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Investigators Find Butcher Shop Where Yeshiva Should Be — Then Move On

New York City officials investigating allegations that yeshivas don’t provide enough secular education found a butcher shop on the ground floor of an address listed for a school that received nearly $10 million in federal funding — so they moved on, the New York Post reported.

Officials crossed the United Talmudical Academy in Brooklyn off their inspection list after finding that the site did not house a religious school, according to a report issued last week.

But the yeshiva reform group Young Advocates for Fair Education claims that the school’s administrative offices occupy at least one of the top floors. The school also has a marked mailbox at the site, the organization’s founder told the Post.

YAFFED, a group of 52 yeshiva parents, former students and others, first filed a complaint about the issue in July 2015. The group asserted that at 39 yeshivas, students were taught basic English and math from about age 7 to 13, for about 90 minutes a day. Other secular subjects were largely skipped to make room for religious studies.

New York City school chancellor Richard Carranza recently sent a 14-page letter to New York’s state education commissioner expressing his concern that 15 yeshivas haven’t let officials investigate. Nine of those schools received millions in federal funding, according to records.

Avi Schick, an attorney for the yeshivas in question, denied the city’s claim, according to the Post.

At an unrelated press conference Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio countered Schick’s statement.

“We repeatedly asked, they were evasive, they were unhelpful, he was unhelpful,” he said. “He should knock it off also. Let us into the schools so we can do our work.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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