For Immediate Release – January 15, 2013
Contact: Nathan Diament – 202-513-6484
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – commended the House of Representatives for its passage Tuesday evening of an emergency appropriations bill to provide relief and reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The Orthodox Union also expressed its appreciation to key members and its ongoing commitment to securing the fair treatment for damaged synagogues, churches and other houses of worship in the disaster response.
Nathan Diament, Orthodox Union executive director for public policy, issued the following statement:
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations commends the House of Representatives for its action to provide emergency funds to the stricken communities of the Northeast. The funds appropriated, if ratified by the Senate, will aid the many families and communities rebuild their homes and infrastructure.
“Regrettably, the emergency bill did not contain language to clarify the federal statute such that houses of worship are clearly eligible to receive federal disaster funds on the same terms as other nonprofits damaged in the hurricane. We commend Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) for their leadership on this issue and their introduction of amendments with the Rules Committee to clarify the status of damaged houses of worship. We regret that the Rules Committee did not make these bipartisan amendments in order for consideration by the House of Representatives. We are committed to continuing our work with these Members and the Obama Administration to ensure the fair treatment of the houses of worship who continue to serve their communities in the wake of the storm.”