Please submit your letter of protest directly to the NY State Dept and help prevent the New Law from effecting our Yeshivos

 

BS"D

Petition in Opposition to Proposed Substantial Equivalency Guidelines

On March 10th, 2022, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) proposed new guidelines for an:
Addition of Part 130 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to Substantially Equivalent Instruction for Nonpublic School Students.

I wish to voice my vehement opposition to the proposed substantial equivalency guidelines. Our current educational system is a culmination of thousands of years of tradition and a cornerstone of our faith.

When our rabbis arrived in the United States, they allowed within the yeshiva curriculum a minimal amount secular studies (i.e. the 3 R's - Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) which has always been sufficient for our community to thrive spiritually and materially in any environment. Adding additional secular subjects is not an option.

The Torah commands devout Jews to display gratitude towards those who have bestowed kindness upon them and, given that, we are extremely thankful for the freedom that we experience in the United States. However, the same Torah also commands us to peacefully resist laws that diverge from Torah precepts.

Torah-adherent Jews have for centuries resisted all attempts to alter our religious observances, education being a prime example.

When devout Jews first arrived in America, they hoped to live peaceful, constructive lives in accordance with their faith free from state overreach. To date, this hope has been realised in New York and elsewhere. However, these guidelines fly in the face of this tradition of tolerance by attempting to alter fundamental facets of Jewish practice.

It must be made clear that altering the culture and practice of devout Jews, intent on remaining true to their ideals, is a plan which no government, no matter how authoritarian, has succeeded in.

Self-regulation, free of outside inspections, with the advising rabbi/s of each school directing the curriculum and overall tenor, is a non-negotiable.

The results of the yeshiva system are obvious to all, having produced hundreds of thousands of productive citizens who can ably navigate a democratic society and provide for their families whilst supporting a dizzying array of social welfare programs within our community. All of this while keeping Torah education whole and untainted.

Bearing all of this in mind, I ask that you please reject the proposed guidelines since we as a community cannot in good conscience and as servants of G-d abide by them. If New York State ultimately decides to make these guidelines binding, then we have no other alternative than to respectfully disobey. Their establishment will erode personal and communal freedom in New York, seriously compromising the State's reputation as a bastion of broad-mindedness and multiculturalism, paving the way for more assaults on civil liberties within New York.

Historically, when a government has enabled G-d-fearing Jews to live according to their sincerely-held religious principles, the result has been blessings and success for all parties. I pray that those who assist us in remaining true to our religious ideals should be blessed in all aspects of their lives for the kindness they show us.

In the spirit of basic decency and goodwill, I ask that you reject the proposed guidelines as they are an affront to liberty and conscience and have no place in a free society. We will, in any event, continue as we have for millenia, faithful to original Jewish education in its pristine form.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

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