Yeshiva Parents in Suffern Get Noticed after 1,500 Cast Votes for Jewish Write-in Candidates
By Sarah Morgenstern
The Jewish community of Rockland County sent shockwaves through New York yesterday when 1,500 residents came out to write in school board candidates Joanna Klein and Asher Wieder, after two other Orthodox residents were disqualified on technicalities from running.
Although Jews comprise 30% of the Suffern Central School Board (SCSB), no yeshiva parents yet serve on the board, which currently does not provide adequate busing, nor Titles I and II services for children who attend yeshivas.
The write-in candidates did not win school board seats, and the incumbents won and voted to adopt the budget that the write-in candidates opposed because they felt the private school community members were not getting any services in exchange for the tax dollars they were contributing.
Nevertheless, yesterday's record-breaking voter turnout could still ensure that the needs of the children who attend yeshivas in Suffern will finally get heard.
“We rallied our constituents, we mobilized, and came out in massive numbers,” said Lieby Breuer, who planned to run for the school board, but he was disqualified after his driver’s license did not list his address in Suffern for one full year before the election. “We came out like never before, and we were noticed.”
“I can promise you one thing Suffern: we won buses for our kids,” Breuer told Rockland Daily.” We cannot be dismissed any longer. We represent a vote and a unity that cannot be denied."
SCSC Board President Matthew Kern said, yesterday's voter turnout was the "largest he has ever seen."
“The board heard us, the media heard us, the town and the county heard us. Albany heard us.”
In fact, Breuer related that he received phone calls yesterday from both the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul and from a liaison from the office of NY Attorney General Letitia James.
“Suffern school district will be changed.”
While thanking the parents of yeshiva children who came out to vote for their “participation, support, and efforts,” Breuer said, “The campaign we had is not over. It was just the beginning of the bigger campaign to make sure our kids get the seats on the bus and the Titles I and II tutoring they deserve.”