teachers to an undefined standard.
Results, grades, competencies, graduation rates, or other factors regarding equivalency to public schools are not taken into account for these purposes.
To view the proposed Regulation click here.
Q: Didn’t the court already strike down the SED Guidelines 3 months ago?
A: Yes, those Guidelines were thrown out by the NY State Supreme Court in response to lawsuits brought by Agudath Israel, PEARLS, Torah Umesorah, and other groups. However, the court struck down the Guidelines because the State Education Department failed to comply with the technical requirements for new rulemaking. By publishing its “proposed Regulations” in the NYS Register, SED has now started an “official” process in compliance with those requirements.
Q: How do the new proposed Regulations differ from the previous Guidelines??
A: The new Regulations are substantially identical to the previous Guidelines.
Q: What happens now?
A: There is a sixty day public comment period (until September 2) when individuals can voice their concerns regarding these proposed regulations. At the conclusion of the process, the Regulations come before the Board of Regents for a vote, expected this fall.
Q: I heard that State Education Commissioner Elia resigned earlier this week. Does that mean this is over?
A: No. The impact of Commissioner's Elia's resignation on this issue is still to be determined, but the proposed Regulations have already been published and the comment period is in place.
Q: What is being done to fight for parents who choose, and sacrifice dearly, for their children to attend yeshivos?
A: The Agudah has been working with organizations in the community - PEARLS and Torah Umesorah, among others - to oppose the newest incarnation of the state's attempt to control yeshivos. It should be noted that the Catholic and NYSAIS independent schools (which, together with Jewish schools, form the majority of nonpublic schools in NYS) also strongly oppose these regulations.
Q: Is there anything I can do?
A: Yes! SED is required, by law, to read comments submitted. While many have previously signed petitions, which is important, these comments are required to be read by law. We have set up a system, where, with just a few clicks, you can voice your opinion on this critical matter.
Q: I live in Chicago, but the overreach of these regulations concerns me. May I register my comment?
A: The regulations do not restrict comments to NYS residents.
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Baltimore, MD - Oct. 23, 2019: The OU has just announced this exciting venture
It is with great excitement that I announce a partnership between Torah Youth Association’s (TYA) and NCSY, a division of the Orthodox Union (OU). TYA has successfully provided programming geared towards young men from yeshivos in Baltimore since 2003. With the added benefit of NCSY’s enhanced infrastructure, we expect to increase both the breadth and quantity of our programs. This partnership has already resulted in an increase in programming over the past few months. TYA will continue to create innovative, inspirational, and purposeful programming specifically tailored to meet the needs of yeshiva boys within our community.
We are pleased to welcome back Yossi Kohen, who ha...
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday withdrew an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of chaotic protests that have since morphed into a campaign for greater democratic change.
Secretary for Security John Lee told the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s legislature that the government had suspended the bill because it had resulted in “conflicts in society.”
In order to clearly spell out the government’s position, “I formally announce the withdrawal of the bill,” Lee told lawmakers. Pro-democracy lawmakers immediately tried to question him but he refused to respond.
There are no signs that the withdrawal of the bill would dampen the protests, now in their fifth month. The rallies have snowballed into the city’s biggest p...
It will mark the first time in more than a decade that someone other than Benjamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a government.
On Monday, the prime minister returned the mandate to Rivlin, saying he was unable to form a majority government coalition.
Rivlin will give the mandate to Gantz, head of the Blue and White faction, on Wednesday evening at the president’s office in Jerusalem, a statement from Rivlin’s office said.
Gantz will have 28 days to try to form a government coalition. If he fails, Knesset members have 21 days to advise Rivlin of their support for another lawmaker to form a government, and Rivlin could task a third person with the mandate.
If that fails, Israel will go to another national election, in March. Netanyahu could not form a government after voting...
WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questions in a congressional hearing Wednesday focused on the social media company’s plans to launch its own cryptocurrency known as Libra.
Zuckerberg acknowledged concerns about the Libra project, saying he would not allow Facebook to move forward unless he got explicit approval from all U.S. financial regulators. But members of the House Financial Services committee were not convinced.
Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said that Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra “create many concerns” and argued that maybe Facebook should be broken up.
On the Republican side, Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri asked Zuckerberg why several high-profile corporati...
JERUSALEM (JNS) — A 50-year-old Palestinian man who recently converted to Judaism was arbitrarily arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces two weeks ago and is still in custody, according to a Ynet report. The man claims to have been tortured by P.A. forces.
The man, a Hebron resident, was arrested on the eve of Yom Kippur while on a visit to a West Bank area under P.A. control to meet one of his nine children, who along with their mother are Muslims. He was dragged into a waiting vehicle by four men and then taken to a Hebron police station, where he was arrested, according to the report.
Various sources indicate, according to Ynet, that the man’s brother had filed a police complaint regarding an alleged assault several months ago; however, the man denies these alle...
Hillary Clinton accuses presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former candidate Jill Stein of being ‘Russian assets.’
In Bereishis (2:15) the posuk tells us that Hashem commanded Adam not to eat from the Eitz Hadaas. The gemara in Sanhedrin (57b) learns from this posuk that goyim have a chiyuv to keep the zayin mitzvas bnei Noach. At what age is a goy mechuyav in the zayin mitzvos Bnei Noach? Is it from the age of thirteen, or is it from a younger age?
The Chasam Sofer in the Teshuvos Yoreh Deah (184) and in Teshuva (317) Shin says that the concept of a Jew becoming Bar Mitzva at thirteen according to the Rosh (16) and Mishna Berura (55) is a halacha l’Moshe miSinai. The Rambam in Hilchos Melachim (9:9) says that shiurim were only given to Jews. It would therefore stand to reason that a goy, even as a koton, would be chayev in the zayin mitzvos. The problem is that the Rambam (10) in Hilc...
Russia and Turkey agreed Tuesday to cooperate in removing Syrian Kurdish fighters from a wide swath of territory just south of Turkey’s border, in a deal that cemented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s preeminent role in Syria as U.S. troops depart and America’s influence wanes.
The agreement, reached after an hours-long meeting between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, will leave Turkey and Russia in control of territory formerly held by Kurdish forces once allied with the United States.
More importantly, though, the deal bolstered Russia’s preferred endgame in Syria’s civil war by allowing its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, to regain control over more of his country’s territory. Russia is a...
Nearly a third of Jewish Americans say they have hidden their religious identity or avoided carrying items that would identify oneself as Jewish in public due to threats of anti-Semitism, according to a poll released Wednesday.
A study by the American Jewish Coalition found that 31 percent of the respondents said they had "avoided publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying things that might help people identify [them] as a Jew."
Twenty-five percent of those surveyed also told pollsters that they at least sometimes "avoid certain places, events, or situations out of concern for [their] safety or comfort as a Jew."
The survey's results come as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says the rate of anti-Semitic incidents has doubled in the U.S. since 2015.
There continues to...
President Trump announced Wednesday that his administration would lift sanctions on Turkey after Ankara agreed to stop an offensive in northern Syria and agreed to a permanent ceasefire.
“Earlier this morning, the government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat and their offensive in Syria and making the ceasefire permanent,” President Trump said in remarks from the Diplomatic Reception Room Wednesday morning.
Trump acknowledged the tenuous situation, adding: “You would also define the word permanent in that part of the world as somewhat questionable. We all understand that. But I do believe it will be permanent.”
“So the sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with,&rd...
House Republicans on Wednesday stormed the secure room where lawmakers have been questioning impeachment inquiry witnesses, derailing a scheduled impeachment inquiry deposition.
More than a dozen GOP lawmakers convened outside the meeting room and were promptly kicked out, though many refused to leave.
Those remaining don’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Pizza was delivered to the sit-in, a Republican aide confirmed.
“This is an outrage,” Rep. Debbie Lesko, Arizona Republican, said.
The impeachment inquiry is centered on allegations that President Trump attempted to pressure Ukrainian President Zelensky to open investigations for his own personal gain, led by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees.Only members on those three committees &...
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — More than two months before the phone call that launched the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Ukraine’s newly elected leader was already worried about pressure from the U.S. president to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy gathered a small group of advisers on May 7 in Kyiv for a meeting that was supposed to be about his nation’s energy needs. Instead, the group spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting.
They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because ...
Around twenty five years ago, on Shabbat Breishit, I attended a Friday night talk of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l prior to Ma’ariv prayers. These extensive wide-ranging talks usually lasted more than an hour and certainty challenged weary Friday-night audiences. During his speech Rav Lichtenstein spoke eloquently about original sin and the fall of Man. At one point, his Hebrew language speech was interrupted by an English quote ”And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again”. I was startled by this quote from a popular children’s rhyme. It was not uncommon for my Rebbe to quote non-Jewish scholars who had written passionately about religion. However, a quote from the Mother Goose collect...
Baltimore, MD - Oct. 23, 2019 - Simchas Bais HaShoeivah 5780/2019 at at Baltimore's Machzikei Torah
U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia probe has expanded based on new evidence uncovered during a recent trip to Rome with Attorney General Bill Barr, sources told Fox News on Tuesday.
The sources said Durham was "very interested" to question former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, an anti-Trump critic who recently dismissed the idea.
The two Obama administration officials were at the helm when the unverified and largely discredited Steele dossier, written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, was used to justify a secret surveillance warrant against former Trump adviser Cart...
Report by Credit Suisse finds that Israel holds 0.3% of global wealth, whereas its population makes up only 0.001% of the global population.
Israel is ranked in the top 10 nations worldwide in terms of wealth growth for 2018-2019, according to the Global Wealth Report 2019, published Tuesday by Credit Suisse.
Since 2000, the combined wealth of Israel's citizens has more than doubled and now stands at $1.08 trillion, the report finds. However, the authors expressed concerned about Israel's rate of wealth increase compared to the growth of its GDP.
"The report points to a positive trend that supports Credit Suisse's strategic decision to focus on the Israeli market," says Ido Ben-Haim, head of private banking for Israel at Credit Suisse.
"According to the report...
Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fear that Israel will take advantage of the chaos caused by wave of protests in Lebanon to target some of their senior members who are based in Hezbollah-controlled territory.
Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are stepping up security for their top officials based in Lebanon for fear that Israel might try to assassinate them, the Palestinian Al-Quds news network reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the terrorist groups are worried that Israeli security agencies might try to take advantage of the chaos created by widespread popular protests in Lebanon to target some of their senior officials.
A source in one of the terrorist groups told Al-Quds that many of his organization's top officials were currently in southern Leb...
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump triggered outrage Tuesday by comparing the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry to a lynching, assigning the horrors of a deadly and racist chapter in U.S. history to a process laid out in the Constitution.
“That is one word no president ought to apply to himself,” said Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking African American in Congress. “That is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Trump’s words “unfortunate.”
“Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching,” the Senate’s top Republican told reporters. “That was an unfortunate choice of words.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, U.S. health regulators have judged a type of smokeless tobacco to be less harmful than cigarettes, a decision that could open the door to other less risky options for smokers.
The milestone announcement on Tuesday makes Swedish Match tobacco pouches the first so-called reduced-risk tobacco product ever sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration.
FDA regulators stressed that their decision does not mean the pouches are safe, just less harmful, and that all tobacco products pose risks. The pouches will still bear mandatory government warnings that they can cause mouth cancer, gum disease and tooth loss.
But the company will be able to advertise its tobacco pouches as posing a lower risk of lung cancer, bronchitis, heart disease and other dis...
LONDON (AP) — Police in southeastern England said 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria.
The truck, which is said to have entered Britain via the Welsh port of Holyhead on Saturday, was found by ambulance workers at Waterglade Industrial Park, Grays.
“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said. “We are in the process of identifying the victims, however I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process.”
A 25-year-old-man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody.
A cordon has been put in place and access to ...