Carol Green Ungar

A Modest Proposal

Once again, the Hassidic community has attracted the ire of the New York Times. According to the Times, the Hassidim have milked state funding for special ed programs, sometimes even failing to provide help to the kids who need it.

Is this true?

Or is the NY Times reporter a covert nazi? I dont know.

The New York Times is not der Strummer.

I suspect that there may be smoke beneath this fire.

What this adds up to is a  giant embarrassment and a hillul Hashem.

Isnt our brand integrity. Arent we G-ds chosen people-?

What’s gone wrong?

Instead of calling in the libel lawyers, let’s regard this piece as a wake-up call.

It’s time for us to clean up our act.

An excellent first step would be to break our dependence on government handouts — He who pays the piper calls the tune.  When you take someone’s money, you are beholden to them. Our reliance on government funding leverages our independence. and places us under the microscope of public scrutiny. That makes sense. We would expect the same of any other group that was the recipient of taxpayer dollars.

For some reason, we seem to think that we can have it both ways eg, take the government bucks and do what we like. That doesn’t work. We’ve seen that over and over, and it breeds antisemitism. The mishandling, even on a nickel and dime level of public monies, is an antisemitism incubator. Just read the comments that accompanied the Times piece.

So what is the solution? Two choices–either clean up, Run our institutions so that they can withstand the inevitable audit, or stop taking public money.

Other strings come along with government money ie,, the recent Yeshiva University gay club scandal. We want to be independent. If that is our goal, then we need to go it alone.

We dont need Uncle Sam.

Our community is wealthy.  Just look  at all the $15,000  lace top sheitlach and $100 + bottles of wine at our kiddush tables, not to mention the Lexus’s and matching designer togs for the kinderlach.

Why not spend that money on our yeshivas chadarim and Bais Yaakovs, including programs to benefit special needs kids? Throughout  Jewish history, communities far less well-endowed than ours provided free education to all Jewish children.

We should do the same, and we can.

We pride ourselves on being “the people who dwell alone.”

It’s time that we go it alone with our pocketbooks too.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author who writes from the Judean Hills.