Brooklyn, NY – A Sunday debate featuring the candidates for the 44th District City Council seat soon to be vacated by Councilman David Greenfield may have included considerable amounts of sniping between the political hopefuls, but all three presented a unanimous front when discussing YAFFED’s attempts to allow government to dictate yeshiva curriculums.
The nearly two hour long debate took place in Bais Yaakov of Boro Park and was sponsored by Hamodia, giving an audience of hundreds an opportunity to hear Yoni Hikind, Heshy Tischler and Kalman Yeger face off on various issues.
Asked by Agudath Israel of America’s media coordinator Yosef Rapaport whether government should have any input in the secular studies curriculums of yeshivos, Hikind replied with just one word: no.
Hikind followed up Rapaport’s request for further comment by saying simply that if he was looking for a yes or no answer to his question “the answer is … an outstanding emphatic no.”
The question was posed next to Tischler who brought the subject around to YAFFED, saying that he was the first of the three candidates to open up a dialogue with the group’s founder on his Just Enough Heshy radio program.
“We’re not scared of YAFFED,” said Tischler. “He’s scared of us.”
Tischler acknowledged that while there are always improvements to be made in any school system, his own boys were academically prepared to pursue college degrees after graduating attended local yeshivos.
“My children came out fine,” said Tischler. “Most of our children come out fine. We don’t have people stabbing and shooting each other in our schools. We teach our children right.”
Yeager referred to himself as the product of a Chasidishe yeshiva and said that his own son attends a heimishe yeshiva. Like Tischler, he took the opportunity to denounce those who look to undermine the yeshiva system.
“Our choices for education are made by our parents,” said Yeager. “I don’t want any outside group, I’m not going to give them airtime by mentioning their name, but they are on an attack against our yeshivas. Make no mistake about it. They’re not just an organization that’s … trying to do betterment for our community. They are on attack against our community.”
Yeager was emphatic as he spoke about possible attempts to have outsiders dictating policy to those who develop yeshiva curriculums.
“We have to be vigilant,” said Yeager. “They cannot set foot in our yeshivos, period. We pay the tuition, we make the determination what our yeshivos are going to do and we are proud of the education we give our children.”