Monroe, NY – Secular Studies Provision Has Satmar Dissidents School Rejecting Government Bond

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    Monroe, NY – An $8 million bond awarded to a Kiryas Joel area school last summer has been paid back in full after horrified parents discovered that the funds had been awarded exclusively for secular purposes.

    According to the Times Herald Record, the loan was issued in July 2017 to Congregation Bnai Yoel, which serves families who have long been at odds with Kiryas Joel’s main community, choosing instead to pray at their own synagogues and to send their children to separate schools.

    On its application to the Orange County Funding Corp for the tax free loan filed in March 2017, Bnai Yoel said that the school served 2,000 children and that the funds would be used to buy two buildings that were currently being rented.

    The loan was also intended to be used to “lower debt service and lower annual operating costs” in addition to financing twenty new unspecified jobs.

    Immediately after its issuance, discussion swirled questioning the legitimacy of the bond, which could not be used for religious activities.

    Addressing those concerns, the funding agency’s chief operating officer and executive vice president announced that lawyers had determined that the bond was to be used only by parts of the schools “that relate to secular education and other secular school-related activities.”

    That statement prompted parents in the school to take out an advertisement in the Times Herald Record publicly rejecting both the bond and the idea that there was any part of the school that could be considered secular.

    Following that outcry, Bnai Yoel cancelled the bond, taking out a second loan last December from the Bank of Princeton to repay the amount in full, forfeiting the original loan’s tax exempt status in the process.

    An unidentified Bnai Yoel parent who spoke to the media days ago on condition of anonymity said that the secular requirement of the loan would have prompted many to remove their children from the school.

    “It’s a terrible violation against the Torah,” said the father. “It’s like you break the bond between you and G-d.”

    The new loan is expected to cost the school an additional $1 million in costs over its lifetime.

    Tensions have existed between Congregation Bnai Yoel and the Village of Kiryas Joel since the formation of the Kiryas Joel School District to educate special needs children nearly 30 years ago, with members of the Bnai Yoel group opposed to the use of government money to fund the district.

    As previously reported on VIN News, a lengthy legal battle ensued more than a decade ago when a Bnai Yoel family sued the Kiryas Joel School District, demanding that the district pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in services to educate their severely impaired son at Bnai Yoel, instead of the Kiryas Joel school system.

    The case, which was heard by the New York State Department of Education, was resolved in 2008 with a decision to deny the family’s request because it was not in the best educational interests of the child.

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    16 COMMENTS

      • You obviously didn’t read the article. The bnai Yoel faction has a problem taking money from the government as this may interfere with their choice of education. In this case, saying their school is secular is a problem for them. Section 8, food stamps, medicaid has nothing to do with the way we run our lives. There is no reason why a bnai Yoel member can’t accept these programs.

    1. They pretend it’s a mitzvah to hate the country but all love to take advantage of the free handouts. Especially since most don’t have civil marriage they are essentially lying to the state to get free welfare. But it’s ok because oppressive Torah!

    2. Theyre far from uneducated. They know that such kind of monetary help is crucial, they rather rejected it being that its highly questionable. They shld b commended for it as we didnt hear people lately refusing money that wld definitely help them. At least someone still stands for something.

    3. Whether you agree to their beliefs or not, at least admire them for standing up for their convictions & morals.
      Maybe we can have the chareidi politicians in Israel, who are the process of selling out he chareidi tzibur, learn something from them.
      Stand up for your belief!! Even if it costs you money.
      But nah, don’t hold your breath, the Bnei Yoel refused a mere $ 8 milion, vs. The chareidi politicians with their affiliated yeshivois receive $350,000,000, no chance thaey are going to forfeit this amound of bribery

    4. So the $8m was theoretically to be used for “secular education”? Based on the information in the article, what is so bad about learning math & English? Playing niggunim (music) Learning about nature (biology)? Hilchus Kashrus (home ec)? There are ways to conform with the demands of the award and still follow the derech. Of course, using educational funds to purchase a building is not going to work.

      Keep your kids cocooned & then wonder why they go OTD. Or you can expose them to experiences that are strictly regulated & applied to a Chassidishe life.

      The one thing I agree on is giving back the grant. But they will probably never get any other government funding.

      • Hold it you stupid fool! its not cuz of secular education. They learn secular studies.. Its a whole diffrent concern.. The first thing you and all your no goodniks are here for is to jump to conclusion and demonize whoever you can. THEY DIDNT ACCEPT THE MONEY FOR A LONG LENGTHY STORY. NOT BECAUSE OF LEARNING MATH AND GRAMMAR. Take a hike back to your sacred community and leave these people alone.. Your an ignoramus and know nothing about this inyan thats almost 30 years old.. NOTHING WITH MATH AND GRAMMAR!

        • Why don’t you explain to us, in simple words without rancor. what the real reason was. Shed the light of reason and dispel the darkness of ignorance.

    5. It’s just a simple fact, not giving your kids an education will keep them away from going OTD, all those who go OTD r’l went to schools that provided a full secular education. Another fact hasidic man earn way more than modern orthodox Jews and reliance on government is almost non existent by hasidic families.

      If you fabricate facts do it all the way!

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