Investigating Hasidic Schools in New York

Scores of Hasidic Jewish religious schools are failing to provide a basic education to students, The New York Times’ Brian Rosenthal and Eliza Shapiro found. (EWA Radio Episode 304)

Photo credit: Bigstock

Headshot credit: Courtesy of Brian Rosenthal


Some Hasidic Jewish boys in New York were denied basic education in reading, math and social studies, a New York Times investigation found. These students also received harsh physical punishments and experienced textbook censorship in Hasidic boys’ schools.

Brian Rosenthal* and Eliza Shapiro of The New York Times spent more than a year investigating these religious schools. They read thousands of documents (many translated from Yiddish), interviewed almost 300 people, and analyzed millions of rows of data about Hasidic schools. Their dogged reporting found that these boys are not simply falling behind.

“They are suffering from levels of educational deprivation not seen anywhere else in New York. Only nine schools in the state had less than 1% of students testing at grade level in 2019, all of them were Hasidic boys’ schools.”

Rosenthal talks about the work that went into the piece, “In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools, Flush With Public Money.” He also shares what he thinks about when covering communities he’s not a part of, how he deals with criticism and why he’s not done with this story.

* EWA members may remember Rosenthal as the 2017 recipient of the Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting forDenied: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education.” Rosenthal wrote the piece when he was at the Houston Chronicle.

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