Nathan J. Diament
Nathan J. Diament is the Washington DC-based Executive Director of Public Policy for the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs, where he develops and coordinates public policy research and initiatives on behalf of the traditional Jewish community. He is an honors graduate of Yeshiva University and the Harvard Law School.
Mr. Diament has testified before congressional committees and has worked closely with members of both political parties to craft legislation addressing religious liberty issues, education reform, family friendly social policies and life issues.
In 2009, Mr. Diament was appointed by President Obama to serve as one of twenty-five members of the President’s Faith Advisory Council.
Diament has been described in the press as “the public face of Orthodox [Judaism] in Washington” and was named to The Forward’s list of the 50 most influential Jews in 2005.
He is a co-editor of Tikkun Olam; Social Responsibility in Jewish Thought and Law (Aronson Press, 1997) and the author of articles and essays on issues including religion and state, constitutional law, social policy and international affairs. His writing has been featured in law journals as well as publications including The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, The Forward, and The Jewish Week and he has been a guest on CNN, FOX News, NPR and other broadcast media.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Diament practiced law in New York at Paul, Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, served as a law clerk to Judge I. Leo Glasser of the United States District Court. Diament has also served as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington and Yeshiva University in New York.
Maury Litwack is Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach for the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs. In this position, Maury heads up a state-by-state plan for political action and advocacy in the OU’s many communities around the country, with a principal focus on seeking greater government support for Jewish day schools and their families in order to address the acute education affordability challenge the Orthodox community is facing.
Prior to this promotion he was National Deputy Director, a position he held for the last three years. Maury has helped lead the Union’s federal advocacy efforts in key issues including energy and domestic policy development while working to mobilize and teach communities the importance of active civic engagement. In his time with the Union, Maury has arranged over 100 meetings with elected officials and candidates with Orthodox communities around the country.
A recognized advocacy expert and author of the Capitol Plan – a comprehensive Washington advocacy strategy, Maury has worked with elected officials, municipalities and the Union on major aspects of their federal and state agendas during the last eight Congressional Sessions. Maury served on the staff of two Congressmen during the 108th and 109th Congress, where he provided legislative expertise and political strategy. Maury left the Hill to expand the Washington office of Miami-Dade County, the 6th largest county in the country prior to taking a position with the OU.
Maury’s thoughts on Washington politics is regularly quoted and has appeared in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Politico and Forbes. Maury has been a contributor to a number of political and print op-ed pages including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fox News, Orlando Sentinel, The Bergen Record, Business Insider, and The Hill. Maury writes a regular column for OU.org titled “Political Problems, Torah Solutions.”
Jeff Leb joined the Orthodox Union as the New York State Director of Political Affairs and Political Director of the OU/TEACH-NYS Tuition Initiative. This new venture promises to be a tremendous force in advocating for tuition affordability for yeshiva parents in New York State.
Previously, Jeff was the Chief Operating Officer of Otsar Family Services. Otsar is a leader in providing quality programs and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. In that capacity, Jeff doubled the private fundraising of Otsar and increased governmental funding for Otsar’s programs for the developmentally disabled by 98%. Jeff was also a member of the Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Council where he advocated for increased funding and services for individuals with special needs.
Prior to his time at Otsar, Jeff was the executive director of the Sephardic Community Federation (SCF) – the public policy arm of the organized Sephardic Jewish community. At SCF Jeff was responsible for, among other things, leading a mission to Albany each year to fight for increased government funding for yeshivas and day schools. Jeff also worked with the City of New York to bring in millions of dollars in new funding to yeshivas. Jeff’s familiarity with City Hall goes back to his days as Chief of Staff to a New York City Council Member.
Jeff is also recognized one of the premier Jewish political strategists in New York State. He has provided political candidates with targeted consulting and messaging services. Over the course of his career, Jeff has been involved in 95 political campaigns.
Jeff studied at St. John’s School of Law before leaving to devote his full-time efforts to servicing the need of the community. In that realm, Jeff served as the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park and is the co-founder of Project Mazon—a charity that provides credit at supermarkets for needy families.
In 2011 Jeff decided to take the electoral plunge and ran against a storied incumbent of the Peninsula Library Board in his hometown in Long Island. Jeff received over 3,200 votes for the position beating the incumbent by a more than a 2-1 margin. Jeff lives in the Five Towns with his wife and four beautiful children.
Josh has been involved in Jewish communal work for more than twenty years, beginning his career in 1989 as the Executive Director of the Yeshiva of the Telshe Alumni in Riverdale one of the foremost Yeshivos in America.
Following Riverdale, Josh assumed the role of Executive Director of Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison from 1998-2002 and then decided to involve himself in the world of Jewish outreach and became the Executive Director of Partners In Torah.
In 2005 at the behest of the Rosh HaYeshiva in Riverdale, Josh became the co-founder of Yeshiva Me’on HaTorah in Roosevelt, NJ. It was at that position where Josh first experienced firsthand the way the government worked when the local community worked hard to expel the Yeshiva from its midst. He saw how a few people in power could control the entire political process and make decisions and appointments that could affect the lives of an entire community. It was after that experience that Josh decided to devote his efforts to public policy and advocate and advance the needs of the Jewish community in the halls of the State House in Trenton.
Josh was hired by Agudath Israel of New Jersey to become its State Director. In that role Josh became the first full time advocate for the Jewish community in Trenton. During the past 4 years, he has cultivated a relationship with the political leadership of this State in a bi-partisan fashion and has become a fixture in the State House. He has served as the Chairman of the Non-Public School Advisory Committee at the Department of Education and was a member of the Non Public Education Funding Commission, appointed by Governor Jon Corzine.
This past June, Josh has joined the Orthodox Union as its NJ Regional Director of Public Policy for its Institute for Public Affairs. Josh looks forward to working with the entire Jewish community in their quest to forward legislation that would provide government funding for every child regardless of the school they attend.
Michelle Twersky serves as the OU/IPA’s Pennsylvania Associate Regional Director. Michelle graduated Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business with a B.S. in marketing. Most recently Michelle served as Government Relations Coordinator at SAR Academy, a private Jewish day school with a student body of over 1400 students in Riverdale, NY. Her responsibilities included: overseeing NYC Loan Certificate Program, NYS Mandated Services, and served as the liaison between SAR and New York City Committee on Special Education.
During her time at SAR, Michelle increased SAR’s eligible funding under these programs significantly and developed many of the protocols and processes in use today to solicit and administer these programs. Now relocated to Pennsylvania, Michelle is working in partnership with the Kohelet Foundation and the Jewish leadership of the Keystone State to advance the needs of our community.
Jesse Hervitz rejoins the Orthodox Union as the Associate Director of Political Affairs, in which capacity he will be working to expand school choice programs in a number of states. Jesse will look to expand our community advocacy networks in states including Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. Jesse spent the last several years as a professional staff member in the United States Senate. In the Senate, Jesse focused on foreign relations, defense and intelligence policy for Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana before joining Senator Robert Casey Jr.’s Joint Economic Committee staff this past year, where he worked on domestic economic, trade and energy policy. Jesse will use this experience and assist with the OU/IPA’s federal advocacy as well.