May 20, 2024
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May 20, 2024
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Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

It was most gratifying to attend the launching of TEACH NJS, at Congregation Rinat Yisroel in Teaneck, organized by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, to activate the Jewish community on behalf of New Jersey legislation in support of nonpublic schools. It was very encouraging to see hundreds of concerned individuals come together to commit to this vital cause. We owe a great debt of gratitude to all involved in organizing this most worthy project.

This comes at a most opportune time for New Jersey, when all 80 Assembly seats are up for election. We have a five-month window of opportunity to prevail on our elected officials to restore the constitutional mandate to secure “the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” New Jersey is the first to have a universal school choice bill—the NJ Parental Rights and Property Tax Reduction Act (S1606/A1785). This would empower all NJ parents to send their children to quality schools for about one-third the cost of defective public schools.

Unlike all other bills to help nonpublic schools, which together provide less than five percent of the cost of tuition, this bill provides enough to cover the full tuition at some low-cost religious schools. Additionally, this bill does not add a single dollar to New Jersey’s state budget; it even reduces property taxes. The bill diverts the State education funds, from a consistently failing system, to provide every K–12 student in the state with an Educational Savings Account (ESA) to serve as a debit card to pay for educational services, public and nonpublic. The bill is also designed to annually increase the value of the ESA, based on half the savings accrued from children leaving high-cost public schools for low-cost nonpublic schools. The remaining savings is allocated to reduce property taxes.

Undoubtedly, the Jewish community is most suited to lead the way. In addition to being called upon to be “a light unto the nations,” we are as one great family that comes together at least twice daily to daven and wish each other well. By just devoting several minutes per day to this critical issue, we will surely be worthy of Hashem’s boundless blessings that will result from restoring liberty and equity to educational funding.

Having worked on the above bill with several groups of concerned citizens in Morris County, all that is required is the very same that everyone does in business every day. Reach out to your representatives (800-792-8630) and explain how they can begin fixing our broken schools by passing this bill without delay. With improved and equitable funding of education, society will begin healing from its long decline, including crime, corruption and a sluggish economy.

As with any business transaction, your presentation and persistence are key to success. Unlike ordinary business deals, this also requires that your legislators are clearly informed that your appeal is not only for you and your community, but will be of enormous benefit to all society. This is best accomplished by visiting your legislators together with a cross section of the community, especially those whose children suffer daily in defective public schools.

Israel Teitelbaum
Morristown, NJ

To the Editor

Our sympathies must go out to Margot Fisher, who in her letter last week, attempts to expose the hypocrisy of a Facebook page, established initially to fight the Teaneck Board of Ed’s attempt to eliminate busing to nonpublic schools (primarily Jewish day schools) from which she was excluded and who complains about her plight to a Jewish newspaper. So who is this valiant defender of truth and justice? Fisher is a former member of the Teaneck Board of Ed and a dedicated apparatchnik of the Pruitt political machine. She is directly responsible for the huge tax increases and untenable employee contracts which has jeopardized the very existence of the present school system, all in the name of maintaining the Pruitt machine’s hegemony of the Board of Ed. She has always spoken against the Jewish community, and in a personal communication with me, has stated “that the Jewish community is directing a conspiracy to destroy the public school system.” Sometimes there is justice, as she was summarily dismissed from a previous election list by Pruitt, in order not to split the vote and allow the election of another of his minions.

It wasn’t her name that directed my attention to her letter, but the delicate bouquet of the rank hypocrisy and chutzpah, worthy of any barnyard, that emanated from the page. To receive the Link, she should be the only subscriber charged for her copy of the publication, in order to ensure that she is forced to support at least one Jewish cause during her lifetime.

Earl Sandor

To the Editor:

The wheels of justice grind slowly. However, as the recent conviction of Rabbi Freundel shows, the wheels of the RCA grind even slower. In October this year, the RCA announced a committee to review its conversion process guidelines. The committee was to recommend its findings by January 31 and they were to be publicly disclosed thereafter. Now, five months later, still nothing.

This week brought new allegations against another senior rabbi in our community. Without commenting on the substance of the accusations, what is even more troubling was the entirely predictable response of the RCA, sweeping the allegations under the rug yet again.

A friend of mine this week asked me whether the RCA was different from the Teacher’s Union. The Union, almost reflexively, will defend its members regardless of their conduct in the classroom. The RCA seems so singularly focused on Kvod Harav (respect for the Rabbi) that it does not even seem to consider Kvod Hatzibur (respect for the community) or, for that matter, basic public safety.

Ideally, the RCA would be a professional guild like the Bar Association or the American Medical Association. Although not perfect, both institutions maintain their credibility and the credibility of their professionals by having standing disciplinary bodies (that include non-members) with well defined procedures. They balance the concerns of these professionals and the public they service.

The RCA is at a critical point. It has to decide whether it is a union or a professional guild. Ad-hoc self discipline has been a clear failure and in the process, has brought shame upon our community and thousands of dedicated, hard working rabbis. It is clear who is looking out for the rabbis. It is unclear who is looking out for the community. That is a recipe for failure.

Dror Futter
Teaneck, NJ

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