A Call to Violence?

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. A Call to Violence?
2. School Board Meeting Tuesday Oct 17
3. Why I Care

1) A Call to Violence?

A major Ultra-Orthodox newspaper has published an op-ed which appears to implicitly incite violence against organizers of the education advocacy group YAFFED.

The author equates providing education with stabbing a knife into a baby, and uses the term “Rodef” in his analogy. Rodef is an ancient Jewish legal term which justifies killing as a defense. Its most well known modern reference was in relation to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The use of this religious legal term is analyzed and explained by Philologos in the Jewish Daily Forward.

The use of this threatening term, and the comparison of education to stabbing a baby, are hateful and divisive. Please contact Hamodia and demand an unequivocal condemnation and retraction of this piece and a commitment to reject any future input from this author. Phone: (718) 853-9094 Email: info@hamodia.com

2) School Board Meeting Tuesday Oct 17

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the East Ramapo Central School District, 105 South Madison Ave, Spring Valley, New York, for development and annual revision of a strategic academic plan and a comprehensive expenditure plan. Followed by an Audit Committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. to receive the report of the external auditor. The followed by a regular meeting.

Please make every effort to attend this important meeting!

3) Why I Care

Our human family has been through a lot. Not so long ago we hadn’t figured out how to harness electricity. The smallest thing we knew of was the smallest thing you could see with your naked eye. No one knew how far away the sun or the stars were. Diseases were mysterious; there was no way of knowing anything as tiny as a microbe existed, or that it could kill you.

All of the knowledge and technology that we use and take for granted every day was obtained through magnificent effort, by men and women who spent their lives increasing the library of human knowledge and achievement. They did this often in the most difficult of circumstances, overcoming war and oppression and ignorance.

This body of work has allowed us to travel, to communicate, and to fend off disease. The legacy belongs equally to all human beings. It is just as wrong to deny a child the light of knowledge as it is to deny a lifesaving medicine derived from that knowledge. One of the greatest contributions of science is the knowledge that we are all one family, linked by our 23 pairs of DNA.

This great storehouse of knowledge is an even more essential inheritance than any notarized will. Every one of us shares in the duty of executor of this greatest inheritance. This is why public education cannot be some line item on anyone’s balance sheet.

This is why ALL schools need to be safe, inviting, hospitable centers of learning and inquiry. This is why the state has a ethical duty, and in NY a constitutional obligation, to ensure that every child receives this inheritance, whether the child is in a public or non-public educational institution or in the home.

Not every child is receiving a quality education. The reason for this embarrassment is lack of political will. There are still too many people who don’t see all children as OUR children, and say “why should I pay for someone else’s child?”

There are even people who oppose education (but who hypocritically use all the technologies that are generated by it).

Malala was shot in the face for going to school. There is a group called Boko Haram in Nigeria whose name actually means “Western education is forbidden”. Here in NY the Grand Rabbi of the Kiryas Joel Satmar has characterized subjects taught in public school as “disgusting”. He said he is glad that NY State has “turned a blind eye” to children in yeshivas who aren’t learning “general studies” (the subjects most people call English, Math, Science, and History).

There are many organizations advocating for better education. Malala survived the attempt on her life and has gone on to help educate many girls in her home country and around the world, including victims of Boko Haram. YAFFED is an organization in NY holding officials accountable for their duties under NY law.

As we commemorate 5 years since the violence perpetrated against Malala Yousafzai for standing up for the rights of Pakistani girls to an education, we are reminded that education activists in NY are not immune from enduring violence, or the threat thereof, at the hands of extremists.

Please visit www.yaffed.org and sign their petition, contribute to their cause, like their Facebook page, or just send a message of encouragement. 

Because we have come far enough to know that there is only one race, the human race, and every child is equally all of our future.


School Board Loses in Court Again

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Judge: East Ramapo Violated Open Meetings Law
2. Chiku Awali Open House
3. Community Forum on Ending the School To Prison Pipeline

1) Judge: East Ramapo Violated Open Meetings Law

The NY State Supreme Court has reversed an action taken in 2014 by the East Ramapo school board. 

The school board voted to layoff of bus drivers, based on discussions they had in executive session. However, the judge found that the board failed to give adequate justification for hiding their discussion from the public. The judge also found that “the Board of Education has engaged in a persistent pattern of deliberate violations of the letter and spirit of the Open Meetings Law”.

Why has the school board been so obsessive about getting rid of buses and drivers, to the point that they are breaking the law to do it? The explanation may be that the land used for the bus depot is desired by developers or other corporate entities. This is what happened with Hillcrest Elementary and Colton elementary. Schools were closed and sold, not because that was in the best interest of the district or in pursuit of the stated mission and goals of the district, but because the majority on the school board had a different mission. 

How often has the board entered into illegal, secret discussions? For what purposes? How many other actions are being taken based on secret, private, illegal conversations? Is the mandate of the Open Meetings Law being routinely thwarted by thinly veiled references to the exceptions the law allows?

This is not the last we will hear of this. There is still the question of damages. Will there be back pay? Legal fees? 

2) Chiku Awali Open House

Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts & Culture, Inc. invites you to our open house


10:30 am—12:30pm The Excellence Club for ages 5 and older
12:30pm—1:30pm Drumming and Percussion Instruments
1:30pm—2:30pm Dance and Introducing Zumba
2:30pm—4:00pm Life Skills Enrichment for ages 11 and older

Refreshments served

Louis Kurtz Civic Center
9 North Main Street Spring Valley, NY 10977

For Information Call (845)357-5062 or Email: info@chikuawali.org,

3) Community Forum on Ending the School To Prison Pipeline

Protecting Our Youth: Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

A special community forum by Rockland Coalition to End the New Jim Crow
Presenting the Film: The School to Prison Pipeline, featuring our guest speaker Mr. Five Mualimm-ak, human rights defender and co-founder of Incarcerated Nation Corp (INC)

Finkelstein Memorial Library
24 Chestnut St., Spring Valley, NY 10977


In partnership with:

CEJJES Institute, Creative Response to Conflict (CRC), Helping Hands, Hudson Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA), Nyack NAACP, Power of Ten, Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation, Rockland Citizens Action Network, Spring Valley NAACP, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockland,United Methodist Church of New City