About the OU Advocacy Center
The OU Advocacy Center is the non-partisan public policy arm of the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish organization‚ representing nearly 1,000 congregations nationwide, and leads the OU’s advocacy efforts in Washington, DC, and state capitals.
Formerly known as the Institute for Public Affairs, OU Advocacy engages leaders at all levels of government as well as the broader public to promote and protect the Orthodox Jewish community’s interests and values in the public policy arena.
The OU Advocacy Center:
- Protects and strengthens the Orthodox Jewish community by ensuring that government laws and programs (federal and state) support the life of the Orthodox Jewish individuals and our institutions.
- Addresses the challenge of the affordability of Jewish day school education through securing public sector support and funding.
- Serves as the voice of Orthodox Judaism regarding the concerns and interests of our community in the media.
- Trains community leaders to be advocates on critical issues.
- Convenes Orthodox Jewish community leaders to discuss critical issues and develop strategies to address them.
- Serves as the Orthodox community’s link to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the World Jewish Congress, and other umbrella entities.
In recent years, OU Advocacy has:
- Brought more than $75 million in federal homeland security grants to Jewish communities around the country
- In New York, secured an increase of $14 million in New York State funds provided to local day schools.
- Together with our coalition partners, secured a $25 million expansion of the 12 year-old Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit program and established a $50 million Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program.
- In New Jersey, restored and increased the funding for technology aid for private schools by more than $1.3 million for the 2013 and 2014 school years (cumulatively), and increased the funding for nursing aid for private schools by $198,000 – the largest one-time increase for nursing aid in many years. .
- Worked to garner support for tuition affordability measures and build politically active communities in Texas and Florida; created a new partnership in South Florida to support Jewish schools and advocate for tuition affordability with Florida legislators.
- Enhanced Israel’s security through our engagement with the President of the United States and senior Administration officials.
- Enacted workplace religious freedom laws in New York and New Jersey.
- Expanded legal protections for synagogues, day schools and other religious institutions from zoning law discrimination.
In addition to its day-to-day activities, OU Advocacy sponsors an annual National Leadership Mission to Washington, D.C., and the Legislative Fellowship Program, training the next generation of Orthodox Jewish policymakers and activists.
Become an active participant in our programs and a partner in working for the advancement of our community and our values.
Contact us at (212) 613-8123 or by e-mail at OUAdc@ou.org.
Yehuda Neuberger, Chairman
Nathan Diament, Executive Director
Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach
Roslyn Singer, Director of Communications
Jeff Leb, Director of Political Affairs – New York State
Josh Pruzansky, Regional Director – New Jersey
Elliot Schreiber, Director of Field Operations
Jesse Hervitz, Associate Director of Congressional Affairs
Michelle Twersky, Associate Regional Director – Pennsylvania
Zehava Birman, Associate Director of Field Operations – New York
Jake Adler, Associate Director of Field Operations – New York
Arielle Frankston-Morris, Associate Director of Community Engagement – New Jersey
Avigayil Heller, Communications Assistant
Sophie Felder, Legislative Fellow
Devorah Goldman, Legislative Fellow
Melissa Katz, Administrator