LAST CHANCE: Please join the CJV today if you would like to participate in the conference call on Tuesday, May 22, at 3:30 pm EDT. We will hear from Rav Aharon Feldman, Dean of Ner Israel Rabbinical College, and then speak with Gary Bauer — who was just announced as a Trump Administration nominee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Mr. Bauer was a high-ranking official in the Reagan Administration, past president of the Family Research Council, a presidential candidate during the 2000 primaries, and is also President of American Values and directs the Christians United for Israel Action Fund. This should be a very informative call, so please join us now.

Road to Majority: We are going to have a special rate for participation in the Thursday luncheon (which it seems will include a kosher meal option) and the rest of the program on Thursday and Friday, June 7-8. Last year, President Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and Sen. David Purdue (GA) all addressed the luncheon, so this should be quite a program, and they have offered a rate which is extremely reasonable, and, if we sign up soon, should include a Kosher option for the luncheon. To join this program:

Please register for the Road to Majority conference by using promotional code “Shabbat” — scroll down past all of the package options to find “Enter promotional code” directly above the “Order Now” button. Click “Enter promotional code”, type in “Shabbat” and click “Apply”. When the page reloads, the last package option will be “Legislative Luncheon & General Sessions” for $59.

After ordering, you will receive a confirmation email, including a link to use their group rate at the Omni Hotel if you so choose. Please send us an email at [email protected], as we would like to know that you are coming to join us.

Due to the way the hotel handles outside catering, we were unable to arrange an option for Shabbos this year at reasonable cost. We seem to a found a perfect location for next year, but this year it was already reserved. For those unable to return to New York, we are thinking about a Shabbos program in Baltimore or Silver Spring. Please mention in your email if you would like to be part of that program.

A War on Children?

Here is a religious freedom issue that few of us may know about, but which displays how those with an anti-religious agenda ignore far more important issues, simple fairness and reason, in the process. In several states, LGBT organizations have tried to block participation by religious foster care providers in state programs, due to their placement of children exclusively with traditional, married couples. In some states they have succeeded, at a time when there are more children in the foster care system than families with whom to place them. This situation could certainly impact the Jewish community, and is to the detriment of all.

The provision of religious foster care services does not prevent anyone from going to a different agency. In at least one case, an LGBT couple bypassed four nearby service locations in order to visit one operated by a religious organization, get refused, and file a complaint. Their agenda is to limit the options for religious parents and providers, even though this directly harms children in the foster care system.

It should be obvious that Jewish birth parents would be happiest seeing their child go through a Jewish agency to an Jewish foster family, and that the faith-based support provided will maximize the likelihood of success.

We are therefore honored to support the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017 (H.R. 1881), and similarly signed a request to Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma to sign a similar bill. We represented the only Jewish organization to sign.

Our website has a new page on Letters & Statements, to present the increasing number of letters of this type that we are asked to join, besides those we compose ourselves.

Increasing Coverage

Although we think of news as something here today and gone tomorrow, our sentiments continue to be mentioned when an issue comes up again in the news. This was apparent regarding an amicus curae brief that we joined several months ago regarding a public display of religion in Pensacola, Florida. As that case went before a federal appeals court this week, our position was back in the news. The Baptist Press noted in particular that “a group of Jewish groups” joined with the “many organizations and state governments” supporting the city’s position. In an article about Senator Mike Lee’s current efforts to block the renomination of Obama’s “radical pro-LGBT” appointment to the EEOC, Chai Feldblum, Breitbart News referred back to our statement of opposition in December.

Furthermore, the simple fact that we provide a Jewish voice continues to elevate our prominence, especially among Christians. That is clear in the Baptist Press article above, which gives special mention to Jewish groups. This was also found in an article in the Christian Post regarding protection of religious adoption agencies, as described above. The article mentions only a few of the signatories: Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Coalition for Jewish Values President Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris, and Concerned Women for America President Penny Young Nance — in that order. The rest of the over two dozen signatories were not mentioned at all. Even among those five, you would not expect the President of the new CJV to be mentioned third.

Press Releases
Rabbis Welcome New White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, May 4
Rabbinic Group Encourages Senate Confirmation of Gina Haspel to Head CIA, May 11
“Libelous and a Disgrace:” Rabbis Deplore False Condemnations by Jewish Senators, May 17

The first of these three is rather obvious. The second, however, directly confronts the issue of “enhanced” interrogation techniques used to prevent terrorist attacks. This came about because the left-wing T’ruah organization claimed that it is a “moral offense” to use strong-arm techniques, even when they are necessary in order to prevent further atrocities. And the third release, as well, deals with the issue of a skewed moral compass, regarding comments from Jewish senators about Israel and Gaza.

Op-Eds
Rabbi Yanklowitz on the State of Israel: He has it all wrong
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in Israel National News, April 18
American Open Orthodoxy reveals its alien religious moorings – again
Rabbi Dov Fischer in Israel National News, April 25
Kosher Certification Competition Will Not Force Orthodoxy to Change
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in Times of Israel, May 1
Time to rethink Jewish laws of modesty? Think again
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in Israel National News, May 7
The Things Going On at the Gaza Border
Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator, May 17

Wishing all (our Jewish readers) a Chag Shavuos Sameach, and to all a great weekend,

Yaakov Menken

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