Hasidic schools are held to a different standard of education. Should they be?

One of the branches of United Talmudic Academy, a Hasidic school network in New York. The UTA and other Hasidic schools were the subject of a scathing New York Times investigation in Sept. 2022. (Google Maps screenshot)

New York’s Jews weren’t surprised when The New York Times published an exposé on significant issues plaguing Hasidic schools in the state. The local Jewish community had been reporting this story for over a year, even circulating summaries to some of the schools in question, hoping for comment once they knew the mainstream story was imminent. Even outside media circles, any current or ex-Hasid knows these issues, and will usually be eagerly to discuss their school system, either out of pride or frustration.

Canadian Jews also know about these issues, because for eight years, reporters have been covering a case wherein the Quebec government was being sued for providing inadequate secular studies in Hasidic schools, despite funding and oversight by the education ministry. To discuss these realities in the Canadian context, we’re joined by Shane Dussault Ovadia, a teacher and principal’s assistant at Yeshiva Toras Moshe de Montréal, and Shifra and Yohanen Lowen, the plaintiffs in the case against the Quebec government.

Plus, cookbook author Jake Cohen joins to discuss High Holiday eating around a mixed Jewish dinner table, and we give a special nachas to Marvel’s first Israeli superhero.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.