A group representing many yeshivos in Brooklyn pushed back Thursday against a derogatory report, asserting that claims they don’t prepare their graduates for a successful life are false.
Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools, known as PEARLS, also stressed in their statement that proposed recommendations announced by Yaffed “would undermine the mission of our yeshivas.”
“Parents choose yeshivas because they want their children to receive a religious education that is central to their cultural identity, and that teaches young men and women to become thriving, respected members of the community,” wrote PEARLS, which was formed last year to advocate for yeshivos and protect the rights of parents to choose their children’s chinuch.
“Each year, thousands of our students graduate with the skills necessary to function as successful members of the workforce. Our graduates include entrepreneurs, business executives, computer programmers, teachers, medical professionals and founders of major non-profit organizations. They were taught to thrive in the working world while maintaining a deep commitment to their families, traditions, religion and community.”
Yaffed, a group run by a handful of former yeshivah students, has stated several times that their goal was to refashion yeshivos into schools with secular studies in the morning and a few hours of religious instruction in the afternoon.
In addition, Yaffed’s Twitter account frequently veers from their stated mission and tags law enforcement agencies to alert them to alleged malfeasance in the Orthodox community.
The group has introduced a set of recommendations, including gradually increasing the time for secular studies every day and adding secular studies to Fridays or Sundays. Any yeshivah that does not implement the group’s goals by August of 2019 should lose all public funding, they demanded.
The report contains defamatory allegations, such as the claim that yeshivos receive “exorbitant sums of public funding,” and uses stereotypical exaggeration to slander the entire community as supporting themselves with government assistance programs.
It also includes the incredulous claim that public schools are “dramatically better” than yeshivos. Yeshivos have an attendance rate of close to 100 percent, according to PEARLS, while the average rate of New York City public schools on Thursday was less than 85 percent. Yeshivos have zero instances of school violence and crime.
“The recommendations from Yaffed,” PEARLS contends, “would undermine the mission of our yeshivas which is to provide an intensive Jewish and secular education that equips students with the critical thinking skills needed to thrive in their communities, grounded by a deep understanding of their Jewish identity and culture.”