Tuesday, February 19, 2013
An all-boys school in the Hasidic village of New Square has accepted more than $3.3 million in federal funds earmarked for Internet and telecommunications technology, even though students there do not have access to computers, an investigation by the Manhattan-based Jewish Week newspaper has found.
According to a Feb. 15 report at www.thejewishweek.com, published by the newspaper, Yeshiva Avir Yakov in New Square “is just one of many fervently Orthodox Jewish schools in New York State that, despite publicly eschewing Internet use and despite offering their students minimal, if any, access to computers, have spent large sums of E-Rate money.”
The Hasidic community is “deeply concerned about the perceived social threat posed by the Internet” and views the Web as a “corrupting force capable of undermining their way of life,” according to the newspaper.
The newspaper said it obtained video from inside Avir Yakov that showed no computers in classrooms, but the video was not posted on the paper’s website.
The report notes a rally held about the dangers of the Internet at the Citi Field and Arthur Ashe stadiums in Queens in May 2012 that attracted 60,000 Orthodox Jews. What’s more, it says, the community’s schools require parents to sign waivers stating there is no Internet access in their homes as a precondition for enrollment.
E-Rate, a federal program that subsidizes telecommunications services and infrastructure for schools and libraries, paid more than $30 million to 285 Jewish schools in New York in 2011, according to the report.
The newspaper found that while Jewish schools enrolled approximately 4 percent of the state’s K-12 students, they were awarded 22 percent of the program’s allocations to schools and libraries that year.
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