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 - August 6, 2019 - The bikes are tuned up! The cyclists are training! Yaffa Caterers is heating up the grills! Register now for Bikur Cholim of Baltimore’s Biker Cholim Men’s Bike-a-Thon and Family Barbeque. On Sunday, August 18, 2019, at Beth Tfiloh join the already 178 cyclists who will be traversing through Baltimore’s beautiful country-side on a 10-mile route, a new 25-mile route, or a new 50-mile route. It’s not too late to register and be part of this exciting fun-packed day. Log on to www.bikercholim.org and bike with us. Then enjoy a sumptuous BBQ catered by Yaffa Catering while your children enjoy face painters, balloon twisters, snow cones, cotton candy and more. Prizes raffled throughout the BBQ givi...
San Diego - A gun-rights group sued Thursday to block California from enforcing its assault weapons ban, contending it violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The lawsuit was the latest among gun advocacy and lobbying groups to challenge California’s firearms laws, which are among the strictest in the country, and comes after a recent series of deadly mass shootings nationwide involving military-style rifles.
The lawsuit was filed in the same San Diego federal court district where a judge in April tossed out a nearly two-decade-old California ban on sales and purchases of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets.
The new lawsuit says that decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez undercuts California’s ban on certain weapons defined as “ass...
North Carolina - A camp van overturned in North Carolina at approximately 6:43 PM, Thursday evening, leaving one boy in critical condition, and 16 others injured.
The boys from “Hamachane Richmond” were driving in Northampton County on their way back from a trip when the rollover occured.
17 boys were in the vehicle. Of the total injuries, 11 were listed as non-urgent, five were urgent and one was critical.
Firefighters removed two rows of rear seats using hydraulic rescue cutters and reciprocating saws, to free the boys from the vehicle. They were then transferred to Halifax Regional Medical Center of Roanoke Rapids and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center of Emporia for treatment.
Please say Tehillim for Eliyahu Avraham Ben Keren.
New York - Stocks rose broadly in morning trading on Wall Street Friday as investors look to end a turbulent week on a positive note.
The S&P 500 rose 1.5% as of 11 a.m. Eastern time and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also gained ground. But both indexes are still headed for a third straight weekly decline after steep losses earlier in the week, including an 800 point drop in the Dow.
Technology stocks led the market higher in a sign that investors regained some appetite for riskier holdings. Microsoft rose 1.8% and Apple rose 2.6%. Nvidia surged 8.8% on solid earnings.
Health care and industrial stocks also gained ground. Investors brushed off a weak forecast from agricultural equipment maker Deere, which gained 4.1%.
Utilities, which have been one of the safer haven...
San Francisco - Hundreds of Google employees are calling on the company to pledge it won’t work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It’s the latest in a year full of political and social pushback from the tech giant’s workforce.
A group of employees called Googlers for Human Rights posted a public petition urging the company not to bid on a cloud computing contract for CBP, the federal agency that oversees law enforcement for the country’s borders. Bids for the contract were due Aug. 1. It is not clear if Google expressed interest. The company did not return a request for comment.
More than 700 Google employees had signed the petition by Tuesday afternoon. Citing a “system of abuse” and “mal...
Jerusalem - A United Nations committee questioned Palestinian representatives on incitement and racism over two days.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was examining the Palestinian Authority’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The committee in the hearings Tuesday and Wednesday sought explanations of “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel prejudice and incitement to hatred” in the “media and speeches of state officials,” The Jerusalem Post reported. Officials asked what the Palestinians were doing to curb such rhetoric.
On Wednesday morning, Palestinian representatives accused the Israelis of weaponizing anti-Semitism and asserted that it was Zionism rather than Palestinian...
Hong Kong - Hong Kong’s government announced tax cuts and higher social spending Thursday to reverse a deepening economic slump aggravated by anti-government protests and the U.S.-Chinese tariff war.
The territory’s financial secretary, Paul Chan, cut this year’s official growth forecast to 0 to 1%, which could be the worst performance since 2009 during the global financial crisis. The previous forecast was 2% to 3%.
Hurt by the plunge in U.S.-Chinese trade, growth already was declining before anti-government protests erupted this year over a proposed extradition law and other grievances.
“The recent social incidents have hit the retail trade, restaurants and tourism, adding a further blow to an already-weak economy,” said a statement issued by ...
New Hampshire - President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy despite the stock market volatility and told rallygoers in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection.
“Whether you love me or hate me you have to vote for me,” Trump said.
Speaking to a boisterous crowd at Southern New Hampshire University, Trump dismissed the heightened fears about the U.S. economy and a 3% drop Wednesday in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was fueled by a slowing global economy and a development in the bond market that has predicted previous recessions. Avoiding an economic slump is critical to Trump’s reelection hopes.
“The United States righ...
Mexico City - New U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau arrived in Mexico City on Friday to take up one of Washington’s most important diplomatic posts, which had been empty for over a year.
Landau replaces Roberta Jacobson, the first woman to be the United States’ envoy to Mexico. She resigned and retired in May 2018.
The North American neighbors are key commercial partners but Landau’s arrival comes after months of tensions over immigration and trade.
Mexico has cracked down on migrants and asylum seekers moving through its territory after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on imports from Mexico. The two governments are hoping for ratification of a trade deal with Canada that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Washington - The pace of U.S. home construction fell a sharp 4% in July despite strong demand from would-be buyers, held back by a shortage of skilled labor and affordable land.
The Commerce Department said Friday that housing starts slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units. So far this year, housing starts have declined 3.1%. Though there was a slight 1.3% uptick in the construction of single-family homes last month, the gain was offset by a 17.2% plunge in the apartment category.
The construction slowdown, which has persisted all year, is thwarting prospective homebuyers. The solid job market and falling mortgage rates have boosted interest among people seeking homes, yet the shortage of available homes and rising prices have dampened sales. T...
Quetta, Pakistan - A powerful bomb exploded inside a mosque during Friday prayers on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta, where the Afghan Taliban have had a strong presence, killing at least four worshippers, including the prayer leader, officials said.
Abdul Ali, a local police chief, said the bomb was planted inside the mosque and was remotely detonated. He said about 20 wounded worshippers were taken to nearby hospitals in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.
Quetta police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema said the bomb was planted under the wooden chair of the prayer leader.
It was unclear who was behind the attack but the mosque is located 3 kilometers (2 miles) away from Kuchlak, a stronghold of Taliban insurgents, where Maulvi Hibatullah Akhunzada once l...
Louisville, KY - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell underwent successful surgery to repair a fracture in his shoulder — an injury he suffered when he fell at his Kentucky home earlier this month.
The surgery occurred Thursday in his hometown of Louisville, a McConnell spokesman said Friday.
“The surgery was performed without incident, and the Leader is grateful to the surgical team for their skill,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said in a brief statement.
McConnell’s staff did not immediately respond to an email seeking additional details about the procedure.
The six-term senator fractured his shoulder when he tripped on his home’s patio during the first weekend of August. He was treated that day and released.
The day before his injury, M...
New York - Three abandoned devices that looked like pressure cookers prompted an evacuation of a major New York City subway station and closed off an intersection in another part of town Friday morning before police determined the objects were not explosives.
Police were looking to talk to a man seen on surveillance video taking two of the rice cookers out of a shopping cart and placing them in the subway station in lower Manhattan. But police emphasized that so far, it wasn’t clear whether he was trying to frighten people or merely throwing the objects away.
“I would stop very short of calling him a suspect,” said John Miller, top New York Police Department counterterror official. “But we need to know the facts behind this.”
“It is possib...
Mazel Tov to Dina Katz on her engagement to Yitzy Schwartzman of Lakewood!
We regret to inform you of the Petira of Mr. Harvey Paretzky z"l, husband of Leah, father of Mrs. Adina Miller and Mordechai, and Shoshana Paretzky.
The Levaya will be this Sunday , August 18th 10:00 AM at Congregation Ohr Torah 48 Edgemount Road Edison , NJ 08817
In Edison: The Family will begin Shiva at the Prupis home at 30 Edgemount Rd Edison, NJ through Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM
Minyamin Times: Shacharis 7:10 AM
Mincha/ Maariv 7:35 PM In Baltimore: Mrs. Adina Miller will then return to her home in Baltimore to sit Shiva at 2807 Damascus Ct Baltimore Md 21209.
There will be no minyanim at the Miller shiva house.
Visiting times: Wednesday 4:00- 9:00, Thursday 10:00- 10:00, Friday 10:00- 5:00
Bike4Chai was an exhilarating experience for Team Baltimore’s 16 cyclists, who raised over $130,000 with donations from nearly 1,200 donors, helping to pay for nearly half of the Baltimore area children who attend Camp Simcha/Special, the free medical camp of Chai Lifeline for children with critical illnesses.When the riders arrived at the Poconos on Wednesday, Shaya Lerner and Gavriel Wealcatch made a siyum, lz'n Moshe Moskowitz. Moshe was a rider in Bike 4 Chai in 2016, the youngest rider to ever ride Bike 4 Chai at that time.The Day 1 ride was a grueling 109 miles from Princeton, NJ to the Pocono Mountains in PA.The Day 2 ride was about 60 miles up to Camp Simcha in the Catskill mountains.The Bike4Chai volunteers and staff made the experience personal, comfortable, and ...
Crime and Capital Punishment
So accustomed are we to incarceration as punishment that it’s easy to forget that punitive confinement is entirely absent from the Jewish mesorah.
To be sure, the Torah allows for – and even describes two cases of – the jailing of suspects, but only as a temporary measure, until guilt is established or ruled out. The idea of prison as punishment is a relatively recent one, usually traced to the 18th century British philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham.
And, at least in the U.S., prisons often seem to harden criminals. I have often wondered if corporal punishment might present a less onerous and more effective deterrent. That idea might be shocking, but, the concept of long-term confinement with other crim...
Parshas Va’Eschanan/Nachamu/Baltimore Zmanim / Eruv is UP!
Baltimore, MD – Aug. 16, 2019
Chatzos: 1:11 PM
Hadlakas Nairos: 7:43 PM
Shkiah: 8:01:19 PM
Tzais HaKochavim: 8:52 PM
Our community is blessed with youth who are passionate about Eretz Yisroel and can articulate their connection and appreciation clearly. As a result, each entry in the first annual Libi BaMizrach essay contest was emotional, creative and well-thought out, making it difficult to select just one top essay in each age category. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit your outstanding work! A special Mazal tov to Tova Rachel Paige in the middle school category and Rivka Benyowitz in the high school category! Their essays were selected by a panel of judges and the winners will each be receiving a free ticket to Israel for their exceptional essays.
Middle School winner:My Heart is in the East and I am at the End of the West.By: Tova Rachel PaigeGrade 8, Bais ...
Much has been written about the relatively minor differences between the Aseres Hadibros given by Hashem in Parshas Yisro and those repeated in this weeks Parsha. Some of the commentaries add beautiful thoughts and reasons for these distinctions. Nevertheless, we cannot lose sight of the fact that in something as significant as the Aseres Hadibros, each word, each letter requires the utmost concentration in study and analysis so that any slight changes are not glossed over or Chas V'Shalom, lost on us.
In the final commandment, Lo Sachmod, there are three such changes. First, in this weeks Parsha we are told initially “not to covet your neighbors wife and not to desire your friend...