It was “a bit of a bear!” That’s how Education Secretary Betsy Devos jokingly described her confirmation process in her well-received, introductory speech to her staff. It was a contentious confirmation battle, but Agudath Israel is proud to have played a prominent role in expressing support for Mrs. DeVos and for the very issue of school choice which came under attack. Thank you to many of you for contacting your senator. Your voice matters.

Our Maryland director, Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, had the honor of wishing Mrs. DeVos personal congratulations on behalf of Agudath Israel at a reception in DC following her first day in office. While I couldn’t be in DC, I was interviewed this week by Cincinnati’s Channel 12, Associated Press and Hamodia about my thoughts on what Secretary DeVos will accomplish at the Department of Education.

Education though, is mainly a state and local issue, and special needs parents in New York City celebrated this week, thanks to Mayor de Blasio, his staff, and the tireless efforts of our very own Mrs. Leah Steinberg.

Agudath Israel’s programs and activities impact the lives of our constituents, from beginning to end, and this week was no exception. On the East Coast, a bill was signed into law that provided religious accommodations related to filing a birth certificate. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Agudath Israel hosted a workshop on end-of-life medical issues.

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