Chai Elul 5783 – September 4, 2023
#1) RESPECTING THE AUTONOMY OF YESHIVA EDUCATION
“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do not harm My prophets. (Psalms 105:15) “Anointed Ones” these are the children studying the Torah at School (Talmud Shabbat 119:2)
The Rabbinical Alliance of America – IGUD calls upon the City of New York and the Department of Education to cease and desist from all actions aimed at meddling with the educational curriculum in use at yeshivas and day schools throughout the five boroughs.
The separation of religion and state and the freedom for parental choice as it pertains to a child’s schooling and education, is a sacrosanct and inviolable right, and deserving of regard.
We call upon the New York City Council to legislate all possible financial support i.e., busing, school lunch programs, grants for facility enhancements, security, etc. to these schools that are independently educating law-abiding and productive citizens.
Equal access funding for religious educational institutions is of benefit to all New Yorkers. The percentage of criminality and anti-social behavior among the tens of thousands of students of yeshivah day schools are miniscule.
Let us recognize the fact that the significant majority of yeshivah students go on to build productive lives and communities, are law-abiding citizens, embrace family values, all essential for a strong, secure, and practical society.
#2) A CALL TO JEWISH FEDERATIONS TO INCREASE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF JEWISH DAY SCHOOLS & HIGH SCHOOL INSTITUTIONS
The RAA/IGUD applauds the vital work and philanthropy of the UJA Federation of Greater New York. Much good is being conducted every day, by Federation’s social welfare programs, in aiding the poor, people with disabilities and the disadvantaged.
In prior annual convocations, the Rabbinical Alliance of America/IGUD– called on JEWISH FEDERATIONS across the country to at once increase their budgetary support of YESHIVA DAY SCHOOL institutions by a minimum of 30%.
At last review, UJA of Greater New York, with hundreds of millions available in budgetary and philanthropic disbursements, has lagged significantly in supporting new funding and or budgeting seed monies, in support of the expanding Yeshiva Day School movement within the New York metro area.
#3) IN SUPPORT OF THE CHIEF RABBINATE OF ISRAEL
The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabonim reiterates their wide-ranging support of the institution and office of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel headed by the venerable Chief Rabbi HaGaon Rav Dovid Lau and the venerable Chief Rabbi HaGaon Chacham Yitzchak Yosef; may they continue to lead Israel and the Jewish people in good health and success.
It is of necessity that the Chief Rabbinate remain the exclusive authority of all matters of GIYUR (conversion) and matters of religious identity and personal status, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE, as well as all matters of KASHRUTH as codified in the Code of Jewish Law – Halacha.
The time hallowed and established heritage and customs of our people (Halacha) serves to unite and preserve the unity and integrity of the Jewish people of all backgrounds and levels of observance. In fact, these standards continue to unite the world Jewish community and keep at bay, assimilation and intermarriage.
#4) RESPECTING THE DEMOCRATIC ELECTION RESULTS BY ISRAEL’S CITIZENS
With alarm and consternation, the RAA/IGUD calls upon our brethren the citizens of Israel to respect the last National Election results and cease the far-reaching demoralization of Israeli society by the incessant and unrelenting civil demonstrations, which impede the functioning of daily life, and freedom of movement during the workweek.
We believe that the current fractionalization is resulting in an uptick of acts of terror affecting Israel throughout its borders. The dangerous and irresponsible calls for civil disobedience in support of an independent judiciary are having the opposite result.
It is not the purview of the RAA to interfere in political matters within Israel, however it is in the area and responsibility of the RAA/IGUD to call for a cessation of these harmful and polarizing demonstrations that do not allow the government to focus on security and welfare for all its citizens.
We believe that change is brought about through fair elections and not through the demonization of CHAREIDIM and Torah observant Jewry.
#5) A CALL FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE IN ALL U.S. PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The RAA/IGUD reiterates its call to the administration and the Department of Education to support a Nationwide directive for a Moment of Silence at the commencement of each school day — helping teachers and students, to silently reflect on the Creator and faith in a Higher Being.
This will aid all citizens to lead a more exemplary life, resulting in respect and caring for others; knowing that there is an “Eye that Sees and an Ear that Hears” all our deeds and words.
As Rabbis and spiritual leaders of communities throughout the USA, we call for the Moment of Silence to be held at all public educational institutions beginning with elementary through University and College level, assuring the wellbeing of our children and adults.
#6) RECOGNITION OF THE ERETZ HAKODESH WORK in ISRAEL & DIASPORA
As the Rabbinical Alliance of America, marks its eighty-first anniversary since its founding in 1942-5702, we express thanks to the Creator for all His kindnesses.
We are thankful that our esteemed member Rabbi Pesach Lerner, has done and continues to conduct yeoman contributions to American and Israeli Jewry, through his work within the ERETZ HAKODESH SECTOR of the Jewish Agency. We wish him continued success in these endeavors.
#7) RECOGNITION OF THE COALITION OF JEWISH VALUES
The RAA/IGUD wishes to applaud the effective work of the CJV (Coalition of Jewish Values) a national organization being the voice of twenty-five hundred orthodox rabbis, chaplains, and educators (many of them members of the RAA) who serve with diligence coast to coast in these great United States of America.
We are especially thankful that our member Rabbi Yaakov Menken, has reached a most visible national profile, on legacy media, and on social media, standing for the Jewish View on every major social issue affecting America and the world. Through the work of CJV the views of Torah and our sacred traditions are being heard by millions of citizens and by our elected officials in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. From gender fluidity issues to traditional family values, the CJV is doing a KIDDUSH HASHEM, and we wish them ever growing success.
With blessings & prayers for a good & sweet New Year & a year of redemption with MOSHIACH, Amen
Authored and submitted by Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht – Beth Israel Chabad of Westport/Norwalk CT
Member of the Rabbinical Alliance Presidium & Chai Elul Convocation Chairperson