Part I: Haredi Schools Reap Millions In Federal Tech Funds

How does a community that rails against the Web pull in $30 million in one year for its schools from the E-rate program?

02/15/13
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Editor's Note: This article is the first of three parts. Click for part 2. Click for part 3.

At Yeshivat Avir Yakov, an all-boys school in the chasidic enclave of New Square in New York’s Rockland County, students spend the vast majority of their long school days studying religious texts in spartan classrooms furnished only with battered wooden benches and desks. Unlike their counterparts in public or private schools outside the chasidic community, the boys at Avir Yakov do not have access to the Internet or computers in their school because chasidic leaders view the Internet as a corrupting force capable of undermining their way of life.

Indeed, recent graduates report never having seen — let alone used — a computer in their classrooms, and video of the inside of the Avir Yakov building shot within the past two weeks and obtained by The Jewish Week seems to support their accounts: not one of the yeshiva’s classrooms, public areas or designated resource rooms seen on the video contains a computer, or even a telephone.

So it comes as a surprise that the approximately 3,000-student school has, since 1998, been allotted more than $3.3 million in government funds earmarked for Internet and other telecommunications technology.

In 2011 alone, the yeshiva collected $817,065 through E-rate, a 15-year-old federal program that subsidizes telecommunications services and infrastructure for schools and libraries, giving larger discounts to those serving low-income populations.

In 2012, Avir Yakov got $209,423 the vast majority of that money for telecommunications service provided by a Brooklyn company called Discount Cellular Plus.

Avir Yakov is just one of many fervently Orthodox Jewish schools in New York State that, despite publicly eschewing Internet use and despite offering their students minimal, if any, access to computers, have spent large sums of E-rate money.

Disbursed to service providers — often small businesses, like Discount Cellular Plus, which appear to serve an exclusively Orthodox clientele — E-rate funds distributed to 285 New York State Jewish schools totaled more than $30 million in 2011, although not all that money ended up being disbursed.

This means that while Jewish schools enrolled approximately 4 percent of the state’s K-12 students, they were awarded 22 percent of the state’s total E-rate allocations to schools and libraries that year. In addition, in recent years, a number of fervently Orthodox organizations — including Chabad.org and Torah Umesorah (The National Association for Hebrew Day Schools) — have classified themselves as libraries in E-rate applications and collectively received millions of dollars, a trend first reported in the Forward.

E-rate, which disbursed $2.2 billion in 2011 and is designed to directly benefit students, is one of several programs operated by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for the Federal Communications Commission with money collected from fees on long-distance phone service.

While many have lauded E-rate for helping to give large numbers of schools and libraries access to the Internet, the program has also been criticized for its inadequate safeguards against fraud and waste.

In a four-month investigation, The Jewish Week reviewed E-rate data along with numerous filings submitted by Jewish schools and their service providers. The newspaper conducted an extensive analysis of 2011 E-rate awards, reviewed the funding history of the Jewish schools and service providers receiving the largest sums of money, examined “470” forms detailing schools’ technology requests, and looked at various audit reports and FCC rulings. With the exception of the 470s, all of this information is publicly available on the website of E-rate Central, a Long Island-based E-rate consulting firm.

The Jewish Week also made repeated attempts to interview administrators at several of the Jewish schools receiving the largest sums of money, as well as officials at companies that have billed E-rate for services reportedly provided to these schools. With the exception of an E-rate consultant, whom one school suggested The Jewish Week contact, none of these people returned calls or agreed to be interviewed.

What The Investigation Found

Perhaps not surprisingly, the investigation revealed that of the almost 300 Jewish schools benefiting from E-rate, large ones serving predominantly low-income populations got the lion’s share of the money: 10 schools — all but one chasidic — collectively were approved for nearly $9 million in E-rate-funded services in 2011, almost one-third of the Jewish total.

While E-rate does cover certain non-Internet-related expenses, such as PBX business phone systems and wiring for internal networks, and while most fervently Orthodox schools do have at least basic Internet service for office administrators, it is unclear why schools like Avir Yakov that offer their students minimal, if any, access to computers and the Internet are consistently among the program’s largest beneficiaries.

This is a segment of the Jewish community deeply concerned about the perceived social threat posed by the Internet. Indeed, last May, 60,000 fervently Orthodox Jews filled the Citi Field and Arthur Ashe stadiums in Queens for a rally about the dangers of the Internet, and the community’s schools routinely require parents to sign documents at the beginning of each school year committing to not having Web access in their homes as a precondition for enrollment.

Setting aside questions of how these schools are using technology, it is also unclear why, given the financial constraints of E-rate, which had $2.3 billion to allocate last year yet received over $5 billion in requests, the program continues to dole out disproportionately large sums to a small sector of the population.

Among The Jewish Week’s Findings:

Yeshivat Avir Yakov submitted requests in 2012 seeking, among other things: 65 direct connections to the Internet, wiring that would provide 25 classrooms, as well as 40 computers or other devices, with Internet access; phone service for 95 classrooms; more than 260 cell phone lines with data plans; various PBX (phone) equipment and wire and cable upgrades.

One recent Avir Yakov graduate told The Jewish Week that during the time he was a student there, the school installed “phone systems and data cables in each classroom, but no computer or Internet connection was ever installed.”

“There were phone jacks and data jacks, but nothing more,” the graduate continued.

The Jewish Week was unable to confirm this with Avir Yakov, as the school did not return three detailed voice-mail messages, including one notifying the school that it would be a subject of this story.

Notably, Avir Yakov’s primary service provider, Williamsburg-based Discount Cellular Plus, is being sued in federal court by Sprint/Nextel. The suit alleges that Discount Cellular Plus, along with its owner Yoel Stossel and two other men, targeted yeshivas to steal their special discounts and rate plans and that the defendants then fraudulently acquired large quantities of “new high-end Sprint phones,” including iPhones, which they illegally unlocked and resold for a substantial profit overseas. (Avir Yakov is not mentioned in the suit).

Bais Ruchel D’Satmar, an all-girls Satmar school in Williamsburg with over 3,000 students, received more than $1.5 million in 2011, the largest E-rate haul by any Jewish school that year. The following year, it requested, among other things: high-speed T1 lines with dedicated Internet access for eight locations; 250 cell phones; local and long-distance service for more than 100 lines in eight buildings; 100 pagers and eight locations for a video conferencing system. Over the years, the school — which, former students and employees told The Jewish Week, offers students some training on office software like QuickBooks but no Internet access — has spent more than $4 million in E-rate money. In 2012 it spent $45,000 just on Internet access provided by one supplier, Jet Wave.

Bais Ruchel D’Satmar, also known as Beth Rachel, has been involved in fraud in the past. In 1999, Rabbi Hertz Frankel, then principal of Bais Ruchel D’Satmar’s elementary school, pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiring for nearly two decades with Brooklyn Community School District 14 to place dozens of chasidic women on the district payroll in no-show teaching jobs as a part of a plot to funnel more than $6 million to the school and its parent organization, United Talmudical Academy.

According to the April 1999 report submitted by the special commissioner for investigation of the New York City School District, the women typically turned over their paychecks to Frankel — who in turn handed the money over to the school — but, through the scheme, were able to get heath benefits for their families. Investigators were unable to fully account for how all the funds were used, but Frankel was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution (the school was allowed to pay the money on his behalf as the 6 year investigation had found no evidence that Frankel, who currently serves as Bais Ruchel’s English division principal, had benefitted personally from the scheme.

United Talmudical Academy (UTA), a Satmar boys’ school in Williamsburg that has approximately 2,800 students (there are also UTA’s in Borough Park and Rockland County that apply separately for E-rate), spent $831,603 in 2011, and has spent almost $8.2 million in E-rate funds since 1998. In 2012 it requested, among other things: wireless Internet and e-mail on 100 cellular lines, 160 cell phones, 100 landlines, Internet access on two dedicated lines and 75 pagers. In 2012, Dynalink Communications received $81,600 just to supply Internet access to UTA.

Dynalink, Birns Telecommunications, Hashomer and First Class Computers, Inc. have received the lion’s share of UTA’s E-rate business, and UTA has consistently been approved for E-rate reimbursements, even though a 2004 audit by the FCC’s inspector general concluded that in 1999, the focus of the audit, UTA was “not compliant with the program regulations.” (The FCC later overruled the resulting recommendation that the Satmar school return $934,300.) 

Congregation Machne Shalva, also going by the name Talmud Bnei Zion Bobov, a K-12 boys’ school in Borough Park with 1,675 students, has been approved for over $100,000 each year in E-rate services since it first got involved with the program in 2006. In 2012, Machne Shalva, requested nine T1 lines, 150 cell phones, 20 BlackBerry devices, text-messaging service for 150 users, 75 pagers and nine cable/DSL Internet access points. It received $660,865.43 in 2012 and $709,489.38 in 2011. Its primary service providers are Dynalink and Birns.

Yeshiva Beth Hillel D’Krasna, a 421-student boys’ school in Borough Park, spent more than $1.5 million between 1998 and 2012. One of its recent major service providers is an entity called Mekach Tov Enterprises, Inc., which has done about $850,000 worth of E-rate business in the two years it has participated in the program.

Catholic schools and public schools in New York, even ones serving high-poverty populations, do not seem to reap as much money from E-rate as do their ultra-Orthodox counterparts.

Our Lady of Sorrows in Queens, a pre-K through eighth grade Catholic school serving 235 students and also eligible for a 90-percent discount, spent $6,102 in 2012 and $21,105 in 2011. Since 1998, the school has received approximately $530,000 — averaging about $35,000 per year — spending just under $9,000 on Internet access in 2012.

Catherine McAuley High School, an all-girls Catholic school in East Flatbush serving 250 students and also eligible for a 90-percent discount, spent only $4,137 in 2011. From 1998-2012, the school spent less than $700,00 — averaging less than $50,000 per year. Unlike UTA, Bais Ruchel D’Satmar, Yeshiva Beth Hillel of Krasna, Machne Shalva and Avir Yakov,

McAuley has a website, which enables students and parents to access private content and information about the classes in which students are enrolled.

Meanwhile, the New York City public schools, which enroll close to 1 million students, almost half of them eligible for free/reduced lunches, has spent about $1.3 billion in E-rate funds, or the equivalent of 158 UTA’s. Looked at another way, E-rate has spent approximately $1,300 for each public school student, compared to almost $3,000 for each UTA student, even though the yeshiva is part of a community whose ideology rejects the Internet and discourages computer use except in very limited ways.

Asked in an e-mail why New York’s fervently Orthodox Jewish schools appear to disproportionately benefit from E-rate, Eric Iversen, USAC’s director of external affairs, replied that “program rules do not address diversity or proportionality of enrollments in the way you seem to be asking. They require only that a school be eligible, as per federal laws. … The amount of funding that goes to certain kinds of school — public, private, religious, etc. — is a function of how individual applications from schools in these categories add up. It’s just an accident of addition, not anything that is part of [how] our funding decisions are made.”

In an e-mail interview, Tehyuan Wan, coordinator of education and technology programs and initiatives at the New York State Department of Education, speculated about disproportionate representation of Jewish schools in E-rate, noting that, “Some schools have been more aggressive in maximizing the opportunity while others calculate their actual usage and needs and budget accordingly.”

He also noted that because of USAC’s “Two In Five” rule whereby schools can only be reimbursed for certain expenses twice every five years, “Eligible schools may choose to deploy their technology upgrades or expansion in a particular year or two within the five-year funding cycle. So the total spending and reimbursement for each of the schools may vary from one to another, depending on when they use Priority II funding resources. Therefore, it is important to take the five-year funding usage cycle into consideration in your computation and comparison.”

Responses From Schools

The Jewish Week phoned representatives of seven of the Jewish schools that have received some of the largest E-rate awards in the program’s history, leaving two voicemail messages at each school: UTA Williamsburg, Yeshivat Avir Yakov, Bais Ruchel d’Satmar, Congregation Machne Shalva, Yeshiva Beth Hillel d’Krasna, Bobover Yeshiva B’nai Zion and Talmud Torah Tzoin Yosef Pupa. The messages requested information on what technology the school makes available to students and how it has spent its E-rate dollars. The reporter noted that an article would appear this week. None of these calls was returned. A third call, placed to Avir Yakov and its E-rate consultant Robert Sniecinski and detailing some of the allegations against it, also was not returned.

Indeed, the only fervently Orthodox leader contacted who agreed to speak was Rabbi David Niederman, executive director and president of  the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.

He emphasized that he has “no oversight over any schools whatsoever” and said that he has “no idea of E-rate, what that means, I don’t know the details of the program.”

“Let the schools talk about it themselves, let me not go into it,” he added.

Officials at Yeshiva Beis Chaya Mushka, a Chabad girls’ school in Crown Heights approved for $878,506 in 2011, referred interview requests to Richard Bernstein, the school’s E-rate consultant.

In a phone interview, Bernstein, who is founder of E-Rate Consulting LLC in Woodmere, L.I., and has been involved with E-rate since its inception, came to the defense not only of Beis Chaya Mushka, but also of fervently Orthodox E-rate beneficiaries in general. (While Bernstein has a variety of clients, both Jewish and non, he said that he has not worked with the other schools cited in this article.)

He offered a number of potential explanations why the schools in question benefited disproportionately from E-rate:

New York State as a whole has historically been one of the states receiving the most E-rate dollars (as much as 17.4 percent in 2002), something he attributes to the state’s department of education promoting the program and encouraging schools to apply.

Jewish groups are better organized and better at sharing information among themselves than other groups.

Many fervently Orthodox schools are large and serve large numbers of low-income students, a population given preferential treatment by E-rate.

Because E-rate’s application process is labor-intensive and “difficult to navigate,” many schools that might be eligible do not bother to apply.

Regarding the fact that most fervently Orthodox schools, with the possible exception of Chabad ones like Chaya Mushka (which is using its E-rate money, in part, to wire the two new floors of classrooms it is building), don’t give students access to the Internet, he said, “There are innovations out there and it’s creeping in,” adding that some schools not currently using the Internet may be “positioning themselves for when it’s going to happen.”

“No one knows how long [E-rate] is going to last, because it’s running out of money,” he said. “If you don’t take advantage of it now, you may not be able to later.”

In addition, he said, wiring is required for phone lines and voicemail systems, as well as Internet, and even schools that don’t use Internet still need advanced computer systems to track attendance, grades and other administrative details.

“You can no longer manage a school with paper and pencil, it just doesn’t work,” he emphasized.
Asked why fervently Orthodox schools average dramatically larger E-rate expenditures per pupil than the New York City public schools, which also serve large numbers of low-income students, Bernstein speculated that the public schools “have different resources available to them,” such as funds through its buildings department, and may not need E-rate as much.

So Many Pagers?

Just what are fervently Orthodox schools doing with pagers, Smartphones and expensive Internet connections?

In a December interview with The Jewish Week, Rabbi Martin Schloss and Sara Seligson of the Jewish Education Project’s day schools and yeshivot department, said they were unaware of fervently Orthodox schools, with the possible exception of those affiliated with Chabad, providing their students with access to the Internet.

JEP stopped dealing with the E-rate program several years ago, in larger part because of its reputation for problems related to fraud, Seligson and Schloss said. 

Schloss, the department’s director of government relations and general studies, said: “[E-rate] had a lot of problems in past, and the last thing we need to do is get stuck in the middle of that. That would destroy our own credibility and ability to work with schools. We in general try to steer clear of questionable practices or practices that could lead us all into trouble.”

Seligson noted that computers and software are provided by the government for use in Title 1, programs for low-income children, and that the Gruss Foundation also provides Orthodox schools with some equipment and software, such as a program called SuccessMaker that drills basic academic skills.

Asked if they thought such schools would be willing to budget any of their own money for technology, something E-rate requires of even its poorest schools, Seligson and Schloss said no.

“The population you’re talking about is hurting” financially, Schloss said. “So they’d have a tough time justifying that kind of money.”

While the ardent opposition to the Internet is gradually weakening in “yeshivish and Bais Yakov” communities and schools, Schloss observed, it is still strong in chasidic ones, with the exception of Chabad.

Asked if she is aware of non-Chabad chasidic schools providing Internet access to students, or using it for Skype or other video-conferencing, Seligson said, “No. Definitely not.”

As for chasidic boys schools giving students access to computers, other than ones provided through Title 1 specifically for Title 1 programs, Seligson said, “I would be shocked to find out that anyone actually does.”

The two Jewish schools with by far the largest E-rate allocations in 2011 — collectively approved for $2.8 million — are both non-Chabad chasidic.

Told about large numbers of fervently Orthodox schools benefiting from E-rate services they do not make available to their students, Naftuli Moster, founder of Yaffed, an advocacy group that seeks to improve the secular education in ultra-Orthodox schools, said, “This problem is only the tip of the iceberg. … In my quest to make sense of which yeshivas provide what level of education, I ask people [who went through the haredi yeshiva system] if they’ve received computer lessons in yeshiva,” said Moster, himself a graduate of a fervently Orthodox school. “Typically we stare at each other for two seconds and then laugh really hard.” 

Julie Wiener is associate editor of The Jewish Week; Hella Winston is special correspondent. This article was made possible by The Jewish Week Investigative Journalism Fund. Investigate@jewishweek.org. julie.inthemix@gmail.com, @Julie_Wiener

 

Last Update:

04/06/2013 - 12:27

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It's not complicated. They are a bunch of crooks.

It sounds as if this Bernstein LLC is comparable to the full time staff in MD's offices who specialize in using the proper coding to get the health insurers to pay the maximum possible. But they , in general, don't lie. There are nuances.
The charidim want nothing to do with the govt, with the secular courts, but have no trouble playing around with numbers to get funds not morally and ethically (and probably not legally) due them. I encourage this kind of reporting.
Kids learn from their parents, they know what's going on. And the abuses, of all sorts, continue, monetary and otherwise. And davening three times a day, and saying Al Chet a thousand times, does not justify corruption.

30 Million? That's not just stealing from the government. That is stealing from the little boys.

I'm so glad this issue is finally getting some attention. Next, it is important to expose the lack of general education in those very Yeshivas.

Boys ages 13 & up spend 14 hours a day in Yeshiva, but they don't learn a single word of English or any non-Judaic subjects.

Public school students, on the other hand, learn English, math, science, history, geography, music, art, physical education, health education, and more. Oh, and the law requires even non-public schools to teach that, but Yeshivas simply choose to deprive their students from a decent education.

*I actually talked to the woman at the New York State Department of Education who monitors religious schools in the state, after Chaim Levin's education blog appeared on Huffington Post last year. The Department, under prior court decisions, cannot mandate the curriculum at any school that is affiliated with a church, synagogue or mosque. That is what happens when freedom of religion is taken to its illogical extremes. Not every Yeshiva goes to the extreme that Chaim's did (and probably still does), but it is up to the parents to make an informed decision. It is a case of buyer beware. Chaim was short changed as are thousands of young Jewish boys every year in the NYC metro area. Many will end up in minimum wage jobs and depend on government assistance for their families to make ends meet (Section 8 housing grants, Medicaid, food stamps and in some cases cash assistance).

the real facts:
-Public School is 100% funded by government,
And parents pay 0 tuition. 0 transportation. 0 food. 0 "Keren Habinyen".
-I pay $9,000 for a child per year in a Hareidy School.
+ all above mentioned things that the government pays for the secular.
Summation: Hareidy community is so beautiful and does not fall on the government's pocket, they pay their own schools, they build their own school and Beis Medrush buildings, while the secular get free public centers, and get free public schools!

Plus the country does not have to pay so much for our protraction we have our own patrols who help the police, we have our own Hatzalah so we don't use government funded EMS, we have very little % drugs and NO murder cases whatsoever.

So tough luck to you writer. you have to look for a different community to bash :-)

I have children in public schools and DO PAY for it its called "TAXES" something this community of yours does not pay too much into. Just call yourself a Rabbi and have your house a house of worship. This is how you folks get away with that scam.!!! Stop welching off the rest of us Americans! Pay your fair share and stop hiding behind your religion. I do not care what you believe in just pay your fair share like the rest of us. As far as murder what about that poor guy whom your community tried to burn top death because he wouldnt go to a certain Temple to pray.!! Incredible!!

Hi in which dreamland do you live.? Did you hear about a makom called The Place which deals with orthodox boys and girls using drugs, AA for orthodox teenagers? Unfortunately, i saw those people . So really little % drugs problem?
Schools get money for lunch program, computers, yellow buses . My kid is in a orthodox chareidi school, and they get this money because i filled up the papers to give them informations in order to receive funds. And i still pay $ 8000.00,.
So really, they don't get any fund?

It is so like you to dismiss public school as not being funded by parents and the community. We pay real estate taxes and we pay rent which pays real estate taxes so we indeed pay for education, and transportation. You choose to be insular because you want to sustain your culture and as noble as that is it is your choice. I don't dismiss you for your need to sustain your culture but I resent you for trying to make me fight for mine. We also have rights In this community and we need to fight for those rights when others take advantage

You're so stupid. These same people are robbing PUBLIC SCHOOLS literally 2 towns over from me right now through their corrupt manipulation of power through overtaking the School Board and outright electing the local Mayor over and over again. None of the other people enjoy this mayor, he gets lows % EVERYWHERE else in this town, but we are outnumbered and being ousted out of every position while having our childrens needs ignored in place of one of these schools who you say is privately funded but the two local elementarys who closed and now overcrowded understaffed ones with almost no budget and program cuts say they cant get funding because a board of your people wont allocate it over. So please, shut the hell up.

While I believe this type of revelation did not have to be made in a public forum (it could have been done privately at least at first) but your argument that you pay for tuition and public school families don't is ridiculous. The U.S. is a country based on separation of church and state and you know it. You could make use of the public school system just like anyone else. Incidentally, private schools are entitled to certain benefits provided to public schools so it's not an all or nothing deal. Stop kvetching. You can call for investigations of nonJewish and public schools for abuses and you will be justified in that; however, it's your choice to send your children to private schools. By the way, that's just I did plus I have a child with disabilities which has cost me a proverbial arm and a leg.

wow such a great work! bomb!! you caught bin ladin in only 3 weeks of work..!!
I wish one can do the same audit on the NON-Jewish schools...!
BTW it sounds like you just learnd the word "fervently" and you can't stop to use it lol.. :-)

Who will volunteer to audit the Secular school system?
So maybe the Jewish week who only means the Government's interest should launch a audit on the Secular schools. So?, ready?!

{interesting part is that in a nearby article i saw you have a problem with the Gemarah that states "קול באשה ערוה" so i figure that your problem with Jewish people is not their stealing money and etc. you just hate Yidishkeit as whole}

And BTW the biggest thieve of the century is the NON-Frum NON-Hasidic Yeshiva University member Berney Madoff. too bad...

This article is PURE slander!

In "Jewish" law there are ways to rebuke someone! Writing an article is not one of them!

The person who wrote this article and the the so called "Jewish" week who published it are the Dosons and Aviroms from our generation. Actually I shouldn't put them in the same category because they are worse. Doson & Avirom felt somewhat threatened by Moshe, what have the Yeshivas done to this person. What a shame!

The "abuse that goes on in the public school funding makes eRate abuse look like child play, yet no one will investigate that. How about the cost per child in the Yeshivas or even private schools Vs. the cost per child in public school, which is in the tune of $24,000 per year in NY. Thats beside the many other grants including and security that they get.

The headline and article shows pure ignorance of the eRate program. The internal connections to the classroom does not have to be connected to the internet, it can be used for internal networking, connecting a computer or laptop to the internal server.
The article is intends to play on peoples emotion, "waseted tax $" and use the Internet ban for children to poke fun at them.

the eRate taxes come from the FCC, which is a small tax and is not coming going away any time soon! it either goes to schools or to rural areas which dont have internet access. Unlike the Public Schools where the tax $ abuse is high and affects your tax $ big time.

All the people encouraging this are no less than Korach and his followers and You know what happened to them. Moshe Rabbeinu said after Doson & Avirom went to tell on him to Pharoh, "Now I understand why they are in Golus"!

I cant wait to get out of this golus! this golus stinks to the high heavans, the Sinas chinom is disgusting, I dont see articles writing nice things about Yeshivas or other Jews, only negative garbage. and it doesnt stop there, they dig up little things and blow them out of proportion, and if thats not enough, make up the story or parts of it.

Disgusting, nothing "Jewish" about this website!!!

Unfortunately Simple Jew's mind is too simple! Put your books away pal. This is 2013, not 2000 B.C. You guys are crooks just like anyone else in today's society. Don't think you can hide between the pages of some old scripture. Please, don't be a moron.

You just proved 'Simple Jew"'s point, You and the people behind this article are NOT Jewish, in fact they hate Judaism! What a shame!

Freddie,
The books this guy is hiding behind actually tell him and his pals that they have no right to behave this way. What a disgrace!

I cannot figure out if this is an anti-haredi or pro-haredi article.

There is a grant which schools are eligible for and as long as what they do falls under the guidelines of the program who cares how much they get?

The problem is not that the schools are religious or even Jewish but that the money was not used to put computers and related equipment in the classrooms. That is the whole point of the program. It was not meant to pay for rabbis teaching torah or other religious instruction. If you read anything about the Citi Field Haredi gathering last summer, you know that they are not high on the Internet to begin with.

Congregation Machne Shalva, and Talmud Bnei Zion Bobov, are not real Bobov organizations, They are a group that broke off from the Bobov congregation, and in the coming days there will be an official ruling by beth din that they must stop calling themselves "Bobov" but have to add the number 45 to their name, and will be called "Bobov 45". As a matter of fact, the real Bobov did not sign on to the anti Internet gathering, but this group (Unger's-Bobov 45) did.

Ah...Julie wiener at it again...for once I'd like to see her report on a positive occurrence in the chassidic community

There are no positive occurrences..... you're all a bunch of thieves!

So far, looks like shocking chilul hashem.
Waiting to see where this goes

How more hypercritical can this be???
On SHABAS none,(Sat, 02/16/2013 - 12:45) and you're worried about CHILUL HASHAM?
Is there a bigger CHILUL HASHAM than a Jew bogging on Shabas????

The arrogance of the haredi community is always justified in their insular and schlerotic minds because everyting they do is in service to God. Does God know about these people?
Is He not ashamed and embarrased? They are a disgrace to Judaism. Hopefully these school "owners" will be investigated and sent to jail. Amen

Please stop funding them.

This is such important reporting that goes to the heart of what a democracy must expose. thank you. You will be accused about exposing scandal in our midst, but self criticism is the only way to more ethical behavior.

Keep on investigating and reporting such outrageous abuses of taxpayer/corporate money/programs.

Very good article. Do you think the US Attorney's Office will follow up on your reporting? It certainly appears to me that fraud has been committed by the Haredi schools and that the money was not spent on the programs for which it was intended.

They know now. I just told them.

if course the program is running our of money. people are abusing it

Fantastic. Can't wait for part 2 and 3!

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