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 advances the values and interests of our community and ensures that Klal Yisrael thrives.

Visit OU Advocacy
Photo on left: OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer speaks at the FBI Newark Division/Field Office’s August 2021 launch of a national hate crimes awareness campaign that OU Advocacy helped facilitate to increase reporting of antisemitic attacks. (Photo courtesy FBI)
$5.5B
in COVID-19 relief for all Jewish and other nonpublic K-12 schools
$180M
for security for day schools, synagogues, and other nonprofits through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program—a 100% increase from 2020
$599M
cumulative funding OU Advocacy has helped secure year after year for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program since 2005 to protect day schools, synagogues, and other nonprofits

KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY SAFE AGAINST ATTACKS

Ensuring our schools, synagogues, and other foundational community institutions are safe from the threat of terrorist attacks is paramount to the OU Advocacy Center (OUA). In 2021, OUA successfully worked with elected officials to increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which provides grants to day schools, synagogues, summer camps, and other nonprofits, and is currently working to increase this allocation to $360 million for 2022.

As attacks against Jews soared nationwide, OU Advocacy helped double FY 2021 funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

COVID-19: FIGHTING FOR OUR COMMUNITY

SECURING $5.5 BILLION FOR SCHOOLS

Throughout the pandemic, the OU Advocacy Center worked tirelessly with bipartisan lawmakers in Congress to ensure federal relief provided billions of dollars for America’s Jewish community and charitable organizations nationwide to weather the economic hardships wrought by COVID-19. That included $5.5 billion specifically for Jewish and other nonpublic K-12 schools.

Provisions secured for our community in 2020–21 include:

  • Expanding the availability of forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to nonprofit charities that employ more than 500 people, including large Jewish day schools that weren’t initially eligible for PPP funds, and obtaining a second round of the loans (which nonprofits could access)
  • Ensuring that the maximum amount of PPP funds were available for synagogues and schools
  • Dramatically expanding the federal Child Tax Credit
  • Extending unemployment insurance support and the Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Providing funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing
  • Increasing funding for food assistance

OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The agency administers the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which OUA helped create 16 years ago.
Tucked into the $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue law is something of a surprise coming from a Democratic Congress and a president long seen as a champion of public education—nearly $3 billion earmarked for private schools. Jewish leaders in New York have long sought help for their sectarian schools...
'In emergency contexts, whether they’re hurricanes, earthquakes, or global pandemics, those are situations where we need to all be in this together,' [Diament] said. 'Those are exceptional situations, and that’s how they should be treated.'
–OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament, commenting on the relief package, as quoted in
The New York Time

SUPPORTING AND PROTECTING ISRAEL

OU Advocacy works to support the security and welfare of the State of Israel and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. When the Biden Administration allocated $235 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (and other entities that support the Palestinians), OUA sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and had virtual meetings with senior State Department and White House officials, expressing concern for U.S. aid that undermines the goals of peace and security and supports Palestinian intransigence and anti-Israel animus.

UNITE AND ADVOCATE: NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN TO FIGHT ANTISEMITISM

When Israel faced a sudden and unrelenting bombardment of rockets fired from Gaza by Iran-backed Hamas in May 2021, many in Congress—some of whom represent our communities— failed to solidly stand up for Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to act in self-defense. As we then witnessed a surge in violent attacks on American Jews nationwide, many elected officials were either complacent or very slow to denounce these antiJewish attacks.

To address this lack of action, OUA launched its “Unite and Advocate” campaign, organizing meetings between members of the Orthodox Jewish community and their elected representatives in Congress. During these many sessions, OU community members and activists pressed for the denunciation of anti-Jewish violence in the United States and for concrete steps to bolster Jewish community security.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS MEET WITH LEGISLATORS

Meeting with U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) as part of OU Advocacy's Unite and Advocate Campaign.
Meeting with U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY) as part of OU Advocacy's Unite and Advocate Campaign.

OU JOINS NATIONAL VIRTUAL RALLY TO COMBAT ANTI-JEWISH ATTACKS AND VITRIOL

Responding to the surge of attacks perpetrated against Jews across the United States following Hamas’s attacks on Israel in May, the Orthodox Union united with the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federations of North America, and other Jewish organizations to co-sponsor a virtual Day of Action Against Antisemitism on May 27. OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer, who delivered the opening prayer, joined a vast array of Jewish communal and other faith leaders, celebrities, and top-ranking elected officials to denounce antisemitism and highlight the importance of taking steps to ensure the safety of America’s Jews. The rally came just after meetings between OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament and the White House and Department of Homeland Security to discuss recommendations to raise awareness of—and put a stop to—antisemitism nationwide.

PRESSING THE WHITE HOUSE TO ACT AGAINST ANTISEMITISM

In May 2021, OUA joined with other major Jewish organizations to ask President Biden to take steps to address the surge in antisemitic attacks in the aftermath of Hamas’s attacks on Israel, and to implement the following:

  • Appoint an Ambassador at Large to monitor and combat antisemitism, which came to fruition shortly thereafter
  • Combat antisemitism on college campuses by preserving the 2022 Executive Order on Combating Antisemitism
  • Reestablish and fill the position of White House Jewish Liaison, another request that was soon fulfilled
  • Hold a White House-convened conversation on antisemitism that includes stakeholders from the Jewish community, as well as key officials from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and the FBI
  • Additionally, OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament met with top administration officials and key federal agencies to discuss the threats against America’s Jews and urge a multipronged approach to address antisemitism
The positive impact of the OU Advocacy Center for our community was more profound than ever in the past year. OUA delivered COVID-19 relief funds to schools and shuls, expanded the legal protections for our religious rights, obtained essential funding for security grants to keep us safe, supported the State of Israel, and fought the wave of growing antisemitism. OU Advocacy makes a difference in the most important ways.
–OU Advocacy Chairman, Jerry Wolasky

IN THE SUPREME COURT: A MAJOR WIN FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

At the conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020–21 term, the high court handed down a consequential ruling that upheld fundamental constitutional protections for religious liberty. The 9–0 decision in the case of Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia held that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause by conditioning a Catholic social welfare agency’s ability to participate in the city’s foster care system on the agency taking actions that directly contradict its religious beliefs.

Ahead of the ruling, the Orthodox Union joined with other major American religious groups to urge the Supreme Court, through a “friend of the court brief,” to uphold religious liberty in this case.

OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer and OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament meet on Capitol Hill with U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK), co-founders and cochairs of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism.


NEW FEDERAL GRANT PROGRAM TO HELP SCHOOLS AND SHULS UPDATE AGING INFRASTRUCTURE

OUA led the reintroduction in Congress of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, which would create a $50 million pilot grant program to support shuls, day schools, and other nonprofits in making energy efficiency improvements to their buildings. OUA and its allies crafted this legislation and worked with legislators to build support for its passage as part of the larger infrastructure package Congress is currently considering.

NCSY