As the Illinois primaries approached, Agudath Israel of Illinois met with the leadership of the Illinois General Assembly. The meetings provided an opportunity for in-depth, productive conversations about communal concerns, including the suspension of the state-funded Jewish day school transportation program.
The first meeting took place in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood, where Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-6) met with Orthodox community lay leaders along with Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8). Rabbi Shlomo Soroka, director of government affairs for Agudath Israel of Illinois, introduced President Cullerton, who then went on to address the group. Attendees shared concerns about the general state of affairs and the unique challenges facing the Orthodox Jewish community. Then Mr. Cullerton listened to constituents express how the suspension of busing was impacting the community, affecting work schedules,
creating financial hardship, and most importantly, posing potential safety and security hazards. Through a dialogue that lasted over an hour, Senator Cullerton explained the challenges in resolving these issues and what he would try to do in resolving the crisis.
Prior to the March 15th primary, Speaker of the House, Michael J. Madigan (D-22), invited Agudath Israel’s leadership and a few community members to his office for a visit that lasted two hours. In addition to discussing substantive issues, including the aforementioned matters, Speaker Madigan engaged the group in an informal discussion about a variety of topics of general interest including Jewish culture and history.