Study Shows Uneven Growth of Yeshivah Talmidim in NY State

NEW YORK -

A study released Sunday shows a dramatic rise in the number of yeshivah students in Orange and Rockland counties, while neighborhoods in Brooklyn show negligible growth.

The study, compiled by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council based on statistics made available by the New York State Education Department, reveals the state’s entire yeshivah population to be nearly 150,000 in the current school year.

The 149,562 talmidim marks an increase of over 2,000 students from a year earlier. The students were spread over 428 institutions throughout 16 counties from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The largest percentage increase in talmidim took place in Orange County, home to Kiryas Joel — the soon-to-be Town of Palm Tree — with an increase of 4.58 percent. They rose from 11,661 students last year to 12,191 this year, an increase of 530 students.

The second largest surge took place in Rockland County, where the Torah centers of Monsey, New Square and Spring Valley are. They currently have 25,971 — the second-largest yeshivah population in the state — with an increase of 1,132 students, or 4.56 percent.

Brooklyn, with its large Orthodox populations in Boro Park, Williamsburg and Flatbush, remains the largest yeshivah center, with 82,534 students. But they only added 53 students from the year before, an increase of .006 percent.

The study showed that Queens has 11,299 students, up 3 percent; Manhattan has 4,464 students, up .16 percent; and Nassau County has 7,501 students, down 4 percent.

The yeshivah population has grown by nearly 20,000 over the past decade. They’ve also grown considerably as a percentage of the overall private school population. While a decade ago enrollment in Jewish schools represented 25 percent of all nonpublic school enrollment in New York, last year it was 37 percent.

An analysis of this study shows two things, one related to housing and another to education funding.

The vivid growth of upstate counties — not to mention Lakewood in New Jersey — at the expense of Brooklyn depicts a borough where housing costs are so prohibitive that young people are fleeing to the suburbs.

And despite the growth of the yeshivah population, state government is not coming through with tuition aid.

Each of the 149,562 students enrolled in yeshivos receive, on average, less than $1,500 in public funding a year, compared to more than $25,000 invested in every public-school student. The gap of more than $23,500 per student saved taxpayers at least $2.76 billion in education funding last school year.