As I sat in the front of the room listening to New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia talk about supporting the right of parents to make decisions about their child’s education, I looked around and was amazed at what I saw. I was surrounded by 300 executive directors and yeshiva administrators, more than 50 state and local government officials, and many other attendees at our 2nd annual New York Yeshiva Summit. One after another, elected officials spoke of their high regard for the yeshiva system and pledged to work with Agudath Israel and school leaders to ensure that nonpublic school students receive the services they deserve. It was also striking to see how school representatives from a wide range of viewpoints and geographic areas joined together as one to learn how to comply with complex laws and make their schools better and safer. One administrator revealed that last year’s inaugural event saved his school $500,000! A full recap including video will be included in next week’s newsletter.

The Yeshiva Summit dealt with many important topics, including security. With more than a dozen explosive devices mailed to prominent elected officials and public figures this week, security is surely on the minds of many. In New Jersey, the Legislature is poised to increase security funding for nonpublic school students, but as in past years, it will need the help of our grassroots network. Please see Rabbi Schnall’s post below and email him at aschnall@agudathisrael.org get involved.

Am Echad, an effort launched in the 1990s by Agudath Israel of America, consists of a broad spectrum of American Orthodox leaders across the United States and Canada, and makes the case that the opinion of the American Orthodox community deserves to be heard. To see Am Echad’s statement about the recent General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, and the lack of Orthodox viewpoints at the GA, click here.

Finally, Agudath Israel joined other Orthodox groups in a National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) brief to the US Supreme Court  urging the court to overrule decisions that have badly undermined legal requirement to accommodate religious employees. The law offers protection; the Court should give it back its full strength. To read the brief click here .

November 6th is election day! Early voting is underway in most states. Agudath Israel has conducted voter registration drives in many states and encourages every eligible voter to please vote on (or before) November 6th.