To all Crown Heights residents and all Jews everywhere:
With profound pain and consternation, I have no other choice but to share with you the frightening corruption and dereliction of several moisdos in our community:
Whereas in the 1800’s, when the Russian government would allow yeshivas to remain open only if they would consent to governmental demands to teach Russian studies, the Chabad Rabbeim refused to comply. There was nothing innately harmful with these Russian studies, but the Rabbeim fought them, for they did not belong in the arena of Torah study, a place of utmost purity and holiness.
Today, in modern times, our yeshivas, who once prided themselves as providers of pure Torah education, now feel that they have the right to forcibly subject our children to mandatory swabs deep into the nostrils, strong-arming parents into relinquishing their rights as parents in reverence to a most troubling public health mandate.
As every medical expert can attest, the children are not at risk of disease whatsoever. Their nostrils, which, as the Radak points out (in Tehillim Chapter 119 verse 1), are particularly close to the brain cavities, are now to become public property and invaded weekly, purely for the benefit of others, if there is any benefit altogether. This testing is contrary to the directives of local doctors, as well as the C.D.C. itself, who all feel that such testing should not be mandatory. All rabbonim who have been asked about the matter have concurred that such mandatory testing is contrary to Halacha.
In Choshen Mishpot siman 156 sif 3, Shulchan Aruch instructs that the G-d-given right of all children to study Torah communally surpasses the comforts of others:
If a secular school opens up in a neighborhood, the neighbors can complain and close it down. But if a cheider opens up, even if the commotion it causes disturbs the neighbors, the neighbors are not entitled to demand any injunctive relief.
Because when it comes to Torah study, an utmost necessity to the entire Jewish People and of every Jewish child, other people’s comforts are not taken into account. Withholding Torah study to force children to be tested for the imagined benefit of others is antithetical to Shulchan Aruch.
As such, I hereby voice my strongest condemnation to the politicization of Torah education. The following schools have simply lost their right to present themselves as moisdos of pure Torah education – Beis Chaya Mushka, Oholei Torah, and Lubavitcher Yeshiva.
I humbly turn to all and any supporters of the said organizations. Please voice your opposition to their harsh decrees against the Jewish child, or discontinue all and any support.
In addition, I turn to every teacher or employee of these schools:
It is imperative that you inform your employers that you shall no longer show up to work until the moisad returns to authentic Judaism and promptly halts the implementation of all and any mandatory testing or treatments which have nothing to do with the purity of Torah and its holy mandates.
If enough teachers participate in this communal outcry, and enough supporters discontinue their support, the schools will have no option but to capitulate.
And to all parents and community members:
Whether or not you have children in these schools, whether or not you signed the waiver – stand up and voice your indignation and opposition to the corruption. The future of Jewish education is at stake!
Rabbi Daniel Green,
Crown Heights resident and educator