Null and Void

“Null and void.” With those words, Judge Christina Ryba of New York’s Supreme Court struck down the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) onerous guidelines for nonpublic schools. To read our statement and to read the full decision see here.

In advance of the holiday of Pesach, three of my Agudah colleagues, Rabbis Zwiebel, Cohen and Sadwin, joined our chairman of the board Sol Werdiger, at a White House reception on Tuesday. More than 50 Jewish leaders attended the gathering which featured remarks from US Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr, and Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. Rabbi Cohen also attended Mr. Carr’s swearing-in ceremony at the State Department last week, where the picture below was taken.

 On Friday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security posted its FY 2019 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Notice of Funding Opportunity.If your nonprofit is interested in applying for a grant, please see a summary of the key changes here and act quickly as the deadline to submit an application to your state agency is likely a week or two after Pesach. Agudath Israel has spent more than a decade working with the Jewish Federations of North America and other Jewish groups at the forefront of creating and maintaining the $60 million Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides funding for security enhancements for nonprofits that are at high risk of terror attacks. 

New York State Assemblymembers and Steve Cymbrowitz visited the site of the Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO) Culver El Housing project in Boro Park this week. SBCO, under the direction of my colleague, Rabbi Avrohom Jaffe, is the housing division of Agudath Israel of America with a long history of affordable housing development in Boro Park and surrounding areas (see here).

As many states near the end of their legislative sessions, several legislatures are still trying to enact or significantly expand their menu of school choice options:

  • A conference committee in Indiana is meeting today and will determine whether or not more families will benefit from the state’s voucher program.
  • In Florida, competing scholarship expansion bills SB 7070 and HB 7075continue to make their way through the legislative process.
  • Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account proposal is thankfully moving forward (we prefer the Senate version there!).
  • In Nevada, Jewish school leaders traveled to Carson City to try to preserve the popular Opportunity Scholarship tax credit program that is helping thousands of students including many choosing Jewish schools. Unfortunately, the Assembly passed a bill to stop the growth of that program which now heads to the Senate.

Thank you to our friends at EdChoice, who just released an in-depth review of the available research on private school choice programs in America which you can find here: https://www.edchoice.org/research/the-123s-of-school-choice/ 

Measles Update: See below

Finally, my colleague, Rabbi Avi Shafran, wrote a thought-provoking op-ed published by Fox News about suicide (see here).

On behalf of the board and staff of Agudath Israel of America, we wish you and your family a Happy Pesach/ Chag Kasher V’Sameach!