In Powerful Speech, New York City Mayor Eric Adams Praises Yeshiva Education, Blasts Criticism
NYC Mayor Eric Adams pledged support for yeshivas and said public schools should emulate them, pushing back on scrutiny the Chasidic Orthodox day schools have received for reportedly falling far short of state educational requirements, among other alleged malfeasance.
In a speech delivered last Wednesday at an event held by the Orthodox Union, the New York City mayor suggested that the city’s public schools were failing students and should follow the yeshivas’ example.
“But instead of us focusing on, how do we duplicate the success of improving our children, we attack the yeshivas that are providing a quality education that is embracing our children,” he said.
He added, “But we’re asking, ‘What are you doing in your schools?’ We need to ask, ‘What are we doing wrong in our schools?’ And learn what you are doing in the yeshivas to improve education.”
Since September, the New York Times has launched a targeted smear campaign against yeshivas, publishing a series of articles aiming to discredit their education.
The Times’ investigative series has drawn criticism from Orthodox community leaders and others, who have portrayed it as a false and misleading attack on the Charedi community.
Conservative think tanks have published analyses alleging that the series paints yeshivas with too broad a brush, and that the reporting relies on inaccurate data and unethical journalistic practices. Agudath Israel of America, a Charedi umbrella group, launched a campaign claiming that the articles were fueling rising antisemitism in the city, and charged that the Times “conducted a smear campaign against Orthodox Jewish and Chasidic private schools — and their communities’ entire way of life — in a way that can increase the already alarming number of attacks.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, echoed those complaints in a recent speech, saying the Times’ coverage has reflected ”the kind of antisemitism we know all too well.”
In his speech, Adams also said he doesn’t “apologize for believing in God,” and added, “We are a country of faith and belief, and we should have it anywhere possible to educate and to help uplift our children in the process.” The remarks recalled comments he made in March, when he said, “Our challenge is not economics, our challenge is not finance, our challenge is faith — people have lost their faith.”