In the wake of the recent extensive New York Times investigation into Hasidic yeshivas, a fierce and often acrimonious debate has emerged about the ethics of covering the Hasidic world from the outside, how private institutions that receive government funds are accountable to the broader public, and religious minority communities’ right to insist on their way of life, even when it brings them into conflict with the state. On this episode, Jewish Currents Contributing Editor Joshua Leifer hosts a conversation between Naftuli Moster, executive director of Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED), and Frieda Vizel, a writer and tour guide of Hasidic Brooklyn. Moster and Vizel—who both grew up in, and later left, Hasidic communities—draw on their own educational experiences to offer very different perspectives on the Times article and reactions to it, on the best way to advocate for change in the Hasidic world, and on what’s at stake in the fight over secular education.
Articles and Podcast Episodes Mentioned:
“In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools Flush With Public Money,” Eliza Shaprio and Brian M. Rosenthal, The New York Times
“Thoughts on the NYT exposé on Hasidic education,” Frieda Vizel
“Progressives Have Abandoned Haredi Children,” Naftuli Moster, Jewish Currents
“The Great Yeshiva Slander,” Commentary podcast
“Private Religious Schools Have Public Responsibilities Too,” Nomi M. Stolzenberg and David N. Myers, The Atlantic
Thanks to Jesse Brenneman for producing and to Nathan Salsburg for the use of his song “VIII (All That Were Calculated Have Passed).”