This week, members of the OU and IPA met with representatives of the Crown Heights Lubavitch community to begin a historic partnership in the fight to ease the burden of yeshiva tuitions. IPA Director of Political Affairs Maury Litwack, IPA New York State Director of Political Affairs Michael Cohen, Deputy Director of Synagogue Engagement Yehuda Freidman and I met with Rabbi Chanina Sperlin (Director of Political Affairs for the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council), Rabbi Eli Cohen (Executive Director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council), Zaki Tamir (Board Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council), Eliyahu Davis (Executive Director of the United Lubavitcher Yeshivha), Zalman Wilhelm (Executive Director of Bnos Menachem) and many other prominent rabbis, and yeshiva and community representatives.
The OU was able to offer the Lubavitch community assistance in providing political training seminars to the yeshivas’ lay leadership as well as personnel to assist in grant research and writing, among other services. The OU also offered assistance in dealing with security issues, as we are in a position to liaise between the NYS Department of Homeland Security and Orthodox communities state-wide.
This meeting is the first of a series of community-engagement meetings that we will be conducting. Our goal is to build the necessary partnerships for a unified communal front in the fight to increase government participation in funding the day school world. The Orthodox Union’s mission here is to achieve what our name represents: a true union of Orthodox communities, so that we may achieve the critical objectives that we all share. I am grateful for the Lubavitch community’s commitment toward those shared values and I look forward to this being the beginning of a long and productive partnership. You can read more about it here and here.