Nearly 50 rabbis from across New Jersey join with Teach NJS, a nonpartisan organization advocating for equitable funding in New Jersey nonpublic schools, asking the state government to provide the necessary security funding for day schools and yeshivas.
In the latest round of budgets, New Jersey lawmakers allocated an additional $87 million towards security for public schools and no additional funding for nonpublic schools. By doing so, the state acknowledged that schools across the state require additional security funding, but did not provide a comparable increase in funding for nonpublic school students, including day schools and yeshivas.
In response to this disparity in funding, Teach NJS mobilized nearly 50 rabbis across the state in a letter to state government leaders. The rabbis expressed their disappointment with state government and that the Jewish community in New Jersey feels frustrated and betrayed. They shared that families in the community send their children to Jewish day schools in order for them to receive a religious education that aligns with their beliefs. By underfunding security for nonpublic schools, the state is forcing them to choose between their children’s safety and their religion. Since then, Teach NJS has been actively leading a campaign to advocate against this double standard between security funding for public and nonpublic schools.
“Our community is frustrated by the double standard and inequity from our state government when it comes to funding school security,” said Teach NJS Executive Director Josh Caplan. “Working with our rabbinic partners, we are sending a clear message to Trenton that our children deserve to be just as safe in school as any other student.”
“As a result of this letter and other initiatives organized by Teach NJS, state legislators introduced Senate bill S.3080 and Assembly bill A.4597 to increase security funding for nonpublic schools in the current school year,” he added.
The following Rabbis signed the letter: Rabbi Yosef Adler, Congregation Rinat Yisrael (Teaneck); Rabbi Howard Bald, Larchwood Synagogue (Oakhurst); Rabbi David Bassous, Congregation Etz Ahaim (Highland Park); Rabbi Eli Belizon, Young Israel of Fair Lawn (Fair Lawn); Rabbi Michael Bleicher, Elmora Hills Minyan (Union); Rabbi Akiva Block, Kehilat Kesher (Englewood); Rabbi Mendel Bogomilsky, Chai Center of Millburn/Short Hills (Short Hills); Rabbi Nasanayl Braun, Congregation Brothers of Israel (Long Branch); Rabbi Jeremy Donath, Congregation Darchei Noam (Fair Lawn); Rabbi Menashe East, Mount Freedom Jewish Center (Randolph); Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, Congregation Sons of Israel (Cherry Hill); Rabbi Daniel Feldman, Ohr Saadya (Teaneck); Rabbi Menachem Genack, Congregation Shomrei Emunah (Englewood); Rabbi Zev Goldberg, Young Israel of Fort Lee (Fort Lee); Rabbi Dovid Harrison, Congregation Beth Shalom (Red Bank); Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Congregation Netivot Shalom (Teaneck); Rabbi Avrohom Herman, Elmora Avenue Shul (Elizabeth); Rabbi Joshua Hess, Congregation Anshe Chesed (Linden); Rabbi Haim Jachter, Shaarei Orah – The Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck (Teaneck); Rabbi Gedaliah Jaffe, Congregation Ahavas Yisrael (Edison); Rabbi Eliyahu Kaufman, Congregation Ohav Emeth (Highland Park); Rabbi Samuel Klibanoff, Congregation Etz Chaim (Livingston) Rabbi Binyamin Krohn, Young Israel of Teaneck (Teaneck); Rabbi Yaakov Luban, Congregation Ohr Torah (Edison); Rabbi Sariel Malitzky, Congregation Ohr Torah (Edison); Rabbi Chaim Marcus, Congregation Israel (Springfield); Rabbi Andrew Markowitz, Congregation Shomrei Torah (Fair Lawn); Rabbi Steven Miodownik, Congregation Ahavas Achim (Highland Park); Rabbi Elie Mischel, Synagogue of the Suburban Torah Center (Livingston); Rabbi David Pietruszka, Bais Medrash of Bergenfield (Bergenfield); Rabbi Chaim Poupko, Congregation Ahavath Torah (Englewood); Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Congregation Bnai Yeshurun (Teaneck); Rabbi Zev Reichman, East Hill Synagogue (Englewood); Rabbi Avi Richler, Chabad Jewish Center of Gloucester County (Mullica Hill); Rabbi Yehuda Rosenbaum, Maitland Minyan (Teaneck); Rabbi Solomon Rybak, Congregation Adas Israel (Passaic); Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz, Congregation Shaare Tefillah (Teaneck); Rabbi Jonathan Schwartz, Congregation Adath Israel (Elizabeth/Hillside); Rabbi Ely Shestack, Congregation Ahavat Achim (Fair Lawn); Rabbi Marc Spivak, Congregation Ohr Torah (West Orange); Rabbi Moshe Stavsky, Bais Medrash of Bergenfield (Bergenfield); Rabbi Michael Taubes, Congregation Zichron Mordechai (Teaneck); Rabbi David Tawil, Larchwood Synagogue (Oakhurst); Rabbi Elazar Teitz, Jewish Educational Center (Elizabeth); Rabbi Benjamin Yudin, Congregation Shomrei Torah (Fair Lawn); Rabbi Ari Zahtz, Congregation Bnai Yeshurun (Teaneck) and Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler, Congregation Ahawas Achim B’nai Jacob & David (West Orange).
Teach NJS, a division of the Teach Advocacy Network, was founded in 2015 to advocate for equitable government funding in New Jersey nonpublic schools. It has secured an additional $100 million in funding for day schools, which is used to increase security, enhance education and defray higher tuition costs. Currently, 20 day-schools and yeshivas receive support through Teach NJS efforts. For more information, visit https://teachadvocacy.org/newjersey/