Posted on November 23, 2009 In Press Releases

Orthodox Union facilitates community leadership meeting in Harrisburg, PA

U.S. Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA) met Sunday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with representatives of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the “Orthodox Union”), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, and over thirty local community leaders. The meeting included leaders from Kesher Israel of Harrisburg, an OU member congregation; the Harrisburg day school, Rabbi David L. Silver Yeshiva Academy; the executive director of the Jewish Federation-Harrisburg; and representatives of several other regional Jewish organizations.

Harrisburg leadership expressed concerns regarding key issues, including the U.S.-Israel relationship, climate change, healthcare overhaul, funding for Jewish day schools and security-hardening for at-risk Jewish institutions. Congressman Holden spoke of his support for the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2009, as well as a budget-neutral federal education tax credit for K-12 schooling. He also articulated his support for efforts to procure grants for homeland security and energy efficiency to nonprofit entities in the district.

Rabbi Akiva Males (Rabbi, Kesher Israel Congregation), Jesse Hervitz (Legislative Fellow, OU Institute for Public Affairs), Congressman Tim Holden, Howie Beigelman (Deputy Director, OU Institute for Public Affairs), Joel Hervitz (board member/host, Kesher Israel Congregation)

Rabbi Akiva Males, rabbi of Kesher Israel of Harrisburg, commented:

“Congressman Holden graciously took the time to meet with members our community. He was receptive to our concerns and candid in his assessment of the current challenges facing the country in general and our community in particular. We are most grateful to the Orthodox Union for facilitating this important conversation.”

Howie Beigelman, Deputy Director for the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs, also commented:

“Congressman Holden was forthright on his positions – and we appreciate his stalwart defense of Israel, especially on the need for the US Embassy to be in Jerusalem and his commitment to work with us on the safety & security, educational funding and energy needs of nonprofits like schools and synagogues.”

This meeting is part of a nationwide effort by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America’s Institute for Public Affairs to facilitate discussion between our synagogue leadership and their elected officials.