In an op-ed last week (“Chassidic Yeshivas Are Shirking Their Duty”), Dr. Yitzchok Levine lobs considerable artillery shells at the “yeshiva amendment” advocated by State Senator Simcha Felder and others.

Dr. Levine’s criticism was undoubtedly well-intentioned, but perhaps not fully informed on two key points. Without a full understanding of what the new law says and what it could have said, I’m afraid Dr. Levine is firing his missiles at a phantom target.

Some may argue this level of state oversight is uncalled for in an independent school environment. Others may assert these standards are not rigorous enough. In any balance struck, there will be those who might have preferred the scales lean one way or another. But at least now there is an articulated standard, and Dr. Levine, and true secular education advocates, should applaud that.

Do we want our schools relegated to unfunded, bureaucratic vassals of the state, required to teach secular studies from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. followed by an anemic limudei kodesh program?

Many of our yeshivos have excellent secular studies departments. Some may have some way to go. But our yeshivos are not public schools, and I – among others – will fight for them to continue not to be.

To read the entire op-ed in the Jewish Press click here