A number of Agudath Israel of America’s key leaders were in Washington DC last week to attend the swearing-in of the 113th Congress. Rabbi Yehiel M. Kalish, Agudath Israel’s national director of government affairs, said that it was crucial to show support for the Congressional members, who work closely with the Agudah on issues vital to the Orthodox Jewish community. “Our ongoing interactions with congressional members and their staff make days like today very important,” said Rabbi Kalish. He acknowledged the outstanding work of Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s vice president for federal affairs, Washington director and counsel, and of askanim like Leon Goldenberg and Chaskel Bennett who represent Agudath Israel with their integrity and statesmanship. “They are out there on the front lines, developing and strengthening those relationships. This is invaluable to the work we are all doing on behalf of the Orthodox Jewish community.”

Mr. Bennett, a member of Agudath Israel’s board of trustees, said that building those relationships is a community effort. “When voters come out and support their candidate on Election Day, it matters. Doors are opening for us because the people are making their voices heard and elected officials have really taken notice. Together, we are creating important relationships that will help us in many ways.”

Fellow board of trustee member Leon Goldberg added, “Days like today confirm the progress we are making on key issues like greater religious freedom, aid to yeshivos and relief for tuition paying families, as well as the primary issue of safety and security for our brethren in Eretz Yisrael. Elected officials and their staffers genuinely appreciate those who take the time and effort to visit with them on the Hill. It really makes a big difference.”

Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, who spent the day working with Agudah leaders, said, “Today, in our nation’s capital, I witnessed an impressive and committed group of Orthodox Jewish advocates from across the spectrum, representing the many important needs of our community with class, grace, and professionalism. It is clear to me and all who participated that the future of high-level Orthodox Jewish advocacy is indeed in very good hands.” v

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