OU IPA Washington Wire – September, 6 2007

Posted on September 6, 2007 In Press Releases

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The OU welcomes it’s new class of Fellow for the 2007-2008 year. Melissa Horen and David Ginsberg will be joining us as our legislative fellows for the year.

David Ginsberg of Edison, NJ is a graduate of Yeshiva University in New York, where he served as Station Manager of the school’s internet radio station WYUR. Before joining the IPA, David interned in the Washington office of Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ-09) through the IPA Summer Intern program. In addition, he has also worked for Turner Government and Public Affairs, a small NJ based lobbying firm, as well as for a New York City city council campaign.

Melissa Horen recently graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence Kansas where she served as Student Body Vice President, presiding office of the Student Senate and President of KU Hillel. Melissa is from Overland Park, KS where her family is members of Beth Israel Abraham and Voliner. Melissa interned in Washington D.C for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In addition Melissa has worked on several political campaigns including Senator Brownback (R-KS), Kansas’ US Congressional 3rd district and state house member Kevin Yoder.

News from DC

An editorial in the New York Sun today raised the concerns shared by the Orthodox Union that language in the new Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, would require religious organizations to publicly declare their religious beliefs in order to be exempt from federal laws preventing employer discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

This is a stark departure from previous versions of the bill, which contained a simple blanket statement exempting all religious organizations from the provisions within the bill. In a letter to members of the sub-committee, the OU, in conjunction with US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists expressed concerns that the new language would eliminate religious organizations’ ability to hire in accordance with their religious beliefs.

For the full editorial click here.

A related article in the Sun reports that Congress may soon call on religious institutions ranging from summer camps to charities to declare up-front whether they are unwilling to hire gay employees. Read the article here.


As in years past – Yad Vashem is once again urging those with relatives who perished in the Holocaust to record those names in the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.

In fulfilling its mandate to memorialize and preserve the legacy of each individual Jew who died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators, Yad Vashem created The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. Now available at www.yadvashem.org, the site is a revolutionary milestone in Holocaust remembrance that provides an opportunity to search for names, photographs and brief histories of over three million Holocaust victims, while also enabling the on-line submission of names, photographs and documents.

Yad Vashem, together with its partners, has collected and recorded here the names and biographical details of half of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices. Millions more still remain unidentified. To registed a name please visit .

For more info click here.

Israel and the Middle East

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN and current president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Dore Gold has published a response to claims of Professors Stephen Walt of Harvard University and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago that U.S. foreign policy towards Israel is controlled by the Jewish lobby.

In his essay, Ambassador Gold shows that this accusation of Walt and Mearsheimer is not true, and that the U.S. and Israel enjoy a close and special relationship, and in fact shares many strategic goals. This, Gold explains, is the reason why the United States has consistently supported the State of Israel, and not because of any Jewish conspiracy.

For the full essay click here.

Campaign ’08

In an interview with the Jewish Week, former Arkansas governor and current GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declared that he is not in favor of a school-voucher and other parochial aid programs. Huckabee believes that these types of programs “may lead to ‘inequality’ in schooling because they provide only a supplement to tuition.”

This is a surprising move for a Republican candidate who is attempting to gain the support of the religious right who form the base of the Republican Party, and who also tend to favor school voucher programs.

For the full interview click here.

In a recent Poll presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are viewed as the least religious of the major presidential candidates according to a poll that was recently released. Mitt Romney was viewed as the most religious but some say his Mormonism may hurt him with voters.

Seven out of ten in the nonpartisan Pew Research Center poll said they feel it is important for a president to have strong religious beliefs, including broad majorities of both parties. Most of the people surveyed see each major presidential hopeful as at least somewhat religious important because people who view a candidate that way are likelier to have a favorable opinion of them.

For the full article click here.

(While the IPA endeavors to bring the Washington Wire readership statements from presidential candidates on issues of interest to the OU community, doing so does not indicate any endorsement of any party or candidate by the IPA or IPA staff.)


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Suggestions and Comments

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regarding the Orthodox Union Institute for Public Affairs please contact Melissa Horen at {encode=”mhoren@ou.org” title=”mhoren@ou.org”} or David Ginsberg at {encode=”dginsberg@ou.org” title=”dginsberg@ou.org”}.

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[This email is comprised of excerpts from cited news articles and does not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or positions of the Institute for Public Affairs, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, its affiliates or its employees.