Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Thank you for your extensive coverage in the September 15 edition of The Jewish Link, of the New York Board of Education choosing to regulate the yeshiva system. As your editorial (“Why the New York Times Hit Piece and Subsequent Regents Decision Matters to All Jews”) states, this decision matters to all Jews, even those who may have personal concerns about the Chasidic education model.

The reason that this matters is not merely concern about anti-Semitism as indicated by the New York Times article. Perhaps even more importantly, it is the nature of bureaucratic encroachment to lead to further encroachment, and standards that may today be limited to concerns about math and English may in the future cover matters that are more clearly against the Torah. This concern about further encroachment was one of the main reasons that Agudath Israel of America fought so vehemently against such regulation.

In this, the situation is somewhat reminiscent of another issue covered briefly in the same edition of your paper. I speak of the article “Supreme Court Rejects Yeshiva University’s Attempt to Block LGBTQ+ Group.” As I have written before, and as has also been noted by Rabbi Ari Berman, the primary issue at hand here is not the YU Pride Alliance per se. That club is a complex matter regarding which multiple valid opinions may exist; furthermore, the opt-in nature of a club limits its capacity for serious harm. The more fundamental issue is that of non-Jewish control; those who do not share our faith can not be trusted with control over related matters.

As such, I believe it is appropriate for Agudath Israel and Yeshiva University to join together in another type of alliance, one focused on preventing (or at least contesting) control of these matters by those who lack the context (and often the respect) to handle them properly. I urge everyone to show their support for this move. In order to provide a means to do so, and in order to provide more details as to how I envision such an alliance taking form, I have created an online petition that can be seen at tinyurl.com/n74uz7fr.

May this be the beginning of the end for all inappropriate non-Jewish control and influence over our institutions.

Yitzhak Kornbluth
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