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Federal Judge Dismisses Yaffed Lawsuit Against Yeshivas

16 Jan 2019 8:27 PM

BROOKLYN – A Brooklyn federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Yaffed, an anti-yeshivah group, saying that the group has no standing in a matter of yeshivah education.
U.S. District Court Judge I. Leo Glasser said that Yaffed was no different than any other politi-cal group and was not social advocacy organization.
Yaffed had claimed it had standing since it spent money to convince frum Jews of the need for yeshivas to have more secular education.
“If any plaintiff with a strong objection to a statute,” Glasser wrote, “could manufacture stand-ing by spending time and money opposing that very statute and then arguing that the expendi-ture of that time and money was itself an injury, there would be no real constraint upon stand-ing at all, except perhaps the size of the plaintiffs bank account.”
Yaffed sued the state in July over the law sponsored by state Sen. Simcha Felder that specified that the state education department may take into account other studies when inspecting yeshi-vas.
Controversial guidelines issued by the state last year mention the Felder Amendment as one of several laws taken into account when compiling the guidance.
“On the present record,” Judge Glasser wrote, “Yaffed has failed to demonstrate that it has suf-fered an injury in fact sufficient to confer standing, or that such an injury is ‘certainly impend-ing.’ Therefore, the Court has no choice but to grant Defendant’s motion to dismiss.”
The lawsuit’s dismissal has no bearing on the state guidelines.
The lawsuit quoted a friend of the court brief filed by PEARLS, a yeshivah advocacy organiza-tion, as well as a court declaration by Professor Aaron Twerski, who teaches at Brooklyn Law School.
“For parents who choose a traditional yeshivah education for their children,” Glasser quoted Prof. Twerski, “it is an important pillar of continuity within the Hasidic community, assuring that their beliefs will be reliably passed on from one generation to the next, and instilling an invaluable sense of Jewish identity and belonging.”
He later cited him again that yeshivos are “the primary vehicle responsible for inculcating Jew-ish values, Jewish learning and Jewish living, are responsible for the rebirth of the Jewish community out of the ashes of destruction in Eastern Europe, and are what today ensures and allows for the continuity and growth of the Jewish community in New York and around the country.”

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