The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles



In the New York State 2020-21 budget passed today and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the legislature included a key piece of legislation proposed by Governor Cuomo and strongly supported by Agudath Israel of America.
This bill, entitled the “No Hate in Our State Act” was originally introduced by the governor in his State of the State Address back in January which was attended by representatives of Agudath Israel. Coming just over a week after the heinous Chanukah stabbing in Monsey which came on the heels of the horrific murders in Jersey City, it was hailed as the toughest anti-hate law in the nation. Key pieces of the legislation are:

·    Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act - Named in memory of Josef Neumann ob”m hy”d, who tragically succumbed just this week from injuries sustained in the attack, this legislation is the first in the nation to define hate-fueled murder as an act of domestic terrorism
·    Securing Communities Against Hate - Expands the landmark $25 Million grant program to all vulnerable not-for-profits, including houses of worship
·    Extra Support for State Police Hate Crimes Task Force - to the tune of $2 million

Just last week in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Agudath Israel publicly called on the legislature to enact this act as part of the budget package and is gratified to see its passage.
Shlomo Werdiger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Agudah, thanked Governor Cuomo for “again demonstrating zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. You have consistently spoken out against hate, and with this legislation you have taken an extraordinary concrete step to back up your words with real action. Our community is deeply indebted to you."
Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudah’s executive vice president, said, "That the legislature and the Governor came together at a time like this to enact this landmark anti-hate legislation while everyone is preoccupied with the coronavirus is an eloquent testimonial to our government leaders' appreciation of the critical importance of combating anti-Semitism. Haters are on notice: you are not welcome in New York State!"


IDF soldiers receiving packages from FIDF, Lone Soldier Cole from San Francisco, and parents of Lone Soldiers from

Sunnyvale, California. FIDF photos

Some 44 Bay Area natives are currently serving as Lone Soldiers, those who join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with no immediate family in Israel. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of IDF soldiers have been ordered to remain on base for an indefinite period of time to minimize their exposure to the virus. The current crisis means that many IDF soldiers, among them some 1,000 Lone Soldiers from the US, including the 44 from the Bay Area, will not be home with their families for the Passover holiday.

The IDF is taking these necessary measures to remain vigilant against COVID-19 and maintain operational preparedness. The IDF undertakes the responsibility of not only fighting against foreign armies but also assisting with national civilian missions. While quarantined on their bases, IDF soldiers are helping the Israeli national effort through blood drives and by managing two—and soon to be four—hotels that have been converted into quarantine and rehabilitation centers for the civilian population.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) has implemented programs to address the emergency needs of soldiers quarantined on bases, and at home. FIDF staff in Israel is distributing tens of thousands of hygiene kits; gym supplies, which consist of various weights and equipment; yoga mats; snack and sweet packages; Sony PlayStations; and more to the IDF soldiers.

FIDF continues to work closely with the IDF to support the soldiers’ increasing well-being needs as the situation progresses. In addition, FIDF has established a dedicated information center for Lone Soldiers and their loved ones, as well as a special quarantine facility in the Givat Olga recreation center to provide the best care and attention for their needs.

There is still an urgent need for more hygiene kits to be sent to the soldiers, and this is one of FIDF’s top priorities at this time. On top of this aid being provided to soldiers across Israel, FIDF is also prioritizing the FIDF DIGNITY Program, which helps ease the burden on soldiers and their families, who struggle to cover their daily expenses. Soldiers and their families with financial difficulties are challenged even more because of the coronavirus pandemic and are in immediate need of financial relief.

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                      12-18 Nisan, 5780   UPDATED: NEXT EDITION 06/08/20  April 6-12, 2020 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--634th Web Ed.\





(l-r) Rav Yaakov Hopfer, Rav Sheftel Neuberger, Senator Ferguson, Rabbi Sadwin, Rav Jonathan Seidemann,

photo by Eli Greengart

With the 2020 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly already underway in Annapolis, Maryland’s new legislative leaders are making their mark and ushering in a new era of Maryland politics.

After last month’s historic gathering at TA, where the leaders of Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community’s schools and organizations gathered to meet new House Speaker Adrienne Jones, her counterpart from across the State House lobby was given the same opportunity.

On Monday, January 20th, Bnos Yisroel played host as the leaders of the community’s schools and organizations once again gathered to introduce themselves and the remarkable work that they do - to the new president of Maryland’s Senate, Bill Ferguson.

The event, once again organized by Agudath Israel of Maryland’s Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, brought together the community’s leading rabbis, heads of Jewish day schools, and leaders from nearly every community organization, in an effort to familiarize Senate President Ferguson with one of the most cohesive, proactive, and impressive communities across the state of Maryland.

Also honoring the gathering with their presence was Senator Jill Carter, Delegate Shelly Hettleman, Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, and Councilman Izzy Patoka.

As in last month’s event, the gathered leaders of organizations ranging from schools and synagogues to financial service providers, and from health and wellness entities to safety and security services, and everything in between, took their respective turns to introduce themselves and to briefly explain what their organization does to impact the community.

Many of the leaders took the opportunity to thank the Senate President and his Annapolis colleagues for the state programs that are providing benefits to school families and to bolster the safety and security in the community.

Despite the rigors of the legislative session and the heavy demands on his time and focus, Senate President Ferguson welcomed the opportunity to engage with the leaders, and was amazed with what he heard as to the array of services that are provided to the community and its members.

He said, “after learning of all of the remarkable activities that go on in this community, there is no wonder that the Jewish people have lasted through the many challenges it has faced throughout history”.

Additionally, he offered his “open door” to continue the engagement with the community and looks forward to a sustained relationship.