About Our Mission.
Our mission is to bring financial relief to New York State’s private school families and expand educational opportunity for all students.
Of New York State’s 3.1 million K-12 students, about 500,000 – or 16.2% – attend private school. We understand that the majority of K-12 students will always attend public schools. However, the best option for some students – whether because of their educational, social, or religious needs – lies outside the public school system. Our goal is not to dismantle the public school system, but to ensure that all families can access the educational opportunities best suited for their children – wherever those may be.
Regardless of where students are enrolled – public schools, independent schools, or religious schools – their families face serious financial burdens. The OU/TEACH NYS Initiatives supports policies that will benefit all families with children in all schools.
About Our History.
The Education Alliance for Children in New York State (TEACH NYS) is an initiative to bring all students, parents, and teachers the resources they need to meet their educational potential. The organization was formed in 2006 by a group of lay leaders from the faith, business, and political communities. Since then, TEACH NYS has conducted extensive campaigns to educate, organize and mobilize New York families to shape legislation and education policy.
The Orthodox Union runs the nation’s largest synagogue network, kashrut certification, and Jewish youth outreach program. Through its advocacy arm, the Institute for Public Affairs, the OU also advocates for tuition affordability policies in New York and around the country.
The OU and TEACH NYS have already achieved considerable success (see our “Accomplishments” page) advocating for New York’s Jewish schools. Merging in January 2013 to create the OU/TEACH NYS Initiative was natural step in our march towards tuition affordability.
About Our Team.
Jeff Leb, Political Director of the OU/TEACH-NYS Initiative.
Jeff Leb spearheads the campaign as Political Director of the OU/TEACH-NYS Initiative.
Previously, Jeff was the Chief Operating Officer of Otsar Family Services. Otsar is a leader in providing quality programs and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. In that capacity, Jeff doubled the private fundraising of Otsar and increased governmental funding for Otsar’s programs for the developmentally disabled by 98%. Jeff was also a member of the Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Council where he advocated for increased funding and services for individuals with special needs.
Prior to his time at Otsar, Jeff was the executive director of the Sephardic Community Federation (SCF) – the public policy arm of the organized Sephardic Jewish community. At SCF Jeff was responsible for, among other things, leading a mission to Albany each year to fight for increased government funding for yeshivas and day schools. Jeff also worked with the City of New York to bring in millions of dollars in new funding to yeshivas. Jeff’s familiarity with City Hall goes back to his days as Chief of Staff to a New York City Council Member.
Jeff is also recognized one of the premier Jewish political strategists in New York State. He has provided political candidates with targeted consulting and messaging services. Over the course of his career, Jeff has been involved in 95 political campaigns.
Jeff studied at St. John’s School of Law before leaving to devote his full-time efforts to servicing the need of the community. In that realm, Jeff served as the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park and is the co-founder of Project Mazon—a charity that provides credit at supermarkets for needy families.
In 2011 Jeff decided to take the electoral plunge and ran against a storied incumbent of the Peninsula Library Board in his hometown in Long Island. Jeff received over 3,200 votes for the position beating the incumbent by a more than a 2-1 margin. Jeff lives in the Five Towns with his wife and four beautiful children.
Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach for the Orthodox Union.
Maury Litwack is Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach for the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs. In this position, Maury heads a state-by-state plan for political action and advocacy in the OU’s many communities around the country, with a principal focus on seeking greater government support for Jewish day schools and their families in order to address the acute education affordability challenge the Orthodox community is facing.
Prior to this promotion he was National Deputy Director, a position he held for the last three years. Maury has helped lead the Union’s federal advocacy efforts in key issues including energy and domestic policy development while working to mobilize and teach communities the importance of active civic engagement. In his time with the Union, Maury has arranged over 100 meetings with elected officials and candidates with Orthodox communities around the country.
A recognized advocacy expert and author of the Capitol Plan – a comprehensive Washington advocacy strategy, Maury has worked with elected officials, municipalities and the Union on major aspects of their federal and state agendas during the last eight Congressional Sessions. Maury served on the staff of two Congressmen during the 108th and 109th Congress, where he provided legislative expertise and political strategy. Maury left the Hill to expand the Washington office of Miami-Dade County, the 6th largest county in the country prior to taking a position with the OU.
Maury’s thoughts on Washington politics is regularly quoted and has appeared in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Politico and Forbes. Maury has been a contributor to a number of political and print op-ed pages including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fox News, Orlando Sentinel, The Bergen Record, Business Insider, and The Hill. Maury writes a regular column for OU.org titled “Political Problems, Torah Solutions.”