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Awoke this morning (Monday) to read about the latest in Chris Christie’s pandering to the Lakewood ultra-Orthodox community:
When the final list was released last week, one of the biggest – and perhaps most surprising – winners was Beth Medrash Govoha, a 70-year-old, all-male, orthodox Jewish rabbinical school in Lakewood. It was awarded $10.6 million in taxpayer funds for a new library and academic center, among the highest designated for a private institution.
This comes on the heels of the same Lakewood community showing up in droves to support the Governor’s ‘school choice’ agenda of siphoning public money to private schools. He received their endorsement back in March:
At Yeshiva Toras Aron, a religious school for boys, Christie said his proposal for private school vouchers would ensure it is “the education of the parents’ choice, regardless of their economic situation, that governs how their children are educated.”
The fact is, I am embarrassed to be an observant Jew living in New Jersey today.
My children attend a private Jewish school, and I pay full tuition. Of course, I’m also still paying local property taxes that support our great public schools. As we all should. We have many families who cannot afford tuition, so we spend a good deal of time trying to raise money for scholarships — from alumni, from members of the greater community, from private foundations — and each year is a unique challenge. But that was the choice that I made, because I wanted my children to learn something that has no place in a public school!
But there’s this tendency in the ultra-Orthodox world to try and manipulate the system to subsidize their choices; in Lakewood it has gotten ridiculous. They now hold the majority of the seats on the school board — and none of their kids go to the public schools! But they are able to exert control on things like courtesy busing because their population continues to multiply — exponentially — as young men move to the area to study at this world-renowned Yeshiva, start families, and then never leave town.