Rockland Rejects Anti-Yeshivah Bill at Contentious Hearing


In a victory for yeshivos, a Rockland legislative committee narrowly rejected on Tuesday night a resolution calling on the state to aggressively enforce its secular studies mandate.
The panel hearing, chaired by legislator Phil Soskin, was filled with drama and tense moments. Apparently knowing that there would be controversy, lawmakers had a sheriff at the meeting to keep the peace.
Soskin kept the hearing moving, not allowing a certain anti-yeshivah crusader to hijack the proceedings. He at one point had him forcibly removed from the podium by the sheriff when he refused to leave after going over his allotted time.
Legislator Aron Weider grabbed a copy of a report prepared by the former and tossed it into the wastebasket.
“A one-person organization called Yaffed released a report that I have here in my hand,” said Weider, a Spring Valley Democrat. “It is filled with inaccuracies, lies and innuendos. I know because I have attended one of the schools mentioned in the report. Mr. Chair, there is nothing left for me to do but to put this report in its proper place. In the garbage.”
The seven-member Multi Services committee was down to five, with one retired and another absent. The resolution, which was sponsored by legislator Laurie Santulli, was backed by three lawmakers while two opposed it. The bill required a majority of four to pass.
“A parent has the right to raise their child the way they want,” declared Soskin as he voted against the bill.
“This resolution has nothing to do with education,” Weider declared. “The evidence is right before your eyes. Look around you — who showed up this evening to support this resolution? It is the same people who have attacked the eruv, the same people who call the Hasidic community a cult, and it is the same people who tolerate labeling the Hasidic community as cancerous. These people cannot have the wellbeing of my beautiful little children at heart.”
Two yeshivah students, Elchonon Feiner and Ari Yeger, addressed the hearing, praising the education they receive.