‘[O]ne Yiddish-language letter … was sent home to families through yeshivas and promised that children who brought in at least two signed petitions against the [educational equivalency] regulations would be entered into a lottery “to win a beautiful prize.”’

Well, they’re on the warpath. No Pasarán!! they cry; the enemy shall not pass through our sacred gates! So-called Jews who make a PEEP about our way of life (we’re looking at you, Jonathan Tobin) are traitors and will be dealt with as such (remember Jacob Kornbluh!)

A haredi prof at a Brooklyn law school really gets it said:

When asked whether he was concerned about the lack of secular education in many Hasidic schools, [Aaron] Twerski replied, “We make the trade-offs, not the state.”

Haredim to New York:



Nu, so what next?

Nothing. Some violent all-male demonstrations in NYC and upstate. They’ll never be pushed to the wall, so if they were smart they’d shut their traps and do nothing. But who ever said they were smart? They’ve been yeshiva-retarded. They will scream and smash and let out their sexual frustration all over town, and then, on the absurdly slim chance they are, in ten years or so, called to account, they will settle down to cheating on the standardized exam.

You thought Varsity Blues was something. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Vey: So the bigshot NY regents even as we speak are voting – probably unanimously – to do something about ultraorthodox yeshivas that achieve schoolwide ZERO percent scores on basic literacy tests. It’s like … New Yorkers think there’s something wrong with subsidizing schools whose job is to RETARD their students.

OTOH we know nothing will happen as a result of the regents finally saying officially that zillions of schools in NYC and upstate NY – with zillions of students, their numbers growing insanely quickly, and most of them run by schoolboards rife with retarders – must be subject to serious investigation/review, and schools who keep retarding will be shut down/lose accreditation/lose subsidies… We shall do such things!

Look at Israel, babe. Look at England. England’s been failing forever to do something about schools that treat female students like slaves and teach islamofascism. Israel’s situation is hilarious. A corrupt ex-prime minister, desperate to stay out of jail, has just offered the following deal to the retarders in his country: Be part of my coalition and I promise never to interfere in any way with your child-retardation process. Full, fulsome government funding will be maintained for all of your efforts. Puts Andrew Yang to shame.


Because everyone knows nothing will happen, and because almost no one – from their parents to NY State officials – cares about what goes on in Jewish retardation locations, talk is cheap. Suddenly you’ve got the ex-editor of Commentary, of all people, sweating rhetorical bullets over the dire social implications if America’s big, visible, Jewish community — which is soon to be demographically dominated by the retarders — starts looking like a bunch of skid row bums. Not a good look. Nothing to do to avert it, but lemme get myself on the record saying it’s not a good look.

Jonathan Tobin begins with paragraph after paragraph of boilerplate:

Evil secular rags like the NYT hate Jews and we are right to regard anything they write with extreme skepticism.

NY public schools are shitty too.

‘[P]oliticians and news outlets unfairly scapegoated the ultra-Orthodox for spreading COVID-19.’ Hey Tobin short memory: Google Orthodox Spreader Events, lad. (‘[M]ost [haredim] continue to live in constant poverty and go to the doctor without being able to understand their own diagnosis. The price they pay, as we have seen during COVID-19, as well as the recent polio upsurge and anti-vax sentiments … is high and will remain so unless major changes come.’)

After many we’re the victims! paragraphs, Tobin finally, gingerly, timorously, delicately, reticently, dips a toe in.

You don’t have to share the contempt for religious Jews that may be widespread in the Times newsroom to be alarmed by the fact that test scores in these subjects at ultra-Orthodox schools for boys (girls, who are expected to get jobs rather than merely study sacred texts, get slightly more instruction and do marginally better) appear to be the lowest in the state.

I like that “may.” It may be widespread. Ya think? I don’t think. I think a long-term reading of the NYT reveals just the opposite – an effort to write about religious Jews

(And hey Tobin doesn’t really mean religious Jews, does he? Reform Judaism, in which I was raised, is religious, but of course ultraorthodox Jews think Reform Judaism is an utterly profane obscene joke. In Israel, ultras spit at/shout GOYISH WHORE at eight year old Orthodox girls whose skirts are shorter than they should, ultra-istically, be. I think Tobin needs to specify what he has in mind by the phrase religious Jews. Me, I think a baseline definition of a religious Jew is a person who takes the ethical as well as spiritual tradition of Judaism seriously, which would, religiously, put the endemically corrupt ultraorthodox movement somewhere quite far below the Reform and Conservative movements.)

with the same neutrality/objectivity the paper’s journalists write about everything else. But what the hell is objectivity if you’re a yeshiva-educated ultra? The schools have surgically removed, as a cancer, anything that comes out of the empirical, enlightenment, traditions. This is what makes ultras such perfect Trumpians – it’s all conspiracies, rage, our side’s righteous lies, our side’s unique possession of the transcendent truth. (Bonus point here: One of the many reasons nothing’s going to happen to the ultra-orthodox retardation locations is that politicians are literally frightened of this group, whose … parlous… emotional/intellectual state combined with unquestioning mass obedience/action means … riots. Politicians don’t like riots, and believe me there will be riots if anything seriously disruptive is done to ultra life. Remember the mass attack on Jacob Kornbluh. That’s just the beginning. America’s ultras are way behind Israel’s, who riot pretty much continually; but mess with them and they’ll be torching cars.)

And then a little more delicacy cuz we don’t want to hurt any feelings here: APPEAR TO BE the lowest in the state. Another conspiracy? Have the Jew-haters in the NY State testing bureaucracy fucked with the results? Good to be skeptical about things like this.

Tobin sympathetically explains the ultra POV:

They believe that the issue here isn’t so much poor education as the refusal of the secular state … to accept the desire of the ultra-Orthodox community to opt out of society. 

Two points here:

  1. If you want to opt out of society, you don’t get to take society’s hard-earned tax dollars. You’ve opted out of that.
  2. You might want to opt out of society, but society can’t opt out of you. You live among us, you vote in our elections (why?), and – wait for it – we have laws. We have laws against beating kids up and defrauding the welfare system and assaulting children sexually. I know you do everything you can to hush up your bad behavior, but society features people – police, journalists, social workers – who act as society’s conscience and try to make sure that children aren’t being abused, our taxpayers aren’t being ripped off, etc. etc. The big glossy NYT article last Sunday draws many more eyes to your – anti-society? – than were ever on it before. Time to duck. “This is something dark. This is the willful perpetuation of social pathology at the hands of Jewish leaders.” “As Hilly Rubin, a resident of the heavily Chassidic neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., told The New York Times: ‘They could have education and still have the religion. But they don’t, and the people are suffering so much.'”

Here, Tobin. Feast your eyes.

Tobin eventually says the right, obvious, sane things about ultraorthodox yeshivas, but it’s so hedged about with paranoia and knee-jerk anti-leftism (As many commenters on the NYT article note, it’s nuts to make this a left/right thing. Ultras don’t know shit about politics OUT THERE, in That Distant Evil Society. They go where the ultra-friendliest winds blow.) that it’s worthless.


UD in front of the Israeli Embassy,

Washington DC, 2013. Photo: Jewish

Daily Forward.

‘“This is a community in which tens of thousands of people have very little knowledge of science,” said [Naftuli] Moster, who was educated in a yeshiva. “I didn’t learn what a cell or a molecule was — the idea that there was something smaller than what your eye can see — until I was 21 years old and in college.”’

With remarkable persistence, New York’s ultraorthodox have kept their children fatally ignorant.

Ultra Orthodox Yeshivas to City: Drop Dead

The New York Times brings to mind that famous headline, as its editorial board finally addresses, with anger, the refusal of many of New York’s ultraorthodox to educate or to vaccinate their children.

As New York City has finally begun to exercise oversight over ultra-Orthodox yeshivas that have graduated students without a basic education, some of those Jewish schools have defied city health department scrutiny and helped to feed a measles outbreak. Forty children have contracted measles in recent months, all of the cases linked to a single Brooklyn yeshiva that ignored an order from city health officials to prevent children who hadn’t been vaccinated from attending classes.

And yet a community with staggering rates of law-breaking, indifference to public welfare, and plain old pathology continues to lobby aggressively – and basically successfully – for less and less oversight by the government. Remember Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell and others: You can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend. Here getting yourself called Rabbi allows the most extraordinary offenses against health, education, and welfare.

For decades, the communities have largely been allowed to evade government oversight, thanks to politicians who have enjoyed their support as one of the state’s most powerful voting blocs. The price of that support has been largely paid by Orthodox children.

‘Across the state, there are dozens of Hasidic yeshivas, with tens of thousands of students — nearly 60,000 in New York City alone — whose education is being atrociously neglected. These schools receive hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding, through federal programs like Title I and Head Start and state programs like Academic Intervention Services and universal pre-K. For New York City’s yeshivas, $120 million comes from the state-funded, city-run Child Care and Development Block Grant subsidy program: nearly a quarter of the allocation to the entire city. According to New York State law, nonpublic schools are required to offer a curriculum that is “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools. But when it comes to Hasidic yeshivas, this law has gone unenforced for decades. The result is a community crippled by poverty and a systemic reliance on government funding for virtually all aspects of life.’

Maybe it was in part in response to these appalling facts (not to mention systemic welfare fraud in some of these communities), appearing prominently in the New York Times, that the State Board of Education just announced serious new secular education requirements, along with serious penalties (loss of funding; possible closing of schools inspectors find noncompliant) for ignoring them.  It’s one thing for us to watch Israel, a Jewish state, suffer demographic catastrophe because of its enormous, ignorant, and overwhelmingly state-dependent ultra orthodox population; it’s another for our proudly secular nation to underwrite such destructive collective behavior.    (Speaking of which.)

Although the relevant rabbis haven’t quite called Andrew Cuomo Hitler yet, they’re getting there.  And though the whole spectacle is on some level laughable, keep in mind that in Israel the ultra orthodox are quite capable of violence, and we can expect something of the same here as our country attempts to deal with a very angry reactionary force within it.

When the first three things that come to mind when people think “Yeshiva University” are junk bond status, Bernard Madoff, and …

Ezra Merkin, no one can be surprised that the school is in a ratings free fall. This blog has spent years detailing the damage that this school, with its conflict-of-interest-riddled trustees (a group that boasts such stellar characters as Ira Rennert and Zygi Wilf), and its greedy, morally clueless president, did to itself over the last ten years. You don’t get to brutalize a university the way this pack of rascals did (and some of the rascals are still there, rascaling around) without paying a very high price.

Another of Yeshiva University’s Finest.

What’s a philosophy BA from Yeshiva, who is also the son of the university’s chancellor, up to lately?

He’s using malicious charges of anti-Semitism to further his criminal conspiracy.

[Shalom] Lamm cast himself and his project as victims of anti-Semitism even as he was in the process of conspiring to corrupt village elections. “If you’re a conspiracy theorist and you think the Jews control things and are pulling puppet strings, then this all looks like this grand conspiracy,” Lamm told the Forward in February of 2014. “It’s basic anti-Semitism. You would have to be a believer in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to think that we could actually manipulate the world this way. It’s a complete absurdity.”

That very month, Lamm was working to get around opponents in the village government by enrolling ineligible voters to vote in village elections, according to the indictment filed against him in December. He and others created fake back-dated leases to make it seem as though the new voters lived in the village, and even put toothbrushes in their purported homes to make them seem occupied.

Next move: Anti-Semites in the court system forced him to plead guilty.

The namesake of Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus models sustainability.

Yeshiva University benefactor Zygi Wilf is at it again.

An East Hampton property owner has been flagged for a penalty for injuring or removing trees on public property.

… A code enforcement officer responded [to a complaint] and directed the contractor “to cease all work on the village easement until he gets further direction and/or approval” from the village.

Yeshiva University’s Most High-Profile Benefactor…

… Ira Rennert, once again reminds students at the Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute how it’s done.

Loot, loot, loot; and then when you’re caught, appeal, appeal, appeal.

Go to it, kids!

UD’s heart goes out to this Yeshiva University student who has discovered that unlike virtually all other American universities, his university operates under strict Omertà.

The guy writes an opinion piece in the school’s newspaper wondering about this – in particular, he wonders about Yeshiva’s … curious …board of trustees, recent haunt of Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin… Current haunt of the notorious Wilfs… And all-’round, COI-infested, $500 million-losing risk-taker…

You really think these big-money boys wanna talk to a pipsqueak like you? Bugsy Siegel maybe they’d talk to. Only he’s dead. You they won’t talk to.


Update: The Forward takes note.

Yeshiva University should offer a Master’s degree in Getting Your Name Dragged Through the Mud.

The American university that put Bernard Madoff on its board of trustees and made him (wait for it) treasurer has never – in the life of this blog, anyway – been out of the gutter news. Sex scandals, money scandals, an entire campus named after a convicted fraudster, a Moody’s rating so low as to be beyond belief…

I could go on. All of which means that this blog has never been able to lose sight of Yeshiva.

YU’s constant corruption is doubly interesting in the context of its pious self-image. It joins company with Baylor University and Liberty University as a national epicenter of religious hypocrisy.

Actually, YU is triply interesting — because of the pathos (it shares this with the other two schools I just mentioned) of there being many good and thoughtful and authentically spiritual people on campus. You can go to the campus newspaper and read their Job-like endless plaints.


Okay, so one of the school’s longest-serving leaders resigned in 2013, and here’s the most positive appraisal I can find of him.

Now the guy’s son, once a member of the university’s Board of Directors, has been arrested for voting fraud and bribery. Yeshiva once again gets prominent ugly mentions in the national press.

The Curious Case of Yeshiva University…

… gets curiouser and curiouser. One of America’s most amoral and at the same time most morally self-righteous institutions now turns to the task of replacing as president a man who raked in millions in compensation while presiding over its financial ruination at the hands of corrupt trustees and other powerful campus figures, starting with Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin. Prominent Yeshiva buildings and programs bear the names of figures like Ira Rennert and Zygi Wilf. Several of the, er, friends of Merkin and Madoff remain in prominent positions on Yeshiva’s notoriously conflict-of-interest-ridden board.

Financially, the school is struggling like few other universities of its size and age in the country. Moody’s continues to rank its bonds as junk and recently determined that the school has a negative outlook. In the past five years, the school has been warned twice (in 2012 and again in 2014) by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education about the possible loss of its accreditation.


Eight years into the university’s financial crisis, Y.U.’s financial problems give no sign of abating. Two years ago, the school lost $83 million. Last year it lost another $84 million. And six months ago Moody’s reported that it expects the school’s financial condition to continue to deteriorate.

Yeshiva leaders represent so much greed and mismanagement that according to Moody’s the school may have to fold. If it folds, this will be due not merely to gross irresponsibility, but – just as importantly – to the ick factor. The gulf between Yeshiva’s self-presentation as a pious institution and the squalid reality of its financial dealings and some of its backers has grown so wide, the school has so profoundly and insistently disgraced itself, that you just have to laugh. It has become a hopeless joke. A tragic joke if you happen to care about the survival of modern orthodoxy in America.

Given this background, UD understands why Yeshiva is thinking of appointing as president a managerially clueless but possibly actually religiously serious person.

Assuming it is trying to survive, Yeshiva is faced with two sort of impossible choices: It can appoint as president a powerful, brilliant, and maybe even honest money manager who might be able wrestle the corrupt board of trustees down and get the school on a roughly legitimate financial footing.

It seems to have chosen not to do this, which means the board continues on its merry institution-destroying way.

Yeshiva University has gone the other way – it has decided to work on its moral reputation. And, I mean, okay – it certainly needs to do this. But it will end up with a nice Queen Elizabeth on the throne and the same bad boys behind the throne.

There are no indications that [Ari] Berman has the experience or even the drive to radically alter how the school functions in order to move it out of the crisis it now finds itself in. While it might be nice in theory to have a president with a PhD in Jewish thought at the helm, the selection of an MBA might have actually guaranteed that the school would be able to matriculate future Jewish thinkers and leaders.

To make matters even nicer, the seemingly endemic corruption and parochialism of Yeshiva’s culture continues unabated with Berman.

Soon, the trustees now guiding the university, including Berman’s uncle, the influential communal leader Julius Berman, will vote on the nominating committee’s selection.

Julius Berman is Exhibit A for what UD is talking about in this post. Notoriously, Berman presided over a holocaust victim restitution fund that for sixteen years was massively embezzled.

[Isi] Leibler singled out Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman and Executive Vice-President Greg Schneider for particular criticism in a recent Jerusalem Post opinion article. Leibler, a former World Jewish Congress official who lives in Israel, wrote that instead of launching an independent review following the fraud, the two men orchestrated a “Stalinist” board resolution that absolved the Claims Conference of all blame.

“Such contemptuous rejection of all managerial accountability in the wake of such a massive fraud would be inconceivable in any public company or government body where resignations or dismissals would have been mandatory,” Leibler argued.

See what I mean? You just have to laugh. Yeshiva University is irredeemable.

He could totally be describing the board of trustees at hideously mismanaged and scandalous Yeshiva University.

If the model of “the buck stops here” applies to this situation, then the buck stops not at the president’s office but at the board level. Yet I have not heard one board member state in effect, “I offer my resignation,” in order that Baylor might move forward from this with integrity and transparency. Instead, they tarnish the reputations and accomplishments of others and point the finger of blame in other directions while the truth lies buried beneath hidden agendas, cliques and power struggles. And they then cloak their language in theological piety, while their very actions suggest otherwise.

As it happens, he’s describing the board at Baylor.

In both cases, not only does no one resign. Everyone plays the theological piety bit to the absolute hilt. Only card they’ve got.

Ira Rennert, arguably the most honored man at Yeshiva University…

… and the man after whom the school’s Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute is named, once again shows YU students how to conduct themselves in business.

[T]he government said that Renco had lied when asked about the transaction to keep the pension insurer from finding out about the ownership change until too late. Once a controlled group has been broken, the pension agency loses its ability to go after the parent company’s assets.

And four months later, when R.G. Steel declared bankruptcy, the federal government had to take over the pension obligations and cover a $70 million loss. It sued Renco for fraud, arguing that the deal with Cerberus was a sham, intended primarily to break the link between R.G. Steel and Renco’s wealth.

Details on pensioners and their retirement income here.


Sure, every once in awhile, just like Yeshiva trustee Zigi Wilf, you attract the attention of the courts. Big deal. Price of doing business.


Now, REI grads, go out there and make some deals!

“[M]any lower-ranked institutions are paying millions to their president each year. Yeshiva University (164) president Richard Joel earned $2.5 million.”

A president who drives your university into junk status and gives Bernard Madoff an honorary degree doesn’t come cheap.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE