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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Good investigative reporting! This is my first time reading your newspaper( ironically on smart phone). I just read an article in Nyt 3/19/2013 detailing other fraudulent practices in Brooklyn. I have been following with interest the debacle in East Ramapo schools. All fraud affects all of us! It's not about religious beliefs/race/ethnicity or any other "tag".

Mr. Peter Y states the following:I suspect the the true motive is to vilify a segment of the Jewish population that other readers of this newspaper view with disdain. Based on many of the comments made here, I fear that my suspicions may be correct. Clearly he lives on another planet or suffers from the naivete syndrome. If all that bothers Mr Y is that Charedi segment is being singled out that is a problem in itself. The truth be told, these and many other segments of our tribe are nothing more than parasites on a deep-pocketed gravy train. All of these programs should be stopped immediately. Why do we working stiffs have to fund those who refuse to work. I go through New Square quite often and have observed the phoniness up close and in person. The same goes for the phonies in Monroe and Boro Park. Its time that these gonovim get thrown in jail.

Bsd
Fascinating that your investigation involving Jewish schools and fraud completely overlooked the multi-million (or billion) dollar scam where the government collects our tuition monies but refuses to give it to us for our schooling.

The accusations made by the writers as to whether Haredi schools, or for that matter, any schools, illegally use Government funds should be left up to Government investigators and law enforcement agencies. If the motive of the writers was to correct a wrong, then they should have taken their findings to the appropriate agency and turned them over to them. I suspect the the true motive is to vilify a segment of the Jewish population that other readers of this newspaper view with disdain. Based on many of the comments made here, I fear that my suspicions may be correct.

You are right. They should be writing about topics that affect more people, such as, percentages of pedophiles in the chassidic/charidi/even modern orthodox communities. They should be talking about cover-ups by heads of major religious institutions who instead of reporting pedophiles, played hot potato with them, and allowed them to transfer to other institutions--let them abuse their kids, just not ours, knowingly letting their religious "teachers" take jobs at other educational institutions without any negative references. Excuses? worried about he name of the family, about ability of pedophile to provide parnassah for his family, and get shiduchim for his children. Shoyn. How considerate. They should be talking about babies acquiring Herpes due to a primitive dangerous circumcision ritual and the reasons that their parents would rather have a possibly infected mohel put his mouth on their kids newly cut organ. Why any parent would allow that is inexplicable to me, Did Hashem whisper that to Moshe on Har Sinai? Of course, the upside of the M.B.P. practice, is that it diminishes the potential pool of pedophiles. yeah. Take your pick if you are offended by articles on E-RATE theft.

If news reporters don't bring these issues to the public's attention, how are government investigators even to know that there is a problem? Most government auditors don't go looking for extra work to do. But just to be sure that the government is aware of this problem, I talked to a liason at my Congressman's local office today and she promised to follow up with the folks in Washington. At a time when the Federal government's budget problems are very severe, it cannot afford to tolerate such blatant fraud in a program meant to help children, especially those in poor neighborhoods. Of course, the result of my complaint may be that nothing happens and the Yidden are allowed to go on scamming the government with impunity.

Anyone who thinks that the current administration has the money or manpower to investigate these abuses is deluded.
I am impressed by the professionalism of the E-Rate Consulting, LLC, cited in this article, which I think is excellent. That refers to the article. Extremely impressive from the website of the cited LLC was the statement "more importantly, he has guided schools through the E-Rate process, so that their applications undergo minimal scrutiny". end of quote. i need this guy to do my income taxes. This is not Czarist Russia. Pogroms are not daily events. Many of the mentioned sects, all of which view the internet as an instrument of SATAN (except Chabad, the Rebbe approved of the internet), still believe that stealing from the government, the oppressive government, is totally justified. I think that this primal fear has become part of their inherited collective racial unconscious. Actually, totally conscious. Stealing from the government is a mitzvah, if it helps their community. The Lubavitch completely accept the internet, and many if not most Chabadniks, utilize it. That doesn't mean that they are beyond manipulating the system, with the help of E-Rate Consulting or anyone else, but they are far less fraudulent than the others, in that they actually do use technology.
Reading these comments, I am appalled and frightened, when I read comments which are overt threats directed to the reporters. Anyone reading these comments should be frightened. It seems that the censoring mechanism has a bug.

Wow, reading these comments of the people defending the actions of this school leaves me gobsmacked. If anyone were truly religious they would certainly want to be held to a higher level. The people with the whole attitude that public schools do it so Jewish haredi schools should to is truly the work of the devil. Righteous people are hold up to the highest levels! Those making excuses do not please G-d, they are truly doing evil. They are as Jewish as Al-Queda.

Those who attack the authors of the article and the critics of the haredi scam artists are no different
from those in the haredi community who defend the haredi child molesters and who vilify their victims who have the temerity to complain. There is a deep sickness that runs through the haredim wherever they happen to be and the NY state politicians and members of Congress who allow them to get away with stealing from the public because of their bundled political contributions and votes need to be called on the carpet.

Lets say you are right, but in the end of the game is goverment paying much more for public schools then the jewish schools.

The government is FUNDING public schools. Where do you think this funding comes from? It comes from taxes. It's not like Obama and Congress are funding public schools on their personal dime. That funding also goes in part to local private schools (i.e. transportation). Do not compare public schools getting funded money (TAXES!) from the government to these schools taking money for services they do not use and then selling those goods to make extra money and put it who knows where. It is not the same thing and if you think it is then maybe the education you received was not adequate. And if they were using these services legitimately, why did every person involved in those school systems fail to comment? Because they have nothing to comment on that is legal.

You need to read more closely. " E-rate has spent approximately $1,300 for each public school student, compared to almost $3,000 for each UTA student". So the federal government is spending nearly THREE TIMES AS MUCH on the yeshivah students when compared to public school students. That's MY TAX dollars that I pay every year going for internet service for schools that don't even allow their students to use the internet. If true, this is stealing, plain and simple, which the last I looked the commandment says " Thou shalt not steal" not It's OK to steal from the government but not from others.

What kind of religious institution lies and steals from the community? Where is there any religion in that?

The Jewish ? week ,are you Jewish ? you are a big stinker ! jewish ???? NO , you haven't a jewish heart !

The Jewish week do have a Jewish heart it is the "ultra orthodox" who do not have a heart and are conniving thieves. The "ultra orthodox are a disgrace to all that is Jewish and should be ashamed to call them selves religious. I have absolutely no doubt that they stole the money and sold the equipment and lined their pockets...not for the benefit of the children but for the personal benefit of the management of the "schools?" They should be investigated and if found guilty...duh...they should rot in jail. I just love the religious who davin and go to shul and then are just so dishonest in their lives. I recall before times square was cleaned up seeing "black hats" coming out of the porn shops and massage parlors all the time....I guess a couple of prayers and some davenning can forgive "do not covet thy neighbors wife". The biggest bunch of hypocrites on the planet.

Good for you Ms. Wiener! It's about time someone exposes the garbage that goes on in the Hasidic community! I'm so tired of them justifying their actions by claiming that everyone is anti-Semitic! They are destroying several public schools by lying and stealing-something must be done!

If you are embarrassed by this reporting we are even. I find the behavior of this Hassidic population embarrassing to me and all the other Righteous Jews, like me, are embarrassed, too. We follow the Jewish religion, as righteous Jews and are associated with you and your attitudes. You may appear religious on the outside but you are far from righteous on the inside. You live in such an insular world that you don't read the newspapers or listen to the radio or television news and find out about the fraud, drugs, murders and sexual abuse that exists in your own community. You are ignorant of the world outside of your own and totally unaware of how my outside world supports your schools and your life style with my tax dollar. You study Ethics in your books and live a totally unethical life. Man's relationship with man is of utmost importance in my Jewish religion and all of these comments reflect your views that you want and need a self serving life in total indifference to and in disregard of others.

am a telecom consultant. ask where the erate peripherals (wireless, pager etc) are. i have looked into this myself. i suspect the erate materials are being sold to third party for $$ which are redirected to school funding. look there.

we did the walk thrus for some of these facilities.

Wonderful research , reporting and writing. I expect to see this in the NYT's in a day or two. I hope they will give credit where credit is due. Parts 2 and 3 -- bring them on! Robert Chernikoff

What are you trying to prove with you ridiculous article that you hate your own Jewish brethren because they receive money for internet usage? Is this the best you can do? You should be ashamed of yourselves why don't you go after some legitimate fraud instead of your agenda to devalue the Orthodox Jews. Maybe you use your time for better things like learning some Torah instead of trying to destroy a beautiful holy way of life (that you are clueless about) the Moral,Torah observant, full of chessed, Charity giving Jews who have more moral fiber in there pinky than you have in your entire being.

You are way out of your league. Watch out if you know whats good for you.

Money receieved under false pretenses is theft. The authors seem to believe in the 10 commandments, including "lo tignof." How can you accuse the authors of being hostile to Jews. The people who do these frauds are the ones who hurt Jews.

Also, where do you come off using menacing language like, "Watch out if you know whats good for you?" Really!

What kind of religious person are you that defends criminal behavior? It is as if you think it is acceptable to steal as long as it is not from a fellow jew. you need to take a real good look at yourself.

Is that a threat? I know how you work-you ban together and destroy
anything that does NOT benefit YOU! You call yourselves "the chosen ones!" Pathetic-
The "chosen ones" would not steal, molest children, treat women with disrespect, or lie and steal!
They also would not look down on others, regardless of their beliefs! The only reason you have power is because of the block voting.....you people are out of control
and need to stop draining public schools and the community!

What's wrong feeling a little exposed? I'ts about time someone exposed these thiefs, because that's exactly what they are. It's people like this who give honorable Jews a bad name. As for you... really threatening some for exposing the truth who should be ashamed here you are just as despicable!

A righteous devout G-d fearing Jew making a threat? Sure sounds like a threat. They can and will get your ISP. I am referring to your "watch out if you know whats good for you." . I do believe you have seriously broken the secular law. you will find out. Online threats are taken very seriously.

For some reason unbeknown to me thje Jewish Week delights in running articles showing the frum ciommunity in a bad light. This information doesn't have to be aired publicly iof at all.

How and why would you think that the misuse of public funds and the information pertaining to that doesn't have to be published?

WHY?

Interesting, the attendance at CitiField just jumped by some 20,000
http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial_opinion/opinion/anti_internet_rally_broken_truths
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/breaking_news/haredim_pack_citi_field_rabbis_decry_impure_internet

I got this information from the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-hold-rally-on-internet-at-citi-field.html): More than 40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews were expected to attend — a sellout in a season where the average attendance at a Mets game has been barely half that. The organizers had to rent Arthur Ashe Stadium nearby, which has 20,000 seats, to accommodate all the interested ticket buyers. The 60,000 number appears in several other press reports as well, including http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/60-000-ultra-orthodox-jews-fill-citi-field-arthur-ashe-stadium-denounce-evils-internet-article-1.1081746

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