Pedestrians walk past the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov School in the South Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. (Photo/Forward-Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov School in the South Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. (Photo/Forward-Getty Images)

How the Jewish establishment helps fund Hasidic yeshivas

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New York’s Jewish federation funds an initiative that helps Jewish schools in the region access millions of dollars in public funding, regardless of whether the schools teach secular subjects or meet state standards.

Most of this money comes in the form of government grants for professional development, educational materials and subsidized meals according to an affiliate of UJA-Federation of New York that works with the schools. Those schools include Hasidic yeshivas in Brooklyn that were the subject of a scathing investigation by The New York Times last weekend.

The Times reported that such schools have secured more than $1 billion in government funding over the last four years. All but 1% of the boys in some of those schools who took state standardized tests failed them, according to the article.

The Jewish Education Project, which receives more than $4 million of its annual $14 million budget from UJA-Federation, helps more than 400 schools access state and federal funding. The organization seeks to notify all Jewish schools in New York City of public grant opportunities and approximately 37% of those institutions are Hasidic, according to a 2020 study.

David Bryfman, the group’s leader, said the Jewish Education Project was focused on ensuring that yeshivas were able “to access government funds which are due to them.”

Arno Rosenfeld
Arno Rosenfeld

Arno Rosenfeld is a reporter at the Forward. He is a former J. intern and has worked as a correspondent for JTA and The Times of Israel.

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