A rabbi, a conservative Republican Catholic, and a liberal African American Democrat walk into a room.” No, it isn’t the beginning of a joke, but it was the way Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted began his keynote address at the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (CHDS) 70th anniversary dinner on Sunday.
The humorous opening was a reference to the creation of Ohio’s statewide school voucher program in 2005. Husted, the former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, explained that he and former State Representative Dixie Allen (D-Dayton) drafted the original legislation, but that dinner honoree, Rabbi A.D. Motzen, was there “every step in the journey. He not only helped enact EdChoice, but he helped save it.” The EdChoice program currently serves nearly 30,000 students including a majority of students at CHDS.
The event was held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and honored Rabbi and Mrs. Motzen for their contributions to the school and wider community. “We are here to celebrate Freedom,” said Secretary Husted, “but from Egypt to Israel, from Selma to Cincinnati, Freedom has never come easy. We came together to help children trapped in chronically failing schools get a chance at a quality education, to revitalize our cities, and to help make education about children and not a system. Rabbi Motzen was part of one the most special things that I’ve done in public service and one of the most important things we did in Ohio in the last twenty years.”