A haredi community activist is told by rabbis that he must drop out of politics and do nothing to benefit the Jewish community without their prior approval. If he won't agree, his daughters will not be accepted into Lakewood schools.
I spoke with Hershel Hershkowitz yesterday, He told me that the following letter was given to him. Hershkowitz was told to sign it. If he refused to sign, he was told that two of his daughters would not be accepted into Lakewood schools.
I'm told that threats to ban students from Lakewood schools unless the parents do something the rabbis want – shut off their Internet connection, stop watching DVDs of Lost, agree to not oppose a building project the rabbis want, etc. – is common.
Hershkowitz refused to sign, and sent both daughters to out of town schools.
Note that the letter forbids him from being involved in Lakewood politics, meaning he couldn't run for office or campaign for other candidates.
Hershkowitz lost a close election for a city office against a candidate who was backed by Bais Medresh Govoha, better known as Lakewood Yeshiva, and by Lakewood's Jewish va'ad.
I think that may make the letter and the rabbis' threats illegal.
Even if they are not illegal, that are immoral and unethical.
Using children as pawns is never acceptable.
That is a lesson Lakewood's rabbis need to be taught
[Even though I didn't get the letter from him, and even though the letter has been emailed and faxed all over Lakewood, I should mention that Rabbi Yudel Shain posted the letter on his blog a couple days ago.]