Talmud Torah Principals Discuss New Budget Procedures
By Yechiel Sever
Following the publication of the new budget procedure for talmudei Torah, dozens of talmud Torah principals from around the country held an emergency meeting in Bnei Brak at the home of HaRav Nosson Zochovsky, a member of Vaadas HaRabbonim LeInyonei Chinuch, along with the other members of Vaadas HaRabbonim, joined by HaRav Meir Kessler, HaRav Mordechai Stern and HaRav Yaakov Dovid Weizman, as well as public representatives, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, Public Petitions Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Uri Maklev and Deputy Education Minister MK Rabbi Meir Porush.
The meeting opened with remarks by members of Vaadas HaRabbonim, who cited the explicit directives issued by gedolei Yisroel past and present instructing "all educational institutions to preserve their independence as `exempt institutions' and not to entertain any thoughts of switching to another framework, despite recent efforts by various figures to persuade principals to change to other frameworks that do not meet the approval of the leading rabbonim."
The principals then drew the public representatives' attention to several problematic paragraphs in the new budget procedure recently sent to educational institutions, both new and old. The Deputy Education Minister noted that although much effort had gone into preparing the new procedure and adapting it to the needs of the chareidi public, some faults might remain, but every request will be reviewed. Any compromising of the independence of the talmudei Torah and other chareidi educational institutions will not be tolerated, he said.
He told all Education Ministry officials that the independence of the exempt institutions is not a matter open for discussion and they must retain absolute independence, including oversight and curriculum, Rabbi Porush added.