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Advocate for yeshivas claims New York discriminates against Jewish students by prohibiting Hebrew instruction

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Advocate Accuses New York Officials of Discriminating Against Jewish Students

A prominent advocate for yeshivas has accused New York education officials of discrimination by restricting Hebrew instruction for Jewish students. Brooklyn Law School professor Aaron Twerski criticized state approval of 200 dual language schools, allowing public school students to learn a second language while denying similar opportunities to yeshiva students. Twerski called the policy blatantly unconstitutional and argued its discriminatory nature, especially given comments made by a top state Education Department official. The argument came after advocates filed a lawsuit over new rules requiring private schools to provide a substantially equivalent curriculum to public schools. Advocates have protested that the new policy prevents students in yeshivas from receiving some instruction in Hebrew, while similar programs are permitted in public schools. The controversy arises from a longstanding debate over the adequacy of secular instruction in yeshivas. The New York State Board of Regents approved new rules in September 2022 to ensure Hasidic Jewish schools are teaching basic subjects, but advocates claim the state went too far. Meanwhile, state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa defended the policy in a lengthy affidavit filed in Albany Supreme Court. However, the state DOE had no immediate comment, and the controversy remains unresolved.

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