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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Protesters Want Answers On NYC Investigation of Yeshiva Curricula

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Former New York City yeshiva alumni, parents and past teachers last week demanded to know whether the New York City Department of Education was “really investigating” the city’s yeshiva curricula. The demonstrators protested on the steps of City Hall.

Last July, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and seven district superintendenets in Brooklyn and Queens received a letter sent by some 50 concerned parents, former teachers, and former yeshiva students, expressing ‘concern’ over the lack of substantial secular education in at least 39 yeshivas. The letter said students at the yeshivas in Brooklyn and Queens receive only an hour and a half per day of English and Math studies, four days a week. Secular studies end at age 13 (bar mitzvah). The group was particularly upset that the boys are not prepared for college, or careers in the secular world.

The group’s attorney, Norman Siegel told The Gothamist, “I was told months ago that the investigation would be complete in Spring 2016, and now we’re questioning if there is an investigation at all.”

State law stipulates that education in non-public schools must be “at least substantially equivalent” to that provided in public schools.

In response to the letter, the DOE said it would investigation the potential violations. One of the two people assigned to the probe left the department in February. The second person is District 20 superintendent Karina Costantino. She was last in touch with “Young Adults for a Fair Education” (YAFFED) in January.

The organization was “founded by individuals raised within the ultra-Orthodox communities of New York City, and is committed to improving general studies education alongside traditional curricula of Judaic studies,” according to its website.

The department said the forms were to be sent to the private schools in their districts; responses would help the DOE determine whether violations are taking place. School visits will be scheduled if responses trigger red flags.

YAFFED director Naftuli Moster is unhappy with this state of affairs, and believes spot checks and interviews with current yeshiva students should be included in the probe. Attorney Siegel likewise comments that he grew up in Borough Park and “you learn that in the politics of NYC, insular communities are a politically powerful voting block.”

Mayoral spokesperson Austin Finan said in a statement, “The assertion that DOE has not sent requests for information to schools is inaccurate. The mayor believes strongly that every child in our city deserves a first-rate education. The DOE’s investigation of these schools is active and ongoing,” he added. “We will not comment further on an ongoing investigation.”

Siegel warned the group might end up taking the city to court over the issue.

Jewish Press News Briefs

NYPD Caught in Crossfire While FBI Probes Mayor De Blasio’s Business Contacts

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

The New York Police Department’s top brass — as well as those in the lower echelons — are being questioned by the FBI in a probe that extends all the way to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The investigation developed as the result of two-year-old corruption probe that began with the 20-year head of a union representing NYC corrections officers, and a second individual who retired in 2014 as the police department’s top uniformed official.

The federal agency is now also focusing on two members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn who apparently have ties to the mayor, according to local sources. The specific allegations against the two are unclear.

Both allegedly raised a large amount of money for de Blasio’s mayoral election campaign and served on his inaugural committee in 2013. Neither has been charged with a particular crime, according to The New York Times.

In order to put the pieces together, FBI agents have questioned police officials from the very top of the food chain all the way down to a detective in Brooklyn’s 66th precinct, The New York Post reported Tuesday. That precinct is located in the heart of the deeply Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park.

The list of those questioned included police department chiefs, inspectors, captains and other police officials. A union head for top brass said members have been and still are cooperating with the probe. All have been told they are not the targets of this investigation; but if wrongdoing is uncovered, they could face administrative charges or dismissal. In such cases, “wrongdoing” can include acceptance of gifts, free meals or vacations and similar favors.

The investigation is being conducted with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

At least police detective has declined so far to answer questions before a federal grand jury that began hearing evidence in the case.

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton told reporters at an unrelated news briefing Tuesday that the unnamed officer has been stripped of his badge and weapon, and placed on modified assignment until the investigation wraps up.

Hana Levi Julian

Jews Walk to Synagogue in NYC’s 2nd Biggest Blizzard in History

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Jews in New York City had to walk to prayers Saturday night in the second biggest blizzard ever to hit the city.

In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Jewish Haztolah emergency team was able to keep one Jew from becoming a New York City statistic. There were three deaths directly related to snow-shoveling: one on Staten Island and two in Queens, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a briefing late Saturday.

At around 7:45 pm Saturday night, the 51-year-old man was clearing the snow from his car when he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest – but a bystander called Hatzolah.

Divine Providence intervened — and a Hatzolah volunteer happened to be standing only 50 feet away, also clearing his vehicle. He grabbed his equipment and raced over, calling for backup as he flew. Within seconds an ambulance arrived with paramedics and they whisked the man away – pulse restored – to a nearby hospital.

An emergency travel ban was imposed on New York City 6,000 miles of roads but is set to be lifted by 7 am ET.

More than two feet of snow fell on New York – and nearly everywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States over the weekend.

Nearly 7,000 flights have been cancelled in airports up and down the East Coast. Most of the approximately 4,500 cancellations on Saturday were at New York airports and those in the Washington DC area. Approximately 2,500 cancellations have come in for Sunday and the number is still rising. According to the FlightAware flight tracking service, cancellations have also started for Monday as well; hundreds of people had cancelled their flights by Saturday night. All major airlines issued waivers for the cancelled flights.

The travel ban on New York City streets imposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also applied to Nassau and Suffolk counties and took effect Saturday at 2:30 pm Saturday afternoon, prohibiting all but emergency vehicles from being on the road. “When the snowfall reaches a certain rate, the plows cannot keep up,” Cuomo told journalists.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he was coordinating decisions with Cuomo. “We are making decisions regarding the roadways in the northern part of the state that lead into New York in conjunction with the governor,” Christie said.

By 4 pm Saturday, all outdoor subways in New York City had shut down due to the storm. Underground subway operations were to continue “as long as feasible,” De Blasio told reporters. Three hundred vehicles in New York City had been towed and there were 270 motor vehicle crashes in the city by midnight Saturday.

All the public libraries, zoos and major museums in New York City closed by 3 pm or earlier. Broadway shows were canceled. A Bruce Springsteen concert set for Sunday at Madison Square Garden was postponed.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Turns Back the Clocks Tonight; Six-Hour Time Difference from NY

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Israel goes on Standard Time, known as “winter time” in Israel, at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, which means the time difference from New York will be only six hours.

The usual seven-hour time difference will return next Sunday, November 1, when the United States goes off Daylight Time and turns back the clocks at 2 a.m.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

NYC Mayor De Blasio: ‘When You Are Attacked, We Also Feel Attacked’

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio says New Yorkers are empathizing with Israelis.

Hizzoner went together with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Saturday night to visit severely wounded terrorist victims at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.

De Blasio told Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, with whom he has been in close contact, that New Yorkers have had a lot of experience with the effects of terror, particularly since the Al Qaeda attack on September 11, 2001.

“When you are attacked, we also feel attacked,” De Blasio said.

Barkat responded that terrorism is an international phenomenon, one that has become an epidemic that must be wiped out.

“The war on terror is global and common to many countries and the September 11 attacks, as well as our wave of terror, originate from the same source of evil that we must eradicate,” Barkat said. He added that although terrorists have done their best to try and disrupt the lives of Israelis, people living here do not allow their lives to be controlled by terrorism.

“Our residents are strong, determined and believe in the justness of our cause, and the desire to live in peace together,” he said.

Barkat added that Arab incitement that causes terrorism must also be stopped.

“This is not just a war against the terrorists themselves, but also factors that foment and create propaganda — lies and disinformation that we have to refute at every opportunity — to say instead one thing: the truth!”

He added that he believes that just as New Yorkers overcame terror, Jerusalem will also “soon return to normal.” Barkat thanked De Blasio for his visit at a challenging time, what he called “an expression of true friendship and solidarity.”

Hana Levi Julian

NY Mayor de Blasio Visiting Yad VaShem

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is visiting Yad VaShem Sunday during his two-day tour in Israel for the 30th International Mayors Conference.

He will be joined by approximately 40 other international mayors participating in the conference.

Mayor de Blasio will tour the Holocaust History Museum, participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad VaShem Guest Book.

Jewish Press News Briefs

NY Mayor de Blasio ‘Stands with Israel’ on Eve of Visit

Friday, October 16th, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio told reporters on Thursday, the day before he is scheduled to fly to Israel for a visit through Sunday:

I’m proud to be going at a moment when Israel is in need, and where friends need to stand and be counted.

We’re looking forward to what’s obviously going to be a sober environment, and a difficult environment, but I look forward to meeting with my fellow Israeli mayors and mayors from around the world to stand in solidarity with Israel.

He is scheduled to visit the Western Wall but also had planned to meet Palestinian Authority Arabs, a departure from the itinerary of his three predecessors, Michael R. Bloomberg, Rudolph W. Giuliani and Edward I. Koch, who restricted their trips to Israel to meetings with the country’s political and business leaders.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year refused to accept an invitation from the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the United Nations to visit Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

DeBlasio will meet with Arabs, but not as he planned.

He had wanted to talk with Arabs in Ramallah, without meeting with Palestinian Authority officials, but the wave of terror has forced him settle for meeting them in Israel.

However, he says he is not afraid, explaining:

In terms of my own safety, I believe that Israeli security forces obviously know what they’re doing, and NYPD knows what it’s doing, and I’m very comfortable with that.

DeBlasio will meet with Arab children who learn with Jews at a school that was torched last year in an arson attack by Israeli extremists.

He said:

This is a region that needs peace deeply, and peace is elusive. One of the ways we foster peace is through inclusion. And our hopes have to be with the young people at this point. The previous generation hasn’t managed to find the path of peace.

Orthodox Jewish businessman Baruch Eliezer Gross is paying for the mayor’s trip.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ny-mayor-de-blasio-stands-with-israel-on-eve-of-visit/2015/10/16/

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