Today the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, hosted Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville. After touring the facility, Governor Ehrlich met with lay and rabbinic leaders of the County’s Orthodox synagogues, schools and the Union itself.
The meeting focused on issues of common concern. They included addressing the security needs of Jewish communal and other religious facilities in light of the increased threat of terror, the funding of education programs in the state, and transportation and congestion issues which impact upon the community’s residents. Governor Ehrlich also discussed his recent trip to Israel and his Maryland-Israel business initiative.
Of special interest was the Governor’s noted support of the Maryland textbook program which was recently reauthorized by the State Assembly and expanded to include not only textbooks but technology as well. While Governor Ehrlich expressed his strong support for the program as it is currently constituted, he did point out that he supports increased funding of the program in a stronger economic environment for the State.
Participants raised the topic of transportation to school for non-public school students and discussed with the Governor how addressing this issue could ameliorate the traffic congestion problems in Montgomery County.
After the meeting, the Governor visited the Sylvia S. Ely Auditorium, which will soon receive a $150,000 bond financing from the State of Maryland (SB 155-sponsored by Sen. Len Teitelbaum, D-Montgomery) for renovations and technical upgrades.
Nathan J. Diament, the Union’s public policy director stated on behalf of all the participants in the meeting:
The Orthodox Jewish community deeply appreciates Governor Ehrlich taking the time to meet with us and discuss issues of common concern. More importantly, we appreciate the Governor’s commitment to take practical steps to address some of the critical issues which affect our families and institutions. We applaud his “can do” attitude and look forward to working with Governor Ehrlich and his administration to benefit our community and all Marylanders.