This Sunday, May 5, well upward of a thousand Jews are expected to converge on the Hilton New York in Manhattan for an annual dinner that is much more than a dinner.
In addition to the program itself at Agudath Israel of America’s 91st anniversary dinner–featuring an address by the Novominsker Rebbe, shlita, the rosh Agudas Yisroel; a message from Senator Dan Coats (R-IN); an audio-visual presentation in tribute to Reb Yosef Friedenson, z’l; the premiere showing of a special audiovisual presentation of highlights of the 12th siyum haShas of daf yomi, and the bestowal of well-deserved honors on a group of outstanding askanim–the very gathering is designed to serve a critical purpose: to demonstrate to the many elected officials and other notables expected to be present the strength and determination of the Orthodox community.
That fact was strongly emphasized this week by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president, who, in a number of recent community gatherings, called attention to the “extraordinarily trying times” in which we are living, and how they demand “extraordinary advocacy” on the community’s part.
Rabbi Zwiebel cited several of the social and geo-political challenges facing our community: the security of our brethren in Eretz Yisrael; the increased threat of worldwide terror in light of recent developments on the world scene; a disturbing abundance of anti-religious initiatives that would affect our lives as committed Jews, including governmental regulation of bris milah; and continued severe economic pressure on the community’s individual members and mosdos.
“The confluence of so many challenges,” says Rabbi Zwiebel, “places upon our shoulders the responsibility to do what we can to show our unity and, yes, our numbers.”
“To elected officials,” he explains, “numbers do count. Exposing these officials to the ko’ach ho’rabim of our community, so strikingly on display at the Agudah dinner, often results in tangible benefits to the causes we support and the mosdos haTorah whose interests we advocate. “It is especially critical that we not only make our voices heard but also our faces seen.”
Reservations can still be made by contacting Agudath Israel’s dinner office at 212-797-8177. v