While much of Agudath Israel’s advocacy work centers on education, saving lives and protecting religious freedom is a critical part of our mission. I encourage you to read about a recent meeting in Albany organized by Agudath Israel to oppose physician-assisted suicide.

Education is still a top priority and this week brought a great victory and some disappointment. Thanks to the hard work of our Maryland director Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, his coalition, and key elected officials, the Maryland General Assembly not only reinstated funding for the BOOST scholarship program, but even increased the funding amount!

Rabbi Ariel Sadwin introducing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan at a recent rally in Annapolis

Rabbi Ariel Sadwin introducing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan at a recent rally in Annapolis

Unfortunately, the celebration in Texas over a scholarship program that passed the Senate was bittersweet as the slimmed down version limits the program to specific urban areas, lowered the income threshold for eligible families, and requires all students to attend a public school prior to applying for a scholarship. While the advancement of the bill is good news to many Texas families, the newer version ignores the sacrifices many private school parents have already made to transfer their students to the school that works best for their child.

With Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Cullerton

With Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Cullerton

I had the pleasure of spending time with several colleagues this week, and it served as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have such knowledgeable and hardworking individuals as part of our team. I began  my week in DC with Rabbi Abba Cohen and others to discuss the potential of federal school choice programs, I then headed to Springfield, Illinois to join Rabbi Soroka on his annual mission, and finally returned to Cincinnati where Rabbi Yitz Frank and I met with Jewish day school leaders to discuss a new voucher proposal he is working on.

(Author: Rabbi A.D. Motzen, National Director of State Relations)