Many of our recent newsletters have been focused on school choice or nonpublic school issues and this week is no exception. However, anti-Semitism was at the forefront of my mind this week, and I am sure I wasn’t alone.
With more than 60 bomb threats at JCCs and Jewish institutions in the last few weeks and then the desecration of a cemetery in the heart of the St. Louis Orthodox Jewish community, elected officials across the country looked for ways to reassure the Jewish community. President Trump spoke out against bigotry and anti-Semitism while Vice President Pence visited the St. Louis cemetery together with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. Both of these actions were well received. Many elected officials across the country issued statements, but New York Governor went a step further and announced his intention to ask the New York General Assembly to provide an additional $25 million to help secure vulnerable religious institutions. We hope other states follow his lead. These reactions are a great first step and I’m hopeful that strong statements will be followed by bold actions.
In Ohio, Rabbi Yitz Frank is working on a major expansion to Ohio’s existing voucher programs led by Senator Matt Huffman (to read a Fordham Institute brief of the current programs, edited by Rabbi Frank click here).
Finally, in New Jersey, Rabbi Schnall asked the state to include nonpublic school students when calculating funding for public school districts. His well researched presentation explained some of the ramifications of ignoring those “invisible” children.