I read Chengbin Xu’s letter (“Asians and Jews Uniting,” May 3) with much appreciation for the writer’s recognition of shared history and values of Jews and Asians. Indeed, my husband’s distant relative Rabbi Moshe Shatzkes brought the students and scholars of the Mir Yeshiva from Vilna, Lithuania, to Shanghai, China, during World War II. This is an important piece of history to which the writer refers.
I take exception with the author’s implication that the people in the community who voted against the prior bond have aimed to “ruin” the Great Neck Public Schools. Yeshiva parents greatly appreciate the benefits that they receive from the GNPS, including busing, textbooks, technology, school nurses and psychologists, as well as some therapy for special-education students. They understand well that their high taxes support an incredible public school system, which they benefit from in their home values and high quality of neighborhood life.
However, they also feel doubly burdened by supporting the GNPS as well as their own schools. When their private schools have needed major capital improvements, they must fundraise amongst themselves. Many badly needed projects have gone unfunded, despite the constant generosity of their supporters. Additionally, yeshiva parents often continue to support the schools well after their children have graduated.
Many of the people who voted against the prior bond are not against improving the GNPS. Their votes were a collective message to the board to reevaluate their proposal. The yeshiva schools in Great Neck are all excellent institutions that must prioritize their needs. Just as they have had to make hard choices, so do the public schools.
The school board has responded to the vote with a reasonable lower bond proposal. I will not be surprised if the revised bond passes, as yeshiva parents like myself appreciate the efforts of the school board to lower the cost to overburdened taxpayers. The people who want to “ruin” the GNPS are surely the exception. It is about time for others in this town to appreciate the people who support and care deeply for both the public and private schools.
—Nadine E. Shatzkes