TOSSED: YAFFED Federal Lawsuit Against Yeshiva Education Thrown Out


Several months ago, Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED), a nonprofit led by Naftuli Moster, YAFFED‘s Founder and Executive Director, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, and N.Y. Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa.

YAFFED alleged that on April 12, 2018, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a budget that included an amendment to New York Education Law, Section 3204, section 2, known as the “Felder Amendment,” New York created a carve-out to the statutory requirement of substantial equivalent instruction in non-public schools that applies to and is intended to benefit only certain frum, Jewish non-public schools.

In doing so, Moster and Co. claimed, New York violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Today, that lawsuit was thrown out.

The lawsuit targeted an amendment to Section 3204 that was orchestrated by State Senator Simcha Felder.

During his campaign, Moster said, “All across America, special interest groups and individuals seek to chip away at a child’s access and right to a comprehensive education. Nowhere have they been more successful than right here in New York, where many yeshivas have gotten away with providing no secular education at all, or at best a very limited one, to tens of thousands of children. This sub-standard secular education was codified into law with Senator Felder’s amendment.”

As of June 2018, there were 273 Orthodox yeshivos registered with the state. 211 of these yeshivos are located in Kings County.  In 2013-14, there were over 52,000 students enrolled in 83 yeshivos in New York City, concentrated in the neighborhoods of Borough Park, Williamsburg, and Crown Heights. An additional 26,446 students were enrolled in chassidishe schools in places such as Monsey, New Square, and Kiryas Yoel.

The “Education Clause” in Article XI, section 1 of the New York State Constitution ensures the availability of a “sound basic education” to all children in the State and creates the right to adequate instruction along with all the resources that such instruction requires. For public schools, the curriculum for grades one through eight must include instruction in the subject areas of arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the English language, geography, United States history, civics, hygiene, physical training, the history of New York State, and science. In high school, academic instruction must include instruction in the English language and its use, civics, hygiene, physical training, American history including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

The court didn’t buy Moster’s claim that many yeshivos fail to provide any instruction comparable to instruction in these subject areas.

Read the court document here.



  1. Vihee she’amda la’avoseinu….
    Moster, like all the rest of the rishaim thru out history who tried to harm our Torah way of life, will fail miserably. An evil wicked shoneh upiraish. A moser on top of it all.

    • curious would you say haskalah won? do most litvish yeshivahs have secular education? girls schools are taught hebrew subjects also english!

  2. We may have won this particular battle, but we still have a war to fight. New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who seems to have significant power and autonomy with little oversight, has shown a willingness to overturn generations of precedent and dictate to ALL yeshivos the number of hours that must be spent on the secular curriculum, regardless of the yeshiva’s students’ academic achievements.

  3. V’lamalshnim….. V’hzaydim is understood B’kem M’ Kem from amongst us. May we collectively be zocah to see the fruition of all our tfillos

  4. A little background on Moster or better said “Moser – מוסר”
    He was once a Chasidishe בחור in his לבוש. He was not a Frum Yid as a בחור. He married a girl from Lakewood from a Chasidishe family thinking that Lakewood people are all פרייע ליטוואק׳ס and that the girl he’s engaged to is not really Frum. He was dead wrong. This girl was a wonderful בית יעקב girl. They got divorced after six weeks. He wears a Yarmulke to give off the impression that he’s “Frum” and that he wants to be מתקן the Yeshivos. He’s a fake phony fraud (כלשון Bob Grant). He’s the enemy from within (כלשון Michael Savage).

  5. From reading the judge’s ecplanation of how the NYSED is instructing the local education boards to evaluate whether the “hasidic”private schools are in compliance with the Felder Amendment, it seems to be pretty clear that in a “Great Irony”, to use the judge’s own words, the Amendment ended up giving the power to the NYSED, to actually ADD MORE stringent equirements to the “hasidic” schools than the other private schools, and that is EXACTLY what the commissioner has done in the new guidelines!

    The Amendment placed a FLOOR under the discretion of the NYSED, rather than a CEILING. (Also in the judge’s own words).

    So actually, it turns out that we scored a victory today in our fight to uphold a law which, though very well intended, and very valiantly fought for, is unfortunately only a paper cage that failed to curb the lion anyway. So what did we gain today?

    It is plain to see that we need a lot of Racgmei Shomayim and Siyaata Dishmaya to be able to maintain the independence, integrity, and viability of our yeshivos to continue as the vehicles of transmitting the Torah Hakedoisha to our tinoikos shel beis rabban
    in the face of this terrible onslaught.

  6. So what’s going to be with all the boys that would have loved to get an English education, and the Chasidic Yeshivos don’t provide it?

    • Mr Moser did well for himself…didnt he…without a yeshiva education hmmmm. How did that happen? Just wondering. You know, learning is a lifetime pursuit…youre not happy with what your parents gave you…go ahead and improve on it…nobody stopping anyone. If there’s a will, there’s a way.Stop kvetching.

      • and what about the bochrim who didnt do as well as? and when chassidish people need help with english filling out forms will you fill them out for them?

    • I got my education in a Chasidishe Cheder in Williamsburg,
      After I was married I volunteered in a Ba’al Teshuva Yeshiva,
      Once, I had to write-up something for the other boys and I wrote it in script/cursive. One of the boys who grew up in Dallas revealed to me that he is unable to read it, since they didn’t study cursive in Public school – we in Williamsburg did.

      Regarding those FFB activists who lobby for more secular studies; those boys who did bad in Torah studies, did bad in secular studies too…

      1:15 hours a day (with good teachers), is more than enough to master a good English.

  7. Please note, the case was dismissed on a question as to whether weather the court has jurisdiction to rule on the issue. It absolutely did not find that the quality of Education was satisfactory. There is no finding regarding the quality of the education whatsoever.

  8. i vent to yesheevos mine hole lyf and i am a geenius iam so smart mor den must pipel hoo vent to pubic skool. i lerned good and plenty. vats de prablem? polytishans aint no good. dey mix inte eveyting and rooin it.


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