New York Times publishes Hasidic school investigation in Yiddish, too

Likely the 1st time newspaper has published in Yiddish; article addresses major deficiencies in Hasidic education system that leave students unprepared for life in the US

Illustrative: A man walks by school bus with Yiddish signage in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York City, January 1, 2014. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative: A man walks by school bus with Yiddish signage in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York City, January 1, 2014. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

In what is likely a first, The New York Times on Sunday published its investigation into the Hasidic school system in Yiddish as well as English.

The article, which features a probe into education standards within New York’s Hasidic Jewish community, was published in both Yiddish and English, most likely to allow the targeted community to access the findings of the investigation.

The population of Hasidim in New York is about 200,000, representing 10% of the state’s total Jewish population, the New York Times said.

Much of the community operates in Yiddish, the dominant language among pre-Holocaust European Jewry.

The newspaper has published stories in the past in languages other than English, but Sunday’s story appeared to be the first time it has published in Yiddish.

The investigation found that in a state-level test of math and reading within a Satmar Hasidic school, 100% of students failed the tests.

Illustrative — In this September 20, 2013 file photo, children and adults cross a street in front of a school bus in Borough Park, a neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York that is home to many ultra-Orthodox Jewish families. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The newspaper’s investigation found that “generations of children have been systematically denied a basic education, trapping many of them in a cycle of joblessness and dependency” in the Hasidic communities.

“The schools turn out thousands of students each year who are unprepared to navigate the outside world, helping to push poverty rates in Hasidic neighborhoods to some of the highest in New York,” the report said.

Despite failing to live up to New York state education standards, The New York Times found that Hasidic schools in the city have received more than $1 billion in state funding over the past four years.

Hasidic community leaders say that their community receives far less public funding for education than their state school counterparts.

The article is available online without a paywall. However, many in Hasidic communities do not have any access to the internet or secular content.

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