Frum Family Caught Between Faith, Public School Community


cedarhurstNew York Newsday reports:
The Fineberg family moved from Queens to Cedarhurst when their older son was about to enter kindergarten because they had heard the Lawrence school district provided outstanding special education and a commitment to serving even severely disabled children. Yehoshua, now 11, is autistic, as is his brother, Raffi, 9.It was a move that proved beneficial for the boys, a curious and friendly duo. But the Finebergs, who are Orthodox Jews, always envisioned their children attending yeshiva. “It’s not just a religion, it’s an entire lifestyle,” said Suri Fineberg, explaining that her faith guides what she wears, eats and where she educates her children.

“I always felt like I’m put in a funny position,” said Fineberg, 33. “I’m Orthodox, this is where I live. But on the other hand, we’re part of the public school community.”

Fineberg said she held her tongue about the tensions in the district until a board meeting last month, when she spoke against the decision to close Number Six School, which her boys attend.

Her husband, Jeremy, 38, said he wants more transparency from the board and understands why some parents don’t trust it. But he also understands complaints from the Orthodox Jewish community about high property taxes.

The Finebergs see some signs of community healing: board member Asher Mansdorf attending many Lawrence school functions; the outpouring of support from all segments of the community when a mother and three children died in a February fire.

Part of the solution, Jeremy Fineberg said, is more balance on the board. “I think there needs to be an equal amount of representation on both sides,” he said.

{NY Newsday/Elisha Newscenter}


  1. How ignorant you are? Don’t you think we would choose “Daas Torah” if any school would accept and be able to educate our children? Last I checked, the yeshivas out there didn’t accept severely autistic children. So far, most yehsivas prefer their nine year olds to be toilet trained before “Daas Torah”