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Agudath Israel of America - National Public Policy Position Paper

AGUDATH ISRAEL OF AMERICA
NATIONAL PUBLIC POLICY
POSITION PAPER

Presented to the 106th Congress
published in conjunction with
1999 NATIONAL LEADERSHIP
MISSION TO WASHINGTON
June 29, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

I. RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS

  • Anti-Religious Discrimination and Bias
  • Accommodating Religious Rights in Various Settings: Hospitals, the Armed Services, and Prisons
  • Protecting Consumers of Kosher Food

II. EDUCATIONAL CONCERNS

  • Educational Quality and Funding
  • Educational Equity and Choice
  • Educational Independence and Diversity

III. SOCIAL, MORAL AND FAMILY ISSUES

  • The Sanctity of Human Life
  • Family Values and Family-Friendly Policies
  • Social Services

IV. INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

  • The Middle East
  • Human Rights and Immigration

INTRODUCTION

Agudath Israel of America is a national grassroots Orthodox Jewish movement. Founded in 1922 by a small group of dedicated idealists whose goal was to unify and organize the then fledgling Orthodox Jewish community in the United States, Agudath Israel has become firmly established as a major force in American Jewish life. The movement is led by some of this generation's most prominent rabbinic authorities.

Through its national Office of Government Affairs, its full-time Washington Office, and its regional chapters throughout the nation, Agudath Israel frequently takes advocacy positions before federal, state and local governmental bodies. In so doing, Agudath Israel seeks to protect the rights and advance the interests of observant Jews and their growing network of educational and religious institutions; and to offer a uniquely Orthodox Jewish perspective on contemporary issues of public concern.

The concerns that have elicited Agudath Israel's attention over the past several years can be loosely categorized under four main headings: (1) protecting and advancing religious and civil rights; (2) promoting the interests of religiously affiliated schools and their parent and student bodies; (3) commenting on contemporary social, moral and family issues; and (4) addressing Jewish needs on the international scene, in Israel and in lands of oppression across the globe.

This position paper presents an overview of Agudath Israel's perspectives on those four broad themes. It also conveys Agudath Israel's positions on a number of currently pending issues that are of special interest to the American Orthodox Jewish community. Agudath Israel will continue to comment on specific items of legislation at appropriate times during the course of the year.

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