Thank you for your service

November 13, 2017

Today is Veteran's Day in the US. Words cannot express our gratitude for those who have risked their lives to protect our freedoms. So if you, or a family member has served in the military, thank you for your service. This week's also marked the  conclusion of another election cycle.

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Voting is our voice

November 3, 2017

Most weeks this newsletter focuses on the 'tuition crisis" and how we help struggling parents afford day school tuition and help Jewish schools meet the needs of every child, as highlighted by the recent Yeshiva Expo. One division of Agudath Israel that is rarely mentioned on these pages is the Southern Brooklyn Community Organization, which is working to solv

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"My friend David" "My friend Deborah" "My friend Leah" "My friend Avrohom" Attending Agudath Israel's inaugural Yeshiva Expo in Brooklyn this week, I was struck by how many top New York State officials were on a first name basis with our staff and, more importantly, their genuine respect and admiration for my colleagues. While the sellout crowd benefited tremendously from the networking and practical sessions, I came away from the eve

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"If you're not at the table, you may be on the menu." That's a quote I often heard from my former boss, Rabbi Yehiel Kalish. The origins of the quote are unclear, but I used it as the title of a presentation I gave this week at the Indianan Non Public Administrators' Conference (

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Betrayal of core values

September 8, 2017

Just as Texas families are returning to their homes to assess the damage and rebuild, millions of Americans, including a significant number of Jewish families, are leaving their homes or getting prepared to face one of the most powerful hurricanes in recent history. Agudath Israel leaders are coordinating with other organizations in order to be able to respond

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It's hard to believe, but it looks like blue state Illinois will, in fact, get a robust school choice program. Although nothing is official yet, Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders have agreed to a historic education funding deal which includes a $75 million tax credit program that will generate $100 million in scholarship funds for middle and low-income students in Illinois. Agudath Israel's Illinois director for government affairs, Ra

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An odious message

August 18, 2017

As a grandson of Holocaust survivors, I found it frightening to begin the week, seeing images of neo-Nazis marching on the streets of America. I was hoping that by week's end I would be comforted somewhat, knowing that our elected leaders and all upstanding citizens unequivocally repudiate all forms of racial and religious bigotry and hatred. Sadly, there is much work yet to be done on the local and national level. The eruv controversy in Mah

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We dare not be silent

August 11, 2017

This week's newsletter goes coast to coast, and everywhere in between. In a report from the West Coast, our California chairman discusses security funding, and on the other side of the country, our Florida director

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A Tale of Two States

July 7, 2017

It took a government shutdown in New Jersey and two years (and a last minute hazmat scare) in Illinois, but finally, both states passed an operating budget. While Agudath Israel doesn't take positions on many of the thorny issues at the center of any budget debate, our directors worked tirelessly to ensure that their legislative leaders understood the Orthodox Jewish community's needs and priorities. These successful efforts entailed missions to

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The stakes are higher

July 3, 2017

What a week for religious freedom! While ostensibly about using recycled tires to resurface a playground, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer will likely have major implications on other religious freedom cases. Monday's ruling related to Missouri's Blaine Amendment which prohibits governments from funding religious organizations, and as Justice Sotomayor wrote, "the stakes are higher." Aside from our official statement

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