Protecting Our Community

The OU Advocacy Center is the nonpartisan public policy arm of the OU that advocates on behalf of the Orthodox community nationwide.

Through its federal advocacy in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals, the OU Advocacy Center (OUA) advances our community’s interests and values in lawand policy

Visit OU Advocacy
Photo on left: OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament at a press conference with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in New York, where they called for quadrupling the next round of funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $360 million
Photo on right: OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament testifying on Capitol Hill against anti-Semitism.
$90,000,000
SECURED IN 2020 FOR IMPROVED SAFETY AT JEWISH DAY SCHOOLS, YESHIVAS, SYNAGOGUES, AND OTHER NONPROFITS
5,000+
JEWISH DAY SCHOOLS, YESHIVAS AND OTHER NONPROFITS THAT HAVE EACH RECEIVED UP TO $100,000 IN FEDERAL FUNDS TO MAKE THEIR BUILDINGS MORE SECURE THROUGH THE NONPROFIT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM—WHICH THE OU ADVOCACY CENTER HELPED CREATE IN 2005
$419,000,000
SECURITY GRANTS ALLOCATED TO JEWISH DAY SCHOOLS, YESHIVAS, SYNAGOGUES, AND OTHER NONPROFITS NATIONWIDE SINCE 2005 WITH THE HELP OF THE OU ADVOCACY CENTER

Fighting for the Community During COVID-19

Within days of the start of the pandemic, the OU Advocacy Center became laser focused on helping craft the legislation that became the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The act included nearly $2 trillion in emergency economic stimulus funding for many hard-hit sectors of American society.

OU Advocacy worked to ensure that these programs would include maximum availability for our community’s schools and synagogues. As a result of OUA’s work, the bill’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ensured that forgivable loans were fully available to these critical community institutions.Hundreds of schools and shuls received PPP funds in amounts ranging from $150,000 to several million dollars. OUA also successfully advocated that the CARES Act’s emergency funds to support K-12 schools were also available on an equitable basis to Jewish nonpublic schools.

The coronavirus pandemicis not over, and OUA’s work for our community is constant and ongoing.

Working On Behalf Of Our Community

Getting Security Resources for Shuls and Schools

Funding to fortify day schools, shuls, yeshivas, and other houses of worship was increased to $90 million for 2020 — a 50% increase over 2019 — thanks to the OU Advocacy Center’s ongoing and pioneering work with legislators and other partner organizations. OU Advocacy is now working to quadruple that amount to $360 million for 2021

Fighting Anti-Semitism—In Person, In Congress

By the end of 2019, the United States recorded a historic high of 2,013 anti-Semitic attacks and incidents. Visibly Orthodox Jews, in particular, were the targets of deadly violence.
Amid this disturbing trend, Congressional leaders invited the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy, Nathan Diament, to testify on Capitol Hill. Speaking before the U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism on January 15, 2020, Mr. Diament urged lawmakers to take action against anti-Semitic attacks across the United States—particularly those committed against Jews wearing yarmulkahs and other religious garb. “We are being targeted for physical assaults and verbal abuse and suffering,” Mr. Diament testified. “We are afraid in a way we never have been before in this great country.

Protecting Religious Liberty: Supreme Court Rulings

Just before the close of the Supreme Court’s 2019-20 term, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two significant rulings that were important victories for the Orthodox Jewish community and religiousliberty — and in both casesthe justices cited briefs submitted by OU Advocacy in rendering their opinions. In the case of Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the court affirmed the right of religious schools to make hiring decisions about religious teachers without improper state interference. In the case of Espinoza v. Montana, the court invalidated a state decision to exclude religious K-12 schoolsfrom a state program that provides tax credit supported scholarships.

Advocacy in the Time of COVID-19

Interview with Nathan J. Diament, executive director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center

Q What was OU Advocacy’s immediate response when the country shut down?

A It was obvious and urgent thatwe focus on our schools and shuls—they needed economicsupport.

Q What have been your biggest concerns?

A Getting senators, representatives, and the White House to focus on the detailsthatwould make or breakwhether programswouldwork for ourschools and shuls. Itwould be very easy for legislation written hurriedly to have unintended provisions that could make it difficult or impossible forsynagogues and schoolsto benefit from. So we had to focus on the details. And by and large, we were successful.

Q What challenges have you faced?

A The complexity of the CARES Act has meant that we have spent a lot of time helping schools and shuls through the application process, and now the loan forgiveness process.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) speaks at an OU Advocacy event.
The funding is part of the federal Nonprof it Security Grant Program (NSGP). The grant was created in 2005, in conjunction with OU Advocacy, to make America’s nonpublic schools, shuls, and other Jewish communal institutions safer against the threat of terror attacks.
NCSY