Devastated and heartbroken

“Devastated and heartbroken”. Those were the opening words of our condolence message to the Pittsburgh Jewish community which was placed in the local Jewish paper and in newspapers across the country. My children have always loved visiting the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Tragically, it will now be remembered as the site of the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States. We mourn for the victims and their families.

To read Agudath Israel of America’s statement the night after the shooting, click here.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Agudath Israel has received many questions from schools and synagogues about security. This article in Hamodia includes interviews with Rabbis Zwiebel, Frank, and yours truly about some of the questions and reactions related to security. Our Yeshiva Services office sent out an email to our New York schools with helpful information including links to training webinars, free active shooter training, and grant opportunities and some of our state directors did the same.

On the federal level, we will redouble our efforts to secure funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Please go to our Action Center and click on the links to contact Congress and ask them to approve and fully fund this much needed program.

In New Jersey, a statewide effort to increase security funding for nonpublic school students is gaining steam. New Jersey residents should  please click here and take action today.

At the New York Yeshiva Summit last week, Lt. Governor Hochul spoke about the Cuomo administration’s commitment to secure schools in advance of the $10 million security funding that was formally announced a few days later by Governor Cuomo. More information can be found here. For a full recap of the summit including pictures and videos see here.

When faced with tragedy, the Jewish community comes together. This week, Agudath Israel formally signed the contract with MetLife Stadium (click here for article and pictures) for the 13th Siyum Hashas – the largest celebration of Jewish learning in the world. The Siyum will be held on January 1st, 2020 and will serve to unify hundreds of thousands of Jews across the world in the study of Torah. The video below was shown at the signing ceremony.

Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day, which means the ads will stop on Wednesday. But first you have to vote! Every one of our offices is busy encouraging our community to vote, but please do your part. Make sure all of your friends and family vote.

There are significant issues facing us and it is vital that our voices be heard. Government officials must know that our community has a voice and is willing to use it to stand up for our rights. Decisions at the highest level of government are often based upon which communities make their voices heard.

It is thus imperative that each and every one of us takes time to vote. The future of our communities, our children, our schools, and the freedom to practice our way of life may be at stake.