On Sunday, March 6, 2022, the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim (RAA), convened its monthly (Rosh Chodesh Beis) seudah and conference at Kahal Bnei Matisyahu, where Rabbi Yaakov Klass, RAA presidium chairman serves as rabbi. The Rosh Chodesh Adar Beis conference was dedicated by Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, RAA executive vice-president, in memory of his grandmother Mrs. Bella Simah Mirocznik, Bella Simah Bas HaRav Menachem Mendel a”h, yahrzeit 7 Adar Beis.
At the Rosh Chodesh Adar Beis Conference, Rabbi Klass reiterated, “the important need for the Jewish community to support the humanitarian relief efforts as Ukraine finds itself under attack from Russia. To that end, we at the Igud HaRabbonim will not do a separate collection, but rather we encourage the Jewish community and our member rabbis to select from the many great efforts being undertaken by the Conference of European Rabbis, Agudath Israel of America, National Council of Young Israel and the Orthodox Union. Please pick one of these great charities and show the Jewish communities support during this trying time. Let us not be silent; let us be proactive and do our share. As rabbis, let us pray for peace and encourage our congregants to engage in extra mitzvahs, Torah learning and acts of charity and kindness. By doing our part, we pray the Creator of the Universe will have mercy and bring an end to the bloodshed and destruction.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, commented, “I am not old enough to have experienced when United Kingdom Prime Minter Neville Chamberlain enacted his policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany prior to World War II, resulting in the Munich Pact of 1938, prior to the outbreak of the Second World War on September 1, 1939. However, one thing is for sure, we learned as Jews that the world must never remain silent and that all decent people must do their share to make a difference. We do not know what the result of the current Ukraine conflict will be. We do know that as Jews we have a moral and ethical responsibility to do whatever we can to establish peace in that region.”
The other important item of discussion centered around the United States House Committee on Homeland Security’s passage of a bill that authorizes $500 million each year for 2023-2028 for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), so that synagogues and other houses of worship, day schools and other nonprofits at risk of terror attacks can improve building security.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act (HR 6825), introduced by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), comes in the wake of the Jan. 15 hostage-taking at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue, as well as deadly attacks on other synagogues and churches nationally. The bill also directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the NSGP, to establish a dedicated office within the agency to administer the grants. The NSGP is currently funded at $180 million, and the Orthodox Union has been pressing to double that amount to $360 million for 2022.
Mirocznik applauded this positive action by the United States House Committee on Homeland Security “as sending a clear, unambiguous and resounding message that the Federal Government understands that combating antisemitism and hate should never be a partisan issue. It further demonstrates a recognition that religious institutions such as synagogues, houses of worship and schools need public assistance to prevent tragedies such as Pittsburg or Colleyville from ever reoccurring. This enhancement of security and tools to thwart hateful antisemitic and bigoted attacks will give members of the Jewish faith comfort knowing that they can pray, attend functions and receive education in a safe environment. We fervently pray that this will all be unnecessary when we succeed in eradicating antisemitism, racism and bigotry. Until then, this landmark security enhancement allows for all Americans to feel safer in their homes, neighborhoods, streets and houses of worship. This truly is an important step that is greatly appreciated and applauded by the Rabbinical Alliance of America. ”
Also participating in the Rosh Chodesh Adar Beis Conference was Rabbi Gil Student, director of RAA’s Halacha Commission, who addressed a question of cutting-edge technology, Non-Fungible Tokens as they relate to the Purim holiday; and Rabbi Moish Schmerler, RAA’s administrative director.
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