Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



A Lesson Well Learned

Eytan Kobre

Orthodox Union State Political Affairs Director Rallies Community to Lobby for Education

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

mishpacha image

POWER IN NUMBERS Litwack took heart that the delegation he assembled was the largest Orthodox Jewish contingent to lobby in New York’s capital, and that Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of both the State Senate and Assembly took the time to meet with them (Photos: Orthodox Union/Hans Pennink)

For years, Maury Litwack, director of state political affairs for the Orthodox Union, struggled to recruit people to travel to Albany for lobbying missions to make their voices heard.

He gained new determination on a recent visit to Albany, accompanied by only a small contingent, and seeing another group of hundreds of animal rights activists with T-shirts publicizing their cause.

“Someone said to me, ‘Why can’t we bring hundreds of people here with T-shirts saying they care about yeshivah education?’ ”

In more formal dress, Litwack succeeded last week in bringing more than 600 parents, students, educators, and administrators from 16 New York–area yeshivos to Albany to lobby for increased funding for the state’s nonpublic schools under the aegis of the Orthodox Union’s Teach NYS initiative, which advocates for the interests of New York’s yeshivos.

In addition to demonstrating the passion of the Orthodox community on this issue, the Teach NYS delegation pressed lawmakers on three specific legislative objectives: a continuation of current levels of state funding to reimburse schools for expenditures under the Comprehensive Attendance Policy and other mandated services; a request to nearly quadruple state funding for school security; and to build a case that the time has come for New York State to begin funding the secular educational programs in nonpublic schools, especially in the STEM (science, technology, education, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines.

Maury Litwack: “It’s only fair for the state to invest in our kids the same way it invests heavily in public school kids”

“It’s only fair for the state to invest in our kids the same way it invests heavily in public school kids,” Litwack says. “The state already reimburses us for Regents exams and helps fund pre-K education, so why not for the salaries of math teachers?”

When asked why advocating for passage of a tuition tax credit wasn’t on last week’s agenda, as it had been in prior lobbying trips to Albany, Litwack said, “Although we’re very proud of our efforts to pass tuition tax credits in places like Florida and Pennsylvania, which brought tens of millions of dollars to yeshivos, there is, unfortunately, zero chance of that happening in Albany this year.”

Ultimately, Litwack took heart that the delegation he assembled was the largest Orthodox Jewish contingent to lobby in New York’s capital, and that Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of both the State Senate and Assembly took the time to meet with them. Cuomo told the delegation how much religious education means to him personally.

“The governor addressed us and responded so positively to our message because he knows we’re going to be here next year again, that we’re involved in the political process, and that we’re going to make our voices heard in a consistent fashion,” Litwack said.

Related Stories

America First, the Middle East Can Wait

Omri Nahmias, Washington, D.C.

Netanyahu Accomplishes Objectives, Even Before Setting Foot in Washington

When Bibi Meets Putin

Binyamin Rose

Russia Plays Both Sides Against the Middle

Giving Backing to David Friedman

Omri Nahmias, Atlantic Beach, New York

Yeshivah Banquet Skirts Politics, Awards Politician

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
No Image Available
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
No Image Available
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without