Hassidic Jews to Be Taught English to Help Them Compete for Jobs

A pioneering city-funded program to teach English to Hassidic Jews to enhance their ability to compete for jobs was announced today by Mayor John V. Lindsay. The program, funded at about $400,000 for two 26-week cycles, will be administered by the Manpower and Career Development Agency of the city. Commissioner Joseph R. Erazo, who will administer the program, said it was designed to train Hassidic Jews whose principal language is not English to give them enough command of the language to enter the job market.

Initially, he said, the program will involve 50 Hassidic Jews divided evenly between the United Talmudical Academy, which will draw students from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and the Lubavitcher Yeshiva, which will serve the Crown Heights section. Both are among the city’s 26 designated poverty areas.

Dr. Marvin Schick, the Mayor’s Assistant for Intergroup Relations, who organized the project, said though many Hassidic Jews are second and third generation Americans, few speak or write English with enough mastery to enter the city’s job market. He said it was a strong Hassidic tradition to cling to the language of a European cultural heritage which is, for the most part. Yiddish.

HASSIDIC JEWS AMONG POOREST

Lindsay said that many Hassidic Jews were among the poorest residents of the city and that they often face discriminations in employment because of their religious practices. He added that many do not attend college and usually use Yiddish as their primary language.

Citing a “large increase” in the city’s Hassidic population. Lindsay declared that “it has become apparent that government has a responsibility to meet the needs of these people.” He noted that for some time, the city has had a number of special programs to provide job training and other services for Hassidic youth “and now we are reviewing plans for an extension of these efforts,” including the new English language program.

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