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Advocate For Secular Education In Yeshivas Received Death Threats

The founder of a group advocating for improved secular education in ultra-Orthodox schools says he received a death threat last week, following months of harassment on social media.

“I want to tell you that I will kill you soon with God’s help, and very soon you will be dead and your blood will be spilled,” the message said in Yiddish, according to Naftuli Moster, the founder of Young Advocates For Fair Education (YAFFED).

Moster told the Forward on Thursday that he started the organization to improve the enforcement of secular education policies in Hasidic schools, where tens of thousands of students, especially boys, are not being taught math and science.

Moster insisted that he wants to preserve the Jewish elements of yeshivas. “We are in no way trying to make the schools public schools,” Moster said.

But he claimed that some in the Hasidic community “just want to preserve the status quo. They’re trying to paint us as outside assimilators.”

The voicemail had more criticism of Moster. “You evil person, you silly person that you are. Idiot, … fool, animal… Go to hell and don’t come back. Stay there no one needs you here and fool, idiot, animal that you are. You evil devil,” it continued.

Moster also spoke of an earlier incident, in which a Hasidic legislator from Rockland County harassed him on Twitter and posted his former home address and current cellphone number.

Moster, who made the Forward 50 in 2015, told the Forward that he is worried about his family’s safety. But he ensured that his advocacy work will continue.

“We reported it to the police. We blasted it on social media. We’re not going to be intimidated,” he told the Forward.

Contact Haley Cohen at hcohen@forward.com

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