Agudath Israel Arrives in Albany
The Agudah has gone to Albany, as part of its wide reaching goal to advocate for the Jewish community in the halls of government. Agudath Israel of America launched its Albany Advocacy Day series with a delegation from Orange, Rockland and Sullivan counties to meet with legislators to discuss issues that are now on the ballot for the upcoming legislative session.
Following the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel, antisemitic incidents have skyrocketed. New York, with the largest visibly Jewish population in the country, has experienced unprecedented surges in anti-Jewish attacks. Of particular concern, is the vulnerability of our children in Jewish schools. One of the tools used to protect our schools is the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment Grant (NPSE) program, which reimburses schools for safety and security equipment and services. However, the budget has stayed the same for the last two years, at $45 million, an amount that is insufficient to deal with the rising risks to our children. State senators have asked for the allocation to be doubled, to $90 million, and the Agudah delegates met with legislators to encourage them to support the increase.
Agudah delegates have also advocated for Mandated Services Aid, which reimburses non-public schools for services mandated by the state. Rabbi Yerucham Silber, Agudath Israel's director of New York government relations, thanked Governor Hochul for allocating $234 million for MSA in the proposed 2024 budget. The group also advocated for universal school lunches, and encouraged legislators to go from partial funding to full funding for school lunches and breakfast. They also met with legislators to discuss the unique challenges facing yeshivas and Orthodox Jewish schools.