Streams

Following Up: Hasidic Leader on Rockland School Controversy

Seeking Common Ground: School and Ethnic Tensions in Rockland County

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Last week, Brian spoke to the author of a New York Magazine article about tensions in the Ramapo school district. Rockland County legislator Aron Wieder, (District 13) and former President of the East Ramapo School Board, responds to criticisms that members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Rockland County are using their seats on the East Ramapo school board to make decisions that are in their best interest, although they do not send their children to public schools.


Listen: Benjamin Wallace-Wells on the Brian Lehrer Show

Guests:

Aron Wieder

Comments [94]

lets make this simple from Rockland County, NY

I have a problem with anyone who does not pay taxes, anyone who is able bodied and can work and does not, anyone who brings children into this world that they know they cannot support financially or emotionally, anyone who breaks building codes and rigs "repairs" and illegally makes single family homes into multi-family homes or yeshivas or schools or cult gathering places or drug dens and put children, rescue workers and their neighbors at risk. I have a problem with anyone who does not want to make this world and this country a better place. I have a problem with those who do not value public education. I have a problem with people who make a community ugly by either letting homes rot to the ground, drive cars that are rotting, or let their children play on dangerous streets and allies. I have a problem with illegal drug use and drunks. I have a problem with anyone who does not realize we are all in this together. I don't care what color you are, so those of you who are pointing fingers at the next group some adult taught you to prejudge, shame on you. Shame on you who ruin good communities and shame on you who don't try to improve the slum you are in. If there's a will, there's a way. God will not make your home safer or protect your kid from getting run over by a car. Shame on you for relying on him for your idiotic behavior. God put us all here to make this world a better place, not pit us against one another.You made your slum, now you can live in it. You just watch as all the people who care about Rockland County leave because they are outnumbered by the slum lords and the cult followers. It's disgusting here now, and it's a shame. Shame on you who brought it to this pitiful level. You know who you are. You are to blame! Shame on you!!!!!!! Getting out as fast as I can because you have outnumbered the decent hardworking people, and your'e putting our children in danger.

Oct. 26 2013 03:51 PM
smilingidiot

cultists= extremists
extremists= fundamentalist sects
sects=cults
cults=deep sociological gaps with outsiders(or secular taxpayers in this case)
secular taxpayers = majority

democracy has always been exploited by cults when the majority aren't attentive. unfortunately, regaining lost ground to interloping special interests can get very ugly.

This situation...can get very very ugly. Especially if no one bends to make a solution that ALL can live with.

Jun. 20 2013 11:23 AM
Joel Needleman from haifa, israel

A lot of theses issues are covered in ISSUU Magazine here:

http://issuu.com/hasid/docs/hasidic_comix_rosenbaum_issue_with_isaac_issuu

May. 13 2013 04:45 PM
Miscellaneous from NYC

Independent_Noach and David Kanegis from 10977:

If the "post comment" button doesn't work after a few seconds, refresh the page.

David Kanegis from 10977: Belated Happy Birthday!

May. 12 2013 10:05 PM
Bill from New Rochelle

East Ramapo is not funding schools, not living up to their duty as citizens.

More importantly, the state formula discriminates against all school districts in Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk; in that it primarily uses taxpayer income, and property value to apportion funding; while the cost of living in these area is as much as 60% higher than COLA in many upstate NY districts.

The quick, and fair solution is to include a REGIONAL COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT into the NYS school funding formula across the board.

May. 09 2013 11:31 AM

Upon reflection, I somewhat regret my reply to the poster "Anamstandrea".

While I maintain that my criticism of her was valid, I feel that perhaps I should have been more sensitive to the anger that I can understand her feeling, and therefore not have taken as confrontational a tone as I did.

May. 05 2013 12:54 PM

@ David Kanegis from 10977:
I forgot to add that I appreciated your post.

@ Moshe (May. 02 2013 01:15 PM):
Thanks for responding. I could respond further but we are already on a tangent.

I would be interested in seeing your thesis but I realize you probably wish to remain anonymous.

You might be interested in the web site, truetorahjews.org , belonging to the organization "Natruna".

May. 03 2013 07:33 PM

With the preface that I am myself an Orthodox Jew (who, for the purposes of this discussion at least, could be considered "Hasidic"), I will now proceed to make an appeal to both my fellow Jews as well as all the others involved in or concerned about the situation in E. Ramapo as well as anywhere else a similar situation may exist.

I ask /everyone/ involved in this conflict, whichever "side" you are on, to try to sympathize with those on the other "side(s)"; try to imagine yourself in the place of all those who may be affected your actions; to at least see things from /their/ perspective.

I sympathize with my fellow observant Jews who find themselves faced with the double-burden of having to pay tutition for multiple children in private schools, plus, on top of that, having to pay hefty taxes to fund schools that they don't use. I would hope others could sympathize as well.

At the same time, I would ask my fellow observant Jews:
- to try to sympathize with the students, their families and all of the other residents and homeowners who feel aggrieved

-to consider that having strong, healthy public schools also benefits you/us, indirectly at least, in a number of ways

This is true even of sports and other recreatioanl and extra-curricular activities. (First, and obviously, youth, /while/ occupied with such activities are less likely to turn to any number of decidedly less wholesome pursuits, many of which could pose a threat to others, including you. Additionally, such activities serve as /outlets/ for the energy and angst of youth.)

- to ask themselves whether any of the truly great, righteous, sagacious Torah leaders who once led us would ever sanction anything like this; the takeover of a public school board by Hasidim or Orthodox Jews (who do not have children in the system)--even if no actual laws were broken, and regardless of how valid a grievance, as taxpayers, the Hasidim may have.

I cannot imagine it. If nothing else, it seems incredibly short-sighted; "penny-wise, pound-foolish" (if that isn't too much of a cliche`).

Surely, the situation we see in E. Ramapo is indicative of the tragic leadership crisis/vacuum that we in the Orthodox/Hasidic world have been suffering from for some time.*

*This is not to say that there aren't still decent, upstanding and righteous people in these communities. There surely are and I know more than a few. But they are not the ones in power. Some of the righteous and honest are largely naive and unaware and therefore easily exploited by those who are, at best, merely irresponsible and short-sighted, and, at worst, as I'm afraid is all too often the case, downright corrupt. And any power that those with integrity who are wise to what's going-on have is at best limited.

May. 03 2013 06:46 PM

**The following is a revised, corrected version of my previous post**.

@ Anamstandrea:

You asked "superf88" to provide an example (May. 01 2013 09:01 PM). Not even thirty-minutes later, superf88 had obliged your request, in a response (May. 01 2013 09:25 PM) that demonstrated thought, effort and time on his/her part.

How did you respond?

You neglected-- despite making no less than two posts since-- to so much as /acknowledge/ superf88's response.

And, even if /that/ could be excused...

You began one of said two posts of yours with the words, "One final note, amidst all the subjective banter...", thereby, at once:
a) dismissing, by clear implication, anything -- including "superf88"s perfectly civil reply to you--that doesn't support your own views and positions as nothing more than "subjective banter",
and,
b) signaling that you had no intention of ever affording superf88 the courtesy of even acknowledging-- much less responding-to-- his/her reply to you

I might have characterized such behavior as arrogant, condescending and even downright rude. But I realized that you aren't Hasidic and/or "Ultra-Orthodox"...

May. 03 2013 11:15 AM

@ Anamstandrea:

You asked "superf88" to give an example. He gave you the courtesy of responding to your request, composing a post that demonstrated thought, effort and time on his part.

And how do you respond?

You don't even so much as /acknowledge/ superf88's response. This, despite making no less than two posts since it appeared. And even if /that/ could be excused...You begin one of the aforementioned two posts of yours with the words,

"One final note, amidst all the subjective banter...",

thereby, at once:
a) dismissing, by clear implication, anything that doesn't support your own views and positions-- including "superf88"s perfectly civil reply to you-- as nothing more than "subjective banter",
and,
b) signaling to "superf88" that you have intention of ever affording him the courtesy of even acknowledging-- much less responding-to-- his reply to you

Such behavior might be described as condescending and arrogant. Well, if not for the fact that you clearly aren't Hasidic and/or "Ultra-Orthodox", that is...

May. 03 2013 10:48 AM

David Kanegis from 10977 wrote,
"Hello, I don't know why my post appeared five times. When one hits the post comment button it doesn't seem to acknowledge that the post has been accepted. This would help with the multiple duplicate comments."

I have also encountered quirky, buggy behavior when trying to post comments. At best, I simply have to scroll-up a little to see the acknowledgment that my post actually went through. There have been times that I have had to wait up to several full minutes or even longer before seeing my post appear (despite refreshing the page and even doing a hard-refresh: Ctrl+F5. Even after having completely cleared my cache and cookies.). At worst, there have been times when despite clicking the "Post Comment" button, the page would simply not respond and the text I had entered into the box would just stay there. When that has happened, I have had to reload the page in order to start with a "clean slate" and then re-submit my post.

(Thankfully, I /usually/ compose my posts in a text-editor or email draft and then copy and paste them. At the very least, I have made it a habit, just before I hit that "Post Comment" button, to first make sure that have selected (Ctrl+A) and copied (Ctrl+C) into the clipboard at least, all of the text I had entered in the "Comment" field. That way, in case something goes awry and my submitted post gets lost somewhere in the ether, I can salvage the post I had put time into via the paste (Ctrl+V) function.

Saving and keeping a copy of one's posts-- those of any length at least-- even after being sure that they appeared can prove useful -- if not invaluable-- in the event of editing or removal by WNYC. (Whether one intends to actually /appeal/ such actions or not.) Or in the event of unintentional data loss by the WNYC servers.

May. 03 2013 10:09 AM
David Kanegis from 10977

Hello, I don't know why my post appeared five times. When one hits the post comment button it doesn't seem to acknowledge that the post has been accepted. This would help with the multiple duplicate comments.

I suppose if you say someting enough times perhaps people will listen and respond... so maybe it's for the best that my comments (typos and all) appeared five times.

In the meantime I once again offer writing and coaching, and challenge other community members to offer their skills on a volunteer basis to help better prepare our students for successl

May. 02 2013 11:35 PM
David Kanegis from 10977


I'm a life long resident of East Ramapo and a former teacher in the district as well.

Everyone seems to be skirting around the issues. There's a tremendous back story to the East Ramapo situation.

No matter what "side" you are on or what your position is... the bottom line is that EAST RAMAPO STUDENTS ARE GETTING A RAW DEAL FROM MOST EVERYONE!

There are legitimate issues that need to be adjudicated but there are a whole host of educational issues that don't require money... simply educated and informed Board members and Administrators.

There are many great teachers in East Ramapo who under good leadership would jump at the chance to try new and innovative approaches that would benefit the students. But it doesn't happen without leadership at the top.

I'm not talking about the financial issues here. Simply best practices that are working in public schools around the country... that share a similar public school demographic.

I would have liked to hear some innovative, creative out of the box suggestions that will help East Ramapo students now.

The problems that are being addressed may ultimately be resolved, but it will be years. What happens to our students in the meantime.

If I could bear to sit through Board meetings I would run for the East Ramapo School Board. However, the few I have observed have been long, onerous and not given the community a fair hearing.

I belived the community needs to get together and take actions now that will benefit the students in the present.

I'm willing to bet that nothing will be different two years from now. The community must ban together and take education into their own hands. They should not neglect the public schools and the issues... these must be kept in the news.

However, community leaders are in a unique position to rally parents, retired teachers, industry mentors and a variety of others to aid our students in the present.

As a life and corporate coach, I look at how little is being accomplished despite all the talk.

Leaders... set goals for educating our children and them begin to realize them. Involve the students!

Is the East Ramapo Newletter written, designed and produced by the students? How many academic disciplines would be utilized if this were to happen? Cost to the district... less than it's already paying.

I challenge members of the community to band together and create a shadow school system to operate while we wait for the system to change.

I am happy to volunteer both my abilities as a copywriter of 20+ years to run a writing club. I'm also happy to run a coaching group as well. No cost to the district. I'm one individual. I'm hardly alone out here. Now who else will step up to the plate?

May. 02 2013 11:28 PM
David Kanegis from 10977


I'm a life long resident of East Ramapo and a former teacher in the district as well.

Everyone seems to be skirting around the issues. There's a tremendous back story to the East Ramapo situation.

No matter what "side" you are on or what your position is... the bottom line is that EAST RAMAPO STUDENTS ARE GETTING A RAW DEAL FROM MOST EVERYONE!

There are legitimate issues that need to be adjudicated but there are a whole host of educational issues that don't require money... simply educated and informed Board members and Administrators.

There are many great teachers in East Ramapo who under good leadership would jump at the chance to try new and innovative approaches that would benefit the students. But it doesn't happen without leadership at the top.

I'm not talking about the financial issues here. Simply best practices that are working in public schools around the country... that share a similar public school demographic.

I would have liked to hear some innovative, creative out of the box suggestions that will help East Ramapo students now.

The problems that are being addressed may ultimately be resolved, but it will be years. What happens to our students in the meantime.

If I could bear to sit through Board meetings I would run for the East Ramapo School Board. However, the few I have observed have been long, onerous and not given the community a fair hearing.

I belived the community needs to get together and take actions now that will benefit the students in the present.

I'm willing to bet that nothing will be different two years from now. The community must ban together and take education into their own hands. They should not neglect the public schools and the issues... these must be kept in the news.

However, community leaders are in a unique position to rally parents, retired teachers, industry mentors and a variety of others to aid our students in the present.

As a life and corporate coach, I look at how little is being accomplished despite all the talk.

Leaders... set goals for educating our children and them begin to realize them. Involve the students!

Is the East Ramapo Newletter written, designed and produced by the students? How many academic disciplines would be utilized if this were to happen? Cost to the district... less than it's already paying.

I challenge members of the community to band together and create a shadow school system to operate while we wait for the system to change.

I am happy to volunteer both my abilities as a copywriter of 20+ years to run a writing club. I'm also happy to run a coaching group as well. No cost to the district. I'm one individual. I'm hardly alone out here. Now who else will step up to the plate?

May. 02 2013 11:28 PM
David Kanegis from 10977


I'm a life long resident of East Ramapo and a former teacher in the district as well.

Everyone seems to be skirting around the issues. There's a tremendous back story to the East Ramapo situation.

No matter what "side" you are on or what your position is... the bottom line is that EAST RAMAPO STUDENTS ARE GETTING A RAW DEAL FROM MOST EVERYONE!

There are legitimate issues that need to be adjudicated but there are a whole host of educational issues that don't require money... simply educated and informed Board members and Administrators.

There are many great teachers in East Ramapo who under good leadership would jump at the chance to try new and innovative approaches that would benefit the students. But it doesn't happen without leadership at the top.

I'm not talking about the financial issues here. Simply best practices that are working in public schools around the country... that share a similar public school demographic.

I would have liked to hear some innovative, creative out of the box suggestions that will help East Ramapo students now.

The problems that are being addressed may ultimately be resolved, but it will be years. What happens to our students in the meantime.

If I could bear to sit through Board meetings I would run for the East Ramapo School Board. However, the few I have observed have been long, onerous and not given the community a fair hearing.

I belived the community needs to get together and take actions now that will benefit the students in the present.

I'm willing to bet that nothing will be different two years from now. The community must ban together and take education into their own hands. They should not neglect the public schools and the issues... these must be kept in the news.

However, community leaders are in a unique position to rally parents, retired teachers, industry mentors and a variety of others to aid our students in the present.

As a life and corporate coach, I look at how little is being accomplished despite all the talk.

Leaders... set goals for educating our children and them begin to realize them. Involve the students!

Is the East Ramapo Newletter written, designed and produced by the students? How many academic disciplines would be utilized if this were to happen? Cost to the district... less than it's already paying.

I challenge members of the community to band together and create a shadow school system to operate while we wait for the system to change.

I am happy to volunteer both my abilities as a copywriter of 20+ years to run a writing club. I'm also happy to run a coaching group as well. No cost to the district. I'm one individual. I'm hardly alone out here. Now who else will step up to the plate?

May. 02 2013 11:28 PM
David Kanegis from 10977


I'm a life long resident of East Ramapo and a former teacher in the district as well.

Everyone seems to be skirting around the issues. There's a tremendous back story to the East Ramapo situation.

No matter what "side" you are on or what your position is... the bottom line is that EAST RAMAPO STUDENTS ARE GETTING A RAW DEAL FROM MOST EVERYONE!

There are legitimate issues that need to be adjudicated but there are a whole host of educational issues that don't require money... simply educated and informed Board members and Administrators.

There are many great teachers in East Ramapo who under good leadership would jump at the chance to try new and innovative approaches that would benefit the students. But it doesn't happen without leadership at the top.

I'm not talking about the financial issues here. Simply best practices that are working in public schools around the country... that share a similar public school demographic.

Brian, I really enjoy your program, however in this case you as well as your guest today and the author of the New Yorker article did not do justice to the cause. Certainly there was no investigative journalism, which is perhaps not in your purview. However, at the very least, I would have liked to hear some innovative, creative out of the box suggestions that will help East Ramapo students now.

The problems that are being addressed may ultimately be resolved, but it will be years. What happens to our students in the meantime.

If I could bear to sit through Board meetings I would run for the East Ramapo School Board. However, the few I have observed have been long, onerous and not given the community a fair hearing.

I belived the community needs to get together and take actions now that will benefit the students in the present.

I'm willing to bet that nothing will be different two years from now. The community must ban together and take education into their own hands. They should not neglect the public schools and the issues... these must be kept in the news.

However, community leaders are in a unique position to rally parents, retired teachers, industry mentors and a variety of others to aid our students in the present.

As a life and corporate coach, I look at how little is being accomplished despite all the talk.

Leaders... set goals for educating our children and them begin to realize them. Involve the students!

Is the East Ramapo Newletter written, designed and produced by the students? How many academic disciplines would be utilized if this were to happen? Cost to the district... less than it's already paying.

I challenge members of the community to band together and create a shadow school system to operate while we wait for the system to change.

I am happy to volunteer both my abilities as a copywriter of 20+ years to run a writing club. I'm also happy to run a coaching group as well. No cost to the district. I'm one individual. I'm hardly alone out here. Now who else will step up to the plate?

May. 02 2013 11:27 PM
David Kanegis from 10977


I'm a life long resident of East Ramapo and a former teacher in the district as well.

Everyone seems to be skirting around the issues. There's a tremendous back story to the East Ramapo situation.

No matter what "side" you are on or what your position is... the bottom line is that EAST RAMAPO STUDENTS ARE GETTING A RAW DEAL FROM MOST EVERYONE!

There are legitimate issues that need to be adjudicated but there are a whole host of educational issues that don't require money... simply educated and informed Board members and Administrators.

There are many great teachers in East Ramapo who under good leadership would jump at the chance to try new and innovative approaches that would benefit the students. But it doesn't happen without leadership at the top.

I'm not talking about the financial issues here. Simply best practices that are working in public schools around the country... that share a similar public school demographic.

Brian, I really enjoy your program, however in this case you as well as your guest today and the author of the New Yorker article did not do justice to the cause. Certainly there was no investigative journalism, which is perhaps not in your purview. However, at the very least, I would have liked to hear some innovative, creative out of the box suggestions that will help East Ramapo students now.

The problems that are being addressed may ultimately be resolved, but it will be years. What happens to our students in the meantime.

If I could bear to sit through Board meetings I would run for the East Ramapo School Board. However, the few I have observed have been long, onerous and not given the community a fair hearing.

I belived the community needs to get together and take actions now that will benefit the students in the present.

I'm willing to bet that nothing will be different two years from now. The community must ban together and take education into their own hands. They should not neglect the public schools and the issues... these must be kept in the news.

However, community leaders are in a unique position to rally parents, retired teachers, industry mentors and a variety of others to aid our students in the present.

As a life and corporate coach, I look at how little is being accomplished despite all the talk.

Leaders... set goals for educating our children and them begin to realize them. Involve the students!

Is the East Ramapo Newletter written, designed and produced by the students? How many academic disciplines would be utilized if this were to happen? Cost to the district... less than it's already paying.

I challenge members of the community to band together and create a shadow school system to operate while we wait for the system to change.

I am happy to volunteer both my abilities as a copywriter of 20+ years to run a writing club. I'm also happy to run a coaching group as well. No cost to the district. I'm one individual. I'm hardly alone out here. Now who else will step up to the plate?

May. 02 2013 11:27 PM
J from West Nyack

I am a teacher and coach within the East Ramapo school district (public school). What is happening in this district is such a shame. This spring there were no Junior Varsity sports, modified sports and a lot of Varsity sports were cut. In the coming fall, it will either be the same or most likely worse. In the elementary schools they are close to cutting both art and music which will make a already difficult journey to college even harder for the children who are not excellent academically. The students are the ones who are being hurt by all of this nonsense. When looking for a solution the main thing they need to look at is "will the students have the best education and experience we can give them".

This goes for both the public and the private schools in the district.

May. 02 2013 10:56 PM

Tip of the iceberg to be sure. In person I have had the impression of the tail wagging the dog.

May. 02 2013 04:04 PM
notsurewtfisgoingonupthere

Apparently the tip of the iceberg, way more to this story ...

Meet the boss and champion of Wieder (the guest the BL Show invited to shed light) Haitian born Noramie Jasmin.

She was arrested in an FBI corruption sting, along with her dep. mayor...
http://www.lohud.com/article/20130403/NEWS03/304030114/Spring-Valley-NYC-corruption-timeline

And yes, apparently Wieder was arrested a couple of years ago while working for Jamsin! For blocking access to voting booths?!

Would have been appropriate to ask about both of these local newspaper report-based stories, which I found in 2 seconds on google.

May. 02 2013 01:24 PM
Moshe

To "Independent_Noach":
Thank you for your kind words.
Of course I am aware of the intense rabbinical opposition to Zionism. I wrote my Master's Thesis on that topic :-)

And, of course, it is possible to criticize the sometimes stupid policies of certain Israeli governments, like announcing new settlement construction in contested areas on the day the Vice President of the US arrives! Other Israeli policies may also be legitimately criticized.

I was referring to the VAST majority of bloggers, radio programs, journals, etc. that express extreme and disproportionate criticism of everything Israel does, esp. in response to incessant and intolerable terrorism. But when the Nigerian army, for example, massacred two hundred of its own citizens recently (in response to Islamist terrorism), you heard nary a word from those same folks. To me, that suggests that all their talk about "the Zionists" is code-language. And most of them haven't a clue about rabbinical opposition to Zionism...

May. 02 2013 01:15 PM
InvestinEastRamapoNow

Thank you, Brian Lehrer for this second discussion on focus on solutions. I live in East Ramapo and have two school-aged children- one in public school and one in private school. Our taxes in this neighborhood of 12 homes near Pearl River are $15-20,000 per year. We also pay $25,000 a year of our own funds in tuition, summer school and tutors. We pay this because (contrary to what's been stated here) the District told us they were not required by law to support the special needs of our children. So for us, it's not about the formulas. Noone in my neighborhood attends private school by choice. They go because the schools are failing. Last time I checked there was only 1 elementary school in which 50% or more of its students passed the third grade regents. When we moved here in 1991 my husband and I worked 1 job between us. We now work 7 between us to support our kids' education. And now we're being told the support structure for my only public school child is being eliminated in 2013. I don't mind paying taxes, as long as I can see my investment resulting in some good. I don't see it for me, or for others, because our District is not performance-based. I'd like to see all public meetings include a report on school performance and how our tax dollars are being prioritized against the problems. Instead I get a newsletter from the District that shows me programs in Yeshivas with pretty pictures. Show me charts showing my dollars going to the highest need areas and track improvements in those highest need areas. Show me what percentage of my tax dollars go to Yeshivas, Catholic Schools, Waldorf Schools, and public schools and tell me why based on educational standards. Compare graduation rates and college acceptances for me in public schools v. private schools. I'd like to see this before they start talking about different funding formulas for my tax dollars. If you can't, PLEASE redistrict me into Pearl River where I can see my tax dollars growing children who are ready for the future. In my view, the problem is not MORE money, but a lack of transparency,accountability,and consensus in how its being allocated.

May. 02 2013 11:47 AM

Hmm...I wonder who voted down my comment (May. 01 2013 05:34 PM) in which I simply advised Kat that she had apparently landed on the wrong page by mistake. How petty, petulant, vindictive and spiteful does one have to be do something like that?

May. 02 2013 10:43 AM
ayoldguy1 from Spring Valley, NY

To me, this sounded more like blaming Albany for E Ramapo's problems and more like a plug for State Senator Carlucci than answering tough questions...

May. 02 2013 10:26 AM

One final note, amidst all the subjective banter... Aron Weider was arrested in May 2009 for abstructing voting in East Ramapo....hmmm. How dare you utter the words of MLK or the constitution?

And for those who wonder who is suffering from all this.... A generation or so of unfortunate kids, whose parents sunk every dime and hope into a suburban neighborhood, with the hopes of their children escaping inner city poverty influence so they could have a leg up in our dollar driven society.... A chance to play sports, run around, learn to swim, go to school unafraid of danger, contribute to a society that cares about all people. And East Ramapo delivers it's own private hell of discrimination and corruption.
I want to run like a bat out of hell out of Rockland county.

May. 01 2013 11:08 PM
Cindy from NJ

To all the people complaining about Hasidim having high birth rates, and being on welfare, etc.: I wonder if you have the same complaints about Blacks and, especially, Latinos, other groups with disproportionately high birthrates and disproportionately high numbers of welfare recipients. And in the case of Latinos, very many, if not MOST, are not even here legally! And how many black and Latino children are born out of wedlock?

At least with the Hasidim, the kids they have are born into stable, 2-parent homes.

May. 01 2013 10:04 PM
Lisa Meyers

Aaron Wieder outright lied: Ira Oustacher was demoted from Superintendent to Principal. Contractually, he was to paid his salary for 5 years. Hence the double salaries. Two men paid the same for two jobs. The board tried to cheat him. He sued, he won (no big surprise), then he left the district. These are facts which can be researched in the JN. I also noticed how Wieder ignored the lawyer question: why are they paying a lawyer twice the salary plus travel expenses (how many districts use lawyers from OTHER districts)? Oh, and how many districts import 6-700 dollar an hour defense lawyers from Washington DC at the expense of the public school students? That isn't finding "common ground", that is being outright felonious.

May. 01 2013 09:58 PM

Yet another shameful interview that got to the bottom of absolutely nothing. Quite honestly, Brian and Benjamin (nymag) you should be ashamed of yourselves. Not one of you had the testicular fortitude to do your job. As journalists both of you have failed.

May. 01 2013 09:38 PM

So many. From my perspective, any city or town whose long-time population has been overwhelmed in recent years by a socially- or religiously- "demanding" majority -- be it Evangelical Christian, Orthodox Jewish (in 3 cases I have heard of, this town being one of them) or Muslim.

And especially in the last couple of decades, especially the millions of immigrants from Spanish Speaking countries. I see no difference in the issues. The majority works the system. The issues run from free lunch to school vouchers etc.

*not being rhetorical here* Isn't that democratic politics? If our morality does not reflect our laws, then THAT is the problem on which to focus.

As I said, however real these problems are, they sound absolutely familiar to me, having lived in a town that got "overrun" with a selfish immigrant group, in this case, that couldn't care less about the needs of the long-time residents. So many former neighbors ran that poor old town into the ground (and in fact ran their actual homes into the ground, before literally selling the copper pipes and deserting the place altogether at the height of the debt bubble. The exit strategy was to purchase pickup trucks by borrowing against their over-mortgaged, over-valued houses, overstuff these old houses with tenants for some cash, and finally drive their fancy pickups back to "their countries." Six owners on one street alone, aided by good hearted, naive local, reverse-missionary politicians.

May. 01 2013 09:25 PM

Dear superf88,
Give an example please of another community facing the same issues. Thanks.

May. 01 2013 09:01 PM

Appreciate a follow up -- but not sure how putting some guy who hasn't held a seat on the school board for two years helps to either explain the actions of local officials or clarify anything.

This is democracy in action, folks.

If the school board is following the rules "to the letter of the law" -- to the detriment of some -- then kiss the ground. You are in America. ******** Work to change the laws the way you want them!!!! *******

There are thousands of messed up, selfish and incompetent towns and cities out there, making citizens livid. Thousands face the exact issues as this town actually (replace other race or religious majority with this particular religious group). Two shows and I have yet to hear how this one's any different -- aside from the word "Jew."

May. 01 2013 08:29 PM

Dear realistic,
Which taxpayers who aren't getting anything for their money are you talking about?

May. 01 2013 07:15 PM
Realistic

I keep on seeing comments "If they don't have children in public school, what are they doing there".

I'm not taking sides on this topic, but don't taxpayers have a say what to do with there money.

I look at this as a fight between taxpayers (who don't get any benefit from the school) and Teachers union, with the children of East Ramapo held as hostages. The fact is that Orthodox private schools operate on a budget of 5-6 thousand dollars per child per year, while the public school there operates at more than 4 times that figure.

I hope things will work out there, but my believe is that taxpayers should have a say about there real estate taxes, and not be used by the Teachers union to be squeezed out.

May. 01 2013 06:58 PM
NYCLeah from NYC

The next issue to investigate is the abuse of the Medicaid system by these people who can't afford to support the number of children they have. The Hasidim women are expected to have as many children as possible (Where are the women's rights groups?) They're being used like broodmares for Christ's sake. The various non-profit Jewish groups raise funds to pay for fertility treatments then the women use Medicaid funds (our tax dollars) to pay for the birthing. I know this first hand - I have a relative who works as a drug rep for a fertility lab here in NYC. All the hospitals report the same thing shaking their heads with a "it's just not right". And it isn't! I have nothing against the religious practices of people but I ask that they not impose upon me which is what's happening by the abuse of our tax funded Medicaid system. Crying "antisemitism" is always a cop out and drags all Jews down by the practices of the few extreme sects within the religion. They should be held accountable for their abuse of our society. For shame!

May. 01 2013 06:31 PM

Hi Kat,

I think you may have mistaken this for the page for the DeBlasio/stop and frisk segment at
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2013/may/01/bill-de-blasio-housing-stop-and-frisk/

I saw your comment there, as well as several from "michael from BK NY" and, most recently, from "Chris D. from Bed-Stuy", all of which I respected and appreciated.

May. 01 2013 05:34 PM
Kat from Astoria

Hi WNYC forum checkers! Some comments are missing. I posted twice today, michael from BKNY posted 3 times and several others posted. If it's a matter of brevity I understand but to post our voices and them delete them harms the discussion. Please explain.
Thanks,
Kat

May. 01 2013 05:21 PM

Oh yeh, and NYState should really up the ante and continue to feed the special Interests of this group? Really? Write your representatives... NYState has to take over the East Ramapo School district!

May. 01 2013 04:54 PM

Let's just clarify the issue here. The East Ramapo School District has been taken over by Hasidic men who:
1)do not send their children to the public schools.
2)are allocating funds to bussing and special services which they use primarily for their interests ie. getting their children to Yeshivas and special education needs (speech therapy for example)
3)the remaining students, who cannot afford to leave district schools are predominantly people of color.
4)the education provided these remaining students is barely legal by NYS education standards. All extra curriculars are gone, academics are leaving children short of graduation requirements.

COME ON PEOPLE--- This is NEW YORK, barely 30 miles outside of New York City. The year is 2013.... Where are the sentient beings in this debate?.. Shame on every law maker, journalist, elected official, cleric, human being for goodness sake with in earshot.... This is a crime. CRIME. Sign a petition... The power of ten, get the word out, the silence is deafening,....

May. 01 2013 04:11 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I am all for eliminating fraud and loopholes that can be exploited.

Let the investigations begin.

May. 01 2013 03:43 PM
Kyle

<<But at least you can walk through a Hasidic neighborhood late at night without having to worry that you'll get mugged, raped or killed.

And when was the last time any Hasidim bombed anything?

So, yeah, given a choice between Hasidim, and, say, B l a c k s, L a t i n o s or M u s l i m s, I'll take the Hasidim any day!>>

(Tony from Brooklyn)

Ain't that the truth!

And before anyone calls me racist, I'm married to a b l a c k woman. Young b l a c k males are infamous for their violence and thug "culture" (and my wife would be the first to tell you that)

May. 01 2013 03:33 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Noach, Ah! Now I see. My eye was drawn to the stream highlighted in red.

I will now listen to the stream for todays program.

May. 01 2013 02:50 PM

@Moshe ( 11:41 AM):

1.) You are absolutely correct about the double-standard that is so clearly evidenced in the comments, both here and on Friday's segment. Could hardly be more blatant.

2.) I must take issue with you, however, when you write,

"The ability to use codewords like "the Hasidim" for Jews reminds me of those folks who use codewords like "Zionists" to refer to Jews."

I reject the suggestion that anti-/Zionism/ or opposition to the /State of Israel/ necessarily equates to hatred of or opposition to /Jews/ or /Judaism/.[1]

(The overwhelming consensus of the greatest rabbinical authorities have always rejected Zionism. Many secular Jews do as well, for any number of reasons. Then there is the whole question of what qualifies as, "anti-Zionist" or "anti-Israel" in the first place. Such terms are often mis-applied to what is actually merely opposition-to certain /policies/ or /positions/, such as those of the government in power at any given time in the State of Israel.)

Which is not to say that the existence of Zionism and the State of Israel does not provide convenient cover for Jew-haters. Only one who is naive, blinded by their own bias or disingenuous could deny this. But I have found the converse to be no less true: The charge of "antisemitism" is an all-too-convenient way of silencing valid criticism; shooting the messenger when you don't want to hear the message, to use a cliché`.

May. 01 2013 02:29 PM

Edward:

Wieder was definitely on this morning's BL show, first segment. I heard it.

Sounds as if you are talking about the player /underneath/ the photo of Wieder. THAT has Friday's show, as it says just above it,
"Listen: Benjamin Wallace-Wells on the Brian Lehrer Show"

There should be a player at the TOP of the page, just ABOVE the photo of Wieder. (Assuming you have a normal browser configuration) THAT should be today's show.

May. 01 2013 02:19 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Noach, If you look right below the red colored WNYC media player, you will see that Aron Wieder is listed as a guest.

But apparently he wasn't there on this segment.

May. 01 2013 01:44 PM
Fred from Brooklyn

PR fail.

May. 01 2013 01:21 PM

@Edward: Might you have actually listened to Friday's segment on the topic w/ the author of the piece in (the sensationalist, lowbrow) New York magazine?

Sounds like there may have been some mix-up between the that and today's segment w/ Wieder-- either on your part or that of WNYC.

I can't really check now due to my minimalist, plugin-free configuration. (I download the mp3 files for segments I am interested in to listen at my convenience, on the player of my choice.)

May. 01 2013 01:19 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

Sure, Hasidim are very insular and clannish, and have tons of kids, and...I could probably go on listing things I don't particularly like about them...

But at least you can walk through a Hasidic neighborhood late at night without having to worry that you'll get mugged, raped or killed.

And when was the last time any Hasidim bombed anything?

So, yeah, given a choice between Hasidim, and, say, Blacks, Latinos or Muslims, I'll take the Hasidim any day!

(And not ALL Hasidim are that bad, either. I've met some who were pretty cool.)

May. 01 2013 12:56 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I just listened to the podcast.

Aron Wieder is listed as a guest. Where was he?

May. 01 2013 12:07 PM
Moshe

One comment here says that people are afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic (even though there is purportedly nothing anti-Semitic about the legitimate issues being raised). With various other people here talking about how "the Hasidim" behave, how that behavior is well-known, how they "inbreed," how they vote in a bloc to get politicians to do their bidding, etc., I wonder about the possible correctness of the anti-Semitism charge.

Would it be acceptable to write on this forum about how "the blacks" behave, how they inbreed, etc.? I think not. The ability to use codewords like "the Hasidim" for Jews reminds me of those folks who use codewords like "Zionists" to refer to Jews. Please, folks: bigotry and broad-brush generalizations are not rational or helpful things.

May. 01 2013 11:41 AM

I don't have any opinion on what's right or wrong, but you can hear this Wiesel lying and trying to find common ground is not a journalistic approach. I usually love this show, but really! Where are the answers to the questions, where are some facts? Why give this guy a platform if you are not armed with basic facts and statistics. Next time just read the press release he sent out. What a condescending,whiny interview.

May. 01 2013 11:39 AM

Hat's off to Brian two shows running on this topic, without showing any hint of the tragedy this is. I have witnessed the unfolding here for 53 years, since moving here to Rockland County.
Here are some things you won't hear , but are true.
1) Since the early New square days the Hasidic community has exploded, forcing the creation of several smaller villages and jurisdictions to preserve the surrounding Rockland county Neighborhoods. These haven't retained their value or integrity.
2) Students actually in ATTENDANCE at East Ramapo Schools are predominantly minority.
3)Hasidim live exclusively in their own communities. They have no care or regard for other communities.
4) Since they vote in a block, watch the politicians they vote for.... A trail of ----
5) People are afraid to tell the truth, for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic . They'd are actually looking extremely racist.
6) The enormity and gravity of the situation is vastly under reported and under appreciated.

May. 01 2013 11:17 AM

Empty earnestness.

May. 01 2013 11:06 AM
Bystander

Tuned in at the end and don't know anything about the backstory, but I was horrified at how condescending and slimy Wieder sounded. It's a standard if unpalatable PR move to dodge tough questions, but spending more time woefully bemoaning a constituent's "heart of hearts" than speaking any content is just rude.

Thanks to Brian for trying to rein him in, but I still fantasize about hosts saying point blank "if you're not going to answer the questions, I'm not giving you a platform." *click*

May. 01 2013 10:55 AM
glork

Sadly, this segment reflects poorly on Brian, who basically gave Mr. Wieder a platform and sat back. Where was the counterpoint? Good thing I heard this BEFORE the pledge drive...

May. 01 2013 10:48 AM
KJ from Nj

This was a disgraceful interview by Brian. Who listens this show to hear his mediation skills. Your job is to find out the truth as best you can. To start out this interview Trying to find common ground is a clear attempt to appease a particular chosen community. This guy got the softest questions and time to ramble as I have ever heard, especially given the complexity of the problem.
I understand Brian's dilemma, so in the future you should recuse yourself and let someone who can ask the obvious questions do the job. Where are the British journalists when you need em.

May. 01 2013 10:48 AM

Brian - Aron Weider didn't answer a single question. That's not a surprise, but I'm disappointed you let him off the hook so easily!

May. 01 2013 10:46 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

We also need to start taxing religious institutions that own property, use public services--all of them. This isn't the only community that's gamed the system to fund private religious life. This has to stop.

May. 01 2013 10:42 AM
Guy Jacobs from Chestnut Ridge, NY

Hello, as a residence of Chestnut Ridge, a east ramapo school district, we have 3 small children. We are forced to send our children to private school which nearly bankrupt our family.

In the past several year there is a influx of orthodox community in Chestnut Ridge, it is in the best interest of the school board to keep the school district performance low to suppress housing pricing. allowing more orthodox families to move in.

There is a major injustice in the way the school district is ran where chestnut school district used to be one of the best in the county.

Hope my point makes sense and can be shared.

May. 01 2013 10:40 AM

CORRECTION: I meant to write:
The suggestion that a certain minimum percentage of school board MEMBERS must have children in the system sounds reasonable to me.

May. 01 2013 10:40 AM

I'm not a member of either group being represented here, however I am an East Ramapo homeowner and tax payer. Unfortunately, because the school system has been allowed to flounder, I have had to send my son to a private school in order to ensure that he receives a quality education. It's outrageous that I need to pay both school taxes and private school tuition because a special interest group has gotten such a choke hold on our school district.

May. 01 2013 10:40 AM
jm

And...he continued to dodge the questions.

I don't have children, so I don't understand the school board process. Why are people without children in a particular school system allowed to sit on a board?

May. 01 2013 10:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

The answer is "maybe" depending on if the Arab armies are winning or not.

May. 01 2013 10:35 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

What a waste of time. This guy sounds totally insincere and did not answer any questions.

May. 01 2013 10:34 AM
Nancy from NYC

Bob from Brooklyn ("Religion ruins everything." ) - I love you.

May. 01 2013 10:34 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Wow what a weasel he is dodging ther caller's accusations about paying two superintendents. He tried every avenue except to answer her charge.

May. 01 2013 10:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Bob

In Israel there is a group of about 4000 citizens called Circassians who are Muslims and strongly loyal to the State of Israel, but they to only interbreed. They do NOT marry out at all, and consider a part of the Caucuses called Circassia as their homeland, but are very loyal to the State of ISrael nonetheless. Not only do they ONLY inbreed, but produce very attractive, healthy, and lovely looking WHITE people. In fact the very name "Caucasian" comes from the Caucuses from which they hearken from. So "inbreeding" does NOT necessarily produce anomalies.

May. 01 2013 10:32 AM
Gary Bernstein from Inwood

what happens in these school districts is absolutely CRIMINAL!!!!!
WHAT IS THIS GUY TALKING ABOUT? The kids about to graduate start to work for their parents in landscaping business?

May. 01 2013 10:31 AM
Trish S from New York IRiverdale)

Wholeheartedly agree - this is excruciating - the gentleman is NOT answering the comments with specifics - "Common Ground" is totally unhelpful. Is it true there are two Superintendent? Is is true taxes are not an option? Finally he is answering the questions.

May. 01 2013 10:31 AM

If the issue is disabled children, how about addressing the issue of procreating with you first cousins?!?

May. 01 2013 10:30 AM
Nancy from NYC

I'm sorry but your guest isn't answering the specific issues raised by the caller. In other words, he's full of it. Brian, probing questions, please!

May. 01 2013 10:30 AM
jm

"One brush?!" Will he shake on that agreement?
This guy is full of it, as he refuses to address her very specific points regarding corruption.

May. 01 2013 10:29 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So JG, is that a no?

May. 01 2013 10:29 AM
BL Moderator

[[We haven't removed any comments, but just a reminder to keep your comments civil and on topic -- relevant to the particular discussion taking place on air.
Thanks,
-BL Producer-]]

May. 01 2013 10:28 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

Brian this is EXCRUCIATING!

May. 01 2013 10:28 AM
thatgirl from Manhattan

"Injustice in Albany?" You can keep pointing up there, but the responsibility is local, Mr. Weider.

You've squeezed what was once a good public school system dry, and by overbreeding and selfish motives denied public school children what they deserve, and what we as citizens expect, at minimum: an overall educated populace.

You can dress it up however you like, but you've done this expressly--cutting teachers and services to the point that public school students can't possibly graduate in four years (and reclaiming public school buildings for private school use, using public money to defend your actions from lawsuits, etc.) is no small matter. Why not talk about what percentage of the Hassidim there work, versus exist on public assistance, while we're at it? That might explain why taxes that would go to educate the public don't get generated.

May. 01 2013 10:27 AM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/08/hipsters-hasidic-jews-fig_n_384579.html

May. 01 2013 10:27 AM

1.) The suggestion that a certain minimum percentage of school boards must have children in the system sounds reasonable to me.

2.) Isn't the whole system of funding schools by property taxes highly inequitable and regressive?

3.) How much culpability does the teacher's union have here?

(I am a fierce believer in labor justice; I have repeatedly castigated WNYC for effectively being gatekeepers of the predatory corporate-bankster establishment. But teacher's unions are known for their intransigence and selfishness. Why, when everyone else must sacrifice, should they be exempt? Public school teachers enjoy benefits that most others can only dream of.)

May. 01 2013 10:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

I don't know if most Arab citizens in Israel are loyal or not, and the same goes for Haredi Jews, but I do believe the majority WISH the Jews had never returned to what THEY say is Arab land, and what Zionist Jews claim is Jewish land. But I do believe that the overwhelming majority of Arab citizens would not do anything violent, but If there were an Arab invasion that seemed to be succeeding, they would turn on a dime. They certainly wouldn't fight to save the state. Some would though.

May. 01 2013 10:26 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Let's be honest. The Orthodox community needs more money for special needs kids. I mean, they have more inbreeding than other groups, so... they need our help!

May. 01 2013 10:23 AM
ada williams from nj

Watered down the subject very nicely. If there are two sides of this, where is the person representing the other side?

May. 01 2013 10:23 AM

Oy, GEEEZUS!!

I love the circuitous, nonsensical arguments the Hasidim come up with.

ANSWER A QUESTION!!

May. 01 2013 10:22 AM
john from office

Noach, you never read my comments, if you say that. Before you say I am biased, I married a jew. The Hasidim are infamous for their actions.

May. 01 2013 10:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Independent Noach

Okay, the Hareidim of Israel do not accept the State of Israel as legitimate, but do they accept the United States as legitimate? Would they go to the military here if drafted? Do they accept US welfare? Do they accept the laws of the United States as applicable to them? I don't know what is going on in Ramapo, but whatever the law says, they must abide by them HERE, if not in Israel.

May. 01 2013 10:22 AM
tenina from Pomona

20 years... our home is in the East Ramapo school district, we have seen our home value drop Precipitously due to the poverty of the school district.. If Patrick Farm goes through, our lovely semi-rural area will be completly lopsided to the Hasidic population and our town will become like Monsey and New Square.. even 20 years ago when house hunting, our realtor told us flat out " don't bother to look in those towns you will not be welcome there"

May. 01 2013 10:20 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Jg, are you saying that ALL Arab Israeli citizens are "enemies" of the state?

May. 01 2013 10:19 AM
steve from Upper west side

He's evading the very first question -- even if it's legal, is it right? He hides behind the Constitution and Albany, and is disingenuous in quoting Martin Luther King Jr. "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now." -- until he and the other school board members send THEIR kids to the public schools, they are absolutely NOT in the same boat, and have no business dictating school policy to and over the wishes of those with children in the system.

May. 01 2013 10:18 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Religion ruins everything.

May. 01 2013 10:16 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

one of the main reasons brian lehrer is a HACK of a journalist. this guy hasnt said jack in 10 minutes. what's the point of having this clown on the radio and let him evade questions....pathetic

May. 01 2013 10:16 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I'm drunk!!!

May. 01 2013 10:14 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

(Every time he says "common ground" - drink.)

May. 01 2013 10:13 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

Oy vey, he's been talking for three minutes and he's said nothing. Common ground.....really? That's the best you got?

May. 01 2013 10:11 AM

As I've pointed-out countless times before, the term "Ultra-Orthodox" is highly tendentious, misleading and inappropriate in most cases.

jagarbuz:

1.) There a number of factors that make the situation in Israel quite different. It should not be dragged into this discussion.

2.) I must point-out that the most dedicated and serious anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews in the Land of Israel do NOT, on principle, accept government money.
............
Does anyone doubt that comments such as those from "john from office" and MANY others from Friday's segment, would NEVER be tolerated (or even spoken in the first place) if the target were any OTHER group?

May. 01 2013 10:11 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The "ultraorthodox hareidim" are abusing their position in Israel as well, now numbering nearly 10% of the Jewish population of Israel. They do not recognize the legitimacy of the democratic state they live in and refuse to serve in the military, and along with the Arab sector are the major recipients of welfare and a drag on the country's economy. Now, there is nothing all that unusual about conscientious objectors on religious or moral grounds. America has had a quite a few of those as well. They claim some special relationship to God. But when their numbers reach a level where they can undermine the very security of the country, that is what Israel's last election was mainly about. Israel, a country totally surrounded by enemies has 30% of its own population - haredim and Arab citizens - who don't recognize the very right of the state they live in to exist, while taking welfare and social benefits from it nonetheless.

May. 01 2013 09:31 AM
john from office

I grew up in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The Hasidim then and now are a self centered group that have politicians in their pockets because they vote. This is a group that abuses all government programs from tax breaks for religious groups and housing to welfare and food stamps. They are doing the same in Israel and are not wanted there.

The answer to their actions is to go out and vote so that you have a voice.

May. 01 2013 09:21 AM

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