Agudath Israel of America joined elected officials and other advocates at a City Hall press conference earlier today announcing a $1 million pilot program to provide kosher and halal meals to students in public and private schools.

The pilot program was announced by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, who spearheaded the effort. Agudath Israel has long been concerned that thousands of schoolchildren both Jewish and Muslim are unable to partake of school lunches. Many of these children either go hungry or bring inferior food from home while their classmates enjoy a full nutritious lunch.

Representing Agudath Israel at the press conference was Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Director of New York Government Relations. Rabbi Silber thanked Speaker Johnson, Councilmember Deutsch and the other elected officials and advocates behind this effort. He called for the pilot program to be expanded further and for the state legislature to pass Assembly Bill 7231 introduced by Assemblymember David Weprin which would provide kosher and halal options in public schools.

“We strongly support these various efforts to provide kosher and halal options to public school students” said Rabbi Silber. “No child should have to choose between their religion and a nutritious lunch.”