When Israel is better at separating church and state than America…

…something’s wrong.
Last month, I wrote excitedly about Israel’s Supreme Court canceling government funding for yeshiva students. And this month, New York Governor David Patterson decided to cut the state budget, while increasing public funding to yeshivot!

But some legal experts question whether the measure will meet the requirements of the New York State Constitution, which has stricter prohibitions.
Critics have also raised questions about the timing of Paterson’s action. He inserted it in his budget plans last January, just nine days after he collected $140,000 at a fundraising dinner held in his honor at Kiryas Joel, an upstate village established by the Satmar Hasidic sect. Akiva Klein, who is a powerful businessman and a board member of the Uta Mesivta of Kiryas Joel, a rabbinical school with 1,300 students, chaired the dinner. Paterson was planning to run for re-election at that point, though since announced that he will not.
“I wonder if that proposition would have been presented if the governor had not announced his campaign plans that early on,” said Francis Clark, a spokesperson for the New York Public Interest Research Group, a good government organization. “It’s hardly a shocker and not the first time an elected official used their role in government to set himself up for reelection.”

Read the whole article at The Forward.

2 thoughts on “When Israel is better at separating church and state than America…

  1. Of all municipalities in America with more than 5000 people, Kiryas Joel has the lowest median age (15).
    Well someone has to help educate the late Yitta Schwartz’s (of KJ) 2000 descendants (how many you got?)
    Paterson may be blind but he can see where KJ is going.
    How about this: Since NY is helping to pay for KJ’s yeshivot, maybe the URJ can get NY to help them build Reform or Conservative senior’s centers.

  2. I don’t understand… The Supreme Court ruled on this in 1994 holding that New York could not give public funds to a neighborhood school district that defined itself and its boundaries on religious lines… Therefore, Paterson’s plan must NOT contradict that ruling, therefore it is not an issue of separation of church and state. It seems to me to be an issue of students who belong to a cultural group you don’t like getting funding…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.