Agenda-Setting Role for OU Synagogues Enhanced In Return to Jerusalem This Thanksgiving

May 24, 2006

Renaissance Hotel, Jerusalem Wednesday, November 22 – Sunday, November 26, 2006

With memories of the enormous success of the Orthodox Union’s sold-out Biennial National Convention held in Jerusalem in 2004 still fresh, the OU will return there this Thanksgiving for its 2006 Biennial National Convention.

To be held once more at the Renaissance Hotel, Jerusalem from Wednesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 26, this year’s Convention will provide a greater role than ever before for synagogues and their delegates in setting the OU agenda and policies for the next two years.

Referring to what he termed “the spectacular 2004 Convention,” OU President Stephen J. Savitsky predicted an even more meaningful experience this time around, based, in great part, on his decision to make the Convention’s resolutions process far more than a routine matter of business.

OU-member synagogues are empowered to send between two and eight voting delegates (plus alternates) to the Convention, depending on the size of their membership, to participate in the resolutions sessions. For delegates, expenses including travel and hotel are tax-deductible according to IRS regulations. Synagogues can, of course, send as many participants as they want besides the delegates, and many other community members and their spouses regularly attend.

“What will give this event greater significance than in the past and will give your relationship with the OU and our work for Klal Yisrael tangible meaning,” Mr. Savitsky wrote to presidents of OU member synagogues, “is if you and your colleagues attend the Convention and let us hear your views and your shul’s views, as we discuss together what the priorities of the OU should be. There are a myriad of issues, involving both Israeli and domestic concerns, that require a strong, clear and unwavering response from the OU and its constituency. For us to adequately represent our synagogue base, we have to know what you think.”

As a result, in early summer the OU will send drafts of resolutions being prepared by the OU’s Resolutions Committee, chaired by Aron Raskas of Baltimore, to the synagogues, with the understanding that the shuls will carefully deliberate and then vote on them, thereby guiding their delegates on how to vote at the Convention.

The Convention program, now in preparation, will include an impressive array of government and rabbinical leaders; Torah study sessions; and pre-and post-Convention tours and programs, in addition to the discussions on the issues. Convention chairs are Dr. Michael and Linda Elman of Baltimore; Mira and David Zeffren of Los Angeles; Hedy and Terrence Augenbraun of Fairfield, CT; and Yitzchak and Debbie Fund of Jerusalem. Mr. Fund is Chair of the Seymour J. Abrams OU Israel Center Commission.

The cost of the Convention is $699 per person double occupancy with an early bird discount per person of $100 now in effect. The OU has arranged for group air fares on El Al from New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago and on Israir from New York; participants may also make their own travel arrangements and personal schedules.

For further information on the Convention, contact Frank Buchweitz at 212-613-8188, or You may register online at For further information on registration, contact Miriam Ganz at 212-613-8194, or