Should the government get to decide who is a minister (or rabbi)? Who should determine if a teacher at a religious school performs ministerial duties? In a brief filed on behalf of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public (COLPA), noted constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin provided a uniquely Jewish perspective on this issue (see below). The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in April.

Earlier this week the New York State Board of Regents met regarding equivalency of instruction in nonpublic schools. After receiving an unprecedented 140,000 comments expressing concern about the proposed regulations, Interim Commissioner Tahoe articulated the need to balance state oversight with parental autonomy and religious rights. Thank you to the tens of thousands of yeshiva parents, graduates, and students who stood together in this historic grassroots effort to protect Jewish education. Click on the image below to watch a short thank you video and click here to read our reaction to the Regents meeting.

               Click image above to view video

Agudah’s directors are busy in statehouses across the country. Rabbi Silber led the second Albany Day in a series (see here) while I joined Rabbi Yossi Kaplan for a productive meeting with Representative Dafna Michaelson-Jenet at the State Capitol in Denver and then joined Agudath Israel of California’s annual mission to Sacramento.

Rabbi Yossi Kaplan with Rabbi A. D. Motzen at the State Capitol in Denver, Colorado

As we saw with the New York equivalency issue, grassroots advocacy is critical. Currently we are working on several grassroots campaigns and we can use your help. In New Jersey, Rabbi Schnall is urging residents to contact Governor Murphy to ask for a desperately needed increase to “Chapter 192” funding which provides compensatory instruction in Language Arts and Math. If you live in New Jersey, please click here:. In Ohio, Rabbi Frank is helping lead the effort to preserve the EdChoice scholarship program. Please go to our Ohio action alert page here. Finally, I apologize if the the action alerts we sent out last week for Ohio and the federal effort to pass the Education Freedom Scholarship bill (click on image below) had some technical issues. We hopefully fixed them, so if you haven’t done so already, please try again.

– A.D.