Roundup: Yeshiva funding in New Jersey state budget, RFK Jr. Visits Ohel, kosher meat prices headed higher, and other Haredi news

Shtetl News Roundup: What’s new and interesting in the Haredi world this week

Chabad Rabbi's gravesite/Ohel. Credit Mo Golber/Shtetl

Jul 28, 2023 8:55 AM


New Jersey state budget includes increased yeshiva funding.
The 2024 New Jersey state budget includes new or increased funding for non-public school security and transportation, Holocaust survivors, and kosher Meals on Wheels, per the Jewish Link. Avi Schnall, the New Jersey director of Agudath Israel of America, told the outlet there was a $12 million increase in yeshiva funding. “It was a decent budget,” Schnall said. “We definitely came out ahead of where we were in past years.” From the Federation’s point of view, it was a bigger win than anticipated: “It was an 11 out of 10,” said Harris Laufer, director of the Jewish Federations of New Jersey, adding, “we got everything we asked for, and in some cases, we even got more than we asked for.”

Some kosher meat prices expected to increase.
Springfield Wholesale Meat Distributor, a kosher food wholesaler, recently announced a price increase tied to price increases by its beef supplier, Solomon’s Meat, according to the Jewish Press. Isaac Bernstein, a chef at Breadberry in Boro Park, told a kosher food blog the restaurant plans to start using more imported beef as opposed to American beef. “We always strive to avoid premature price increases; particularly given the current economic challenges many kosher-observing families are facing,” he said. “Nevertheless, price increases are inevitable.”

Special election scheduled for Queens Assembly seat
A special election to replace Democratic Queens Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal will be held Sept. 12, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday, according to Hamodia. Rosenthal, who stepped down in order to work for the UJA-Federation, represented a district that includes Forest Hills and Kew Garden Hills, where there is a Haredi community.

Rockland Haredi leaders gather to support local politician.
Haredi leaders in Rockland County joined fellow politicians on Thursday to kick off the reelection campaign of New York state senator Bill Weber, according to the Rockland Daily. Weber, a Republican, was first elected to the state senate in 2022. 

RFK Jr. visits Chabad rebbe’s gravesite.
After being accused of antisemitism and racism when he falsely claimed that covid-19 was engineered to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people, candidate for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. made a pilgrimage to a holy site for Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic Jews. Kennedy visited the gravesite in Queens where Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and his father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, are buried, according to COLlive

Haredi man assaulted on Saturday morning.
Crown Heights man Menachem Zirkind was assaulted walking on Schenectady Avenue on Saturday morning, according to COLlive. A man slapped Zirkind in the face without provocation while Zirkind was on his way to Rayim Ahuvim Mikvah. Police are searching for the assailant.

Judge orders DOE to streamline special education payments.
Federal Judge Loretta Preska ordered the NYC Department of Education to institute 40 steps toward streamlining special-education reimbursements. State Senator Simcha Felder, who is Haredi, and a longtime advocate for an expedited reimbursement system, called the ruling “a crucial step forward in ensuring that every child is given a fair chance to thrive.”

Kiryas Joel scrutinized in news investigation of pandemic-relief education spending.
The Hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel was among a large number of school districts that received a combined $190 billion in public funding in 2020 to address student’s poor academic performance brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. A 10-month investigation by The 74 found that many of these schools barely tapped federal monies at all, or else used them for expenditures unrelated to the pandemic. Kiryas Joel was the only one of 15 school districts and networks across the U.S. contacted by The 74 that did not respond to requests for records under freedom of information laws. From what The 74 was able to uncover, they reported that Kiryas Joel district, with fewer than 500 public school students, but where many more students attend private Jewish schools, received about $94 million in aid, $12 million of which it has used to upgrade facilities owned by organizations affiliated with Satmar Hasidic leadership.