Last Tuesday, Agudath Israel’s Maryland director Rabbi Ariel Sadwin was a guest of Rep. John Sarbanes to attend the historic address of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress.
On Wednesday, back in Annapolis, over 750 nonpublic school students from across the state joined in the advocacy rally for the Maryland Education Credit/BOAST Bill. The rally began with several short speeches to the entire gathering to energize the students before they went off to lobby their legislators. Among the speakers were, Governor Larry Hogan, Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Senate President Mike Miller, and Rabbi Sadwin. Representing the Jewish schools was a group of seniors from the Yeshiva of Greater Washington – Girls Division, led by Mrs. Sima Jacoby.
On Friday, the House of Delegates held their hearing for the physician-assisted suicide bill. The hearing took place as a joint committee hearing, bringing the Judiciary Committee and Health & Government Operations Committee together for what was an eight hour hearing. Rabbi Sadwin delivered testimony on behalf of Agudath Israel, as well as on behalf of the entire organized Jewish community of Maryland – which included the state’s three Jewish federations (Baltimore, Greater Washington and Howard County), emphatically opposing the bill and its assault on the sanctity of life.
This week in Annapolis, the Senate held its hearing for the physician-assisted suicide bill. Once again, the opponents of the bill presented a very strong opposition, casting unexpected doubt for the bill’s chance of passing.
On Wednesday and Thursday, both House Appropriations and Senate Budget & Tax committees heard testimony on the aging schools construction program. This item was removed from the state’s capital budget after two years of vital allocations to the nonpublic schools. At the hearings, nonpublic school advocates requested that the funding – a modest, but nonetheless vital allocation – be reinstated to the capital budget to allow the program to continue. Much effort has been put forth by the nonpublic school coalition leaders, Agudath Israel’s Rabbi Sadwin and Garrett O’Day of the Catholic Conference, to ensure the program operates smoothly for the nearly 300 participating nonpublic schools. Joining in at Wednesday’s hearing to testify in support of the program, was Rabbi Yaacov Cohen of Talmudical Academy of Baltimore.