Meeting with U.S. Representatives
Luncheon with Members of Senate
Agudah Leadership Mission Wraps Up With Bipartisan Shows of Support
From an early morning shacharis in Virginia, to the Capitol, to a White House briefing and then back to the Senate Russell Office building, the second day of Agudath Israel of America’s leadership mission to Washington D.C. was packed with opportunities for participants to discuss the Agudah’s 2018 federal agenda with influential elected officials and politicians.
The first session of the day, chaired by the Agudah’s national director for state relations, Rabbi A.D. Motzen, began at 9 AM at the U.S. Capitol House Visitor Center and addressed crucial issues including Israeli security, a high priority agenda item that has been enjoying bipartisan support, concerns about Iran, BDS, anti-Semitism, school choice and religious liberties. The mission was addressed by Representative Ted Budd (R-NC), Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Representative John Faso (R-NY), Representative Steve King (R-IA), Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), Representative James Raskin (D-MD), Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Numerous speakers stressed the importance of faith as a unifier and heralded the Agudah as a leader in the movement to provide funding solutions for those who choose to send their children to non-public schools.
The next stop for the Agudah delegation was the Indian Treaty Room at the majestic Eisenhower Executive Office Building located next to the West Wing of the White House for a briefing. Jason Greenblatt, assistant to the president and special representative for international negotiations, was greeted with a standing ovation and offered insights into some of the Trump administration’s policies. Also addressing the group were Marcus Coleman, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Jennifer Korn, special assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison, Thomas Rose, assistant to the vice president and senior advisor and chief strategist, and Paul Teller, special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, discussing grants, immigration and lauding the Agudah for its far reaching advocacy efforts.
The final event on the mission’s schedule was a luncheon chaired by Agudah executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel at the Senate’s Russell Office Building. The Agudah group was joined by a prominent assemblage of elected officials which included Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Orrin Hatch, Senate president pro tempore (R-UT), Senator Charles Schumer Senate minority leader (D-NY), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). One of the highlights of the session was a special tribute to Senator Hatch who has worked closely with the Agudah over the years and was instrumental in Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s release from prison this past December. Senator Hatch, who will be retiring after 42 years of service, received a standing ovation from the delegation and was gifted with an inscribed leather Tehillim in an emotional presentation.
Organizers declared the mission an unqualified success, noting that participants, who hailed from California, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Michigan, were inspired by their trip to Washington and seeing how the Agudah is held in high regard in the political world.
“The value of these types of missions has been proven over the years,” observed Rabbi Zwiebel. “Those in Washington see that we have a national constituency and that we represent a community that stretches from coast to coast. Our missions leave elected officials we meet with, and others, the knowledge that we are a constituency of substance and of numbers.”