“Sorry, I have a call with the president of the United States at that time!”

I’ve always wanted to use that excuse and yesterday I was finally able to do so.

Although there were hundreds of others rabbis and Jewish leaders on the conference call, including many of my Agudath Israel colleagues, it still was a call with the president of the United States! (To read official transcript click here)

When asked by a reporter, why he would be participating, my colleague Rabbi Abba Cohen responded, “If the president and the nation reach out to honor the Jewish community, its place in and its contributions to the nation, the Jewish community should embrace it and have the dignity to respond positively. It doesn’t mean you have to approve of the president personally or of specific policies, and it doesn’t mean you can’t express opposition.”

Rabbi Cohen is working on many issues in Washington including two that can really use your help. Please visit our Action Alert Center to learn more. One issue that will affect school choice programs in many states is the new IRS rules issued last week. The IRS then issued a clarification addressing how the new rules would affect corporations which contribute to scholarship granting organizations. Together with tax professionals and school choice coalition partners, we are carefully looking at this matter and have been in touch with scholarship organizations across the country.

With the New York Legislature not in session, Agudath Israel’s NY Director of Government Affairs Rabbi Yeruchim Silber spent some time this week working on several initiatives with New York City councilmembers.

Should Jewish and Muslim students receive kosher or halal meals in public, or even private school? On Tuesday, Rabbi Yeruchim Silber explained why they should at a press conference on the steps of New York City Hall. He also thanked New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Council Speaker Corey Johnson for funding a pilot program to accommodate the religious and nutritional needs of students. On Thursday, New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal visited our national headquarters to discuss his Elie Wiesel Holocaust Survivors Initiative and other important issues.

New York Primary Day is next Thursday, September 13th (it was moved from the original Tuesday date, due to the conflict with the anniversary of 9/11 and Rosh Hashana). Please see Rabbi Zwiebel’s message to New York voters below. No matter where you live, please make sure that you and your family members are registered to vote as many states have October 9th deadlines in order to vote in November’s election.

Looking ahead to October, check out the new ad for Agudath Israel of Maryland’s 10th anniversary gala and RSVP today.