Senator Dean Skelos Briefs Orthodox Jewish Leadership

Posted on October 26, 2010 In Press Releases

October 24, 2010

Contact: Howie Beigelman, Orthodox Union

Orthodox Union facilitates key meeting with synagogue, school, community leadership to discuss education & other issues

Senator Dean Skelos (9th S.D.) took the time to brief over forty Orthodox Jewish leaders representing synagogues, day schools, and community social service organizations today. Facilitated by the Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, the briefing was hosted by the Young Israel of Woodmere, an OU member congregation.

Shlomo Zuller, President of the Young Israel of Woodmere stated:
“It was a great opportunity for the Young Israel of Woodmere to host Dean Skelos and to hear his vision for NY State. It also gave our community leaders the opportunity to show our appreciation for all the Senator does for our local institutions.”

After introductory comments by OU vice president Charles Harary and community leader Avi Lauer, a former president of the Young Israel of Woodmere and chairman of the board of HAFTR, the 13 term Senator, who also serves as Republican leader in the State Senate, discussed the political state of play and what the assembled leaders and their thousands of members, constituents and clients could expect in the next legislative session. He then engaged in a policy discussion with the leaders, touching on the need to strengthen ethics requirements and how the state is dealing with the continuing economic downturn. As well, Senator Skelos came out in support of term limits for all legislative leaders and called for greater transparency in the budget process.

Responding to several questions from the leadership on the dual issue of oppressively high school taxes in a community where many families also send their children to nonpublic schools at great financial sacrifice, Senator Skelos committed himself to working with the community to address the issue, while noting some past successes, such as the child tax credit enacted in 2006 (Note to editors: this legislation, proposed by then Governor Pataki and originally envisioned as a tuition & educational expenses tax credit for parents of both public & nonpublic school students, was eventually enacted as a tax credit for children aged 4-17).

Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy stated:
“Senator Skelos represents more OU synagogues & schools than perhaps any other member of the Legislature, and we are proud of his friendship, dating back to his days as Deputy Majority Leader and continuing now in his role as Republican Leader. As evidenced by today’s meeting in an extraordinarily busy time, we know our community always has an open door with him & his staff. We look forward to continuing to partner with him on issues of importance to our shared constituents.”

Senator Dean Skelos following the meeting acknowledged:
“I would like to thank the Orthodox Union for providing this forum and open discussion with so many leaders from with the Orthodox community. As the Republican Leader of the New York State Senate, I look forward to continuing the great relationship that we have developed over the years and am confident that we will continue to work together on the tough issues facing the Orthodox community, and the State of New York.”

(L-R) Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy; Mark Honigsfeld, Chairman of the Board for Kulanu; Senator Dean Skelos; Benjamin Weinstock, Deputy Mayor of the village of Cedarhurst and Charles Harary, OU Vice President

This meeting is part of a nationwide effort by the IPA to facilitate discussion between our community leadership and candidates for office. The OU has a long history of elected officials, candidates for public office and other notables speaking to their leadership, including Samuel Alito, Sherrod Brown, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Christie, Alberto Gonzalez, Al Gore, Tom Kean, Jr., Carl Levin, Robert Menendez, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Bill Thompson and numerous members of Congress in recent years as well as surrogates of both McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden during the 2008 presidential election. The OU is a non-profit, non-partisan organization and therefore does not endorse nor support candidates.