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Over the last few weeks, Rabbi Abba Cohen and I have spent countless hours reading tax regulations and learning all we never wanted to know about charitable deductions, SALT, and the exact legal meaning of terms like “quid pro quo.” Why? Because the scholarships of the 6500 students currently attending Jewish schools across the country with the help of state tax credit scholarship programs could be at risk if regulations proposed by the IRS are allowed to move forward. Agudath Israel spoke out this week expressing our belief that the proposed rules would undermine these programs. Our detailed analysis of the issue and specific recommendations to the IRS can be found here.

Thank you to Marc (Menasheh) Lewin, Esq. for the countless hours he spent advising us on the complicated tax issues and for his work on the IRS comments and to Stuart Schabes, Esq. for his help and advice. We were also privileged to be working together with a coalition of national organizations, and assisted by the many scholarship organizations which provided us with helpful data.

This is your last chance to RSVP for Agudath Israel of Maryland’s 10th anniversary gala event on Sunday! While some people are excited to hear from Governor Larry Hogan and other elected officials, I am particularly looking forward to the tribute to Maryland’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. David Fowler. I met Dr. Fowler together with Rabbi Sadwin nine years ago (see article above), and I came away from the meeting amazed at how sensitive and accommodating the medical examiner was to the religious needs of our community. The medical examiner is not a position most people think about on a regular basis. However, for families who suffer the tragic loss of a loved one, especially when it is an unexpected death or under unusual circumstances, the medical examiner and his liaison Rabbi Sadwin play a crucial role in helping the family navigate the myriad issues that arise.

Religious rights come up in many different settings. Our New Jersey Director Rabbi Avi Schnall, recently played a key role, together with Assemblyman Gary Schaer, in advancing a bill to protect the religious rights of college students (here). To get a behind-the-scenes look into a typical day in Rabbi Schnall’s life I encourage you to read the recent Hamodia feature article skillfully written by Rafael Hoffman.

 

Finally, Agudath Israel expressed its appreciation to Ambassador Nikki Haley, who “will be long remembered as a fearless fighter against the pervasive anti-Israel hypocrisy of the United Nations.” To read our statement click here.

Upcoming events: Yeshiva Summit Oct. 24th, national convention November 22nd-25th, and our Midwest convention Dec. 27th-30th.