Kiryas Joel’s chief rabbi criticizes state, calls lawmaker ‘wicked and evil’

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KIRYAS JOEL -

Aron Teitelbaum, the chief rabbi of the Satmar community in Kiryas Joel, essentially declared “war” on the state, and called Sen.-elect James Skoufis "wicked and evil" during a speech in front of thousands on Wednesday.

In a 90-minute speech, Satmar Grand Rebbe Teitelbaum criticized new mandates requiring never-before-seen oversight in private religious schools, including yeshivas.

He directed religious leaders to ignore new state mandates to teach non-religious studies in the same manner taught in public schools.

"It is clear to see the results of our educational system versus theirs,” said Teitelbaum. “We don't produce killers and others who perpetuate violence. We don't have drug dealers and thieves and our students are far more successful than public school graduates."

Teitelbaum continued during his speech in Brooklyn to slam state Sen.-elect and current Assemblyman James Skoufis, who will be in charge of representing the Hassidic community of Kiryas Joel.

Skoufis responded: "There's going to be a new sheriff in town and if there's anything wicked, it's this preferential treatment some politicians give Kiryas Joel. That's going to end on my watch."

Teitelbaum accuses the state of trying to prohibit Jewish education and infringe on their constitutional rights.

Yaffed Executive Director and education activist Naftuli Moster disagrees, and said in a written statement: "As it is, the state did give Orthodox Yeshivas special considerations. So what he seems to be saying is that he wants even more special treatment. Rabbi Teitelbaum should pursue cooperative and constructive relationships, based on mutual respect, with the government and with his neighbors. There does need to be a balance. You can't get into a balance if you're declaring war on New York state."

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