TAG | spending
In the Hasidic enclave of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, there are many things that women can’t or just don’t do: Be counted as one of the 10 people needed to make up a minyan, or prayer quorum. Walk around in pants. But vote?
According to the bylaws of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, a social service agency and community pillar that has received millions of dollars in government grants over the years, only those who meet the following requirements can vote for its leadership:
Jewish and religiously observant residents of Crown Heights
Married, previously married or at least 30 years old
Now Eliyahu Federman, a Crown Heights resident and recent law school graduate, is challenging that last requirement, saying he believes it to be unconstitutional.
In Crown Heights, religion and life are inextricably interwoven. But the council itself is not a religious organization, Mr. Federman argues. And in 2008, according to the most recent tax filings available, the council received $1.9 million in government grants. “Women, especially widows and divorcees, are gravely impacted by decisions regarding the distribution of food stamps, housing subsidies and other vital social services” that the council handles, Mr. Federman, 26, wrote in an April 7 letter to the council and the local rabbinical court. “It should hurt us to see religion being misapplied to wrongfully subjugate women in a context that has no basis under Jewish law and is probably unconstitutional.”
Since Mr. Federman first raised the issue, in 2009, he has heard several explanations for the policy: that voting is immodest, that this is how it’s always been done — and that allotting women votes could sow discord among married couples, working against the ideal of “Shalom Bayit,” or marital tranquility.
Comments off · Posted by Andrew Stuttaford in Uncategorized
Via the New York Times (emphasis added):
The state budget plan that moved toward enactment on Wednesday calls for 10 percent cuts in aid to public colleges and universities, but it would add about $18 million a year in tuition assistance for students attending some private religious schools.
The added money would be available to any theological student who met a new set of criteria for the state’s so-called Tuition Assistance Program grants. The major potential beneficiaries would be an estimated 5,000 men who attend dozens of Orthodox rabbinical schools in New York, state officials and religious leaders said.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat whose Brooklyn district includes a large Orthodox population, called the additional financing “a matter of equity, to rectify the fact that New York State has denied rabbinical college students tuition assistance for all these years.”
Mr. Hikind and other lawmakers have sought unsuccessfully for about 10 years to adopt the new criteria by amending the Tuition Assistance Program rules, eliminating a long-established ban on state tuition assistance for undergraduate students who attend religious schools, like yeshivas, that are not chartered by the state Board of Regents.
In negotiations this month, Republican leaders in the Senate asked that the new rules be included as part of the 2011-12 budget agreement. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Democratic leaders in the Assembly have agreed, said Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the State Division of the Budget.
U.S. military programs will not necessarily be exempt from sharp spending cuts Republicans in the House of Representatives plan to put forward in coming months, incoming House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said on Tuesday.
House Republicans have previously said defense and domestic security programs would be exempt from their efforts to trim $100 billion from the U.S. budget.
But speaking on the day before his party takes control of the House, Cantor did not rule out defense cuts. “Everything is going to have to be on the table,” he told reporters.
Over at TMP Cafe there is a discussiona bout Red State, Blue State. This post has an interesting snippet:
…But before we grab on to such a U.S.-centric explanation, it is worth noting that John Huber and Piero Stanig have compiled data showing that poor religious voters in Europe are more likely than low-income secular voters to support parties promoting economically liberal policies (in the European sense of the term). So any explanation of the phenomenon ought to have a passport.