There’s power in our numbers.

We need to raise ours in order to lend clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter.

Agudath Israel is organizing a Nationwide Machatzis HaShekel Campaign, where families can register in the Agudah’s constituency drive for $1.50 per family member.

By registering en masse in the Agudah’s constituency drive group, we will raise our official count and lend political clout to our advocates.

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Yeshiva

A $25 Million Mistake

Mr. Avrohom Weinstock, Esq. Associate Director of Education Affairs, Agudath Israel of America

Mistakes happen. Most mistakes, though, don’t cost $25 million. A seemingly small misread of the Smart School Bond Act (almost!) cost our yeshivos millions in lost technology equipment



Back in 2014, the SSBA authorized $2 billion for NYS public schools. Private schools could also receive technology equipment, based on the amount spent by public schools on classroom technology. But the private school allotment was oddly low. Why? Sitting at my kitchen table, through the early hours of the morning, scouring legal documents and a 200-page tech purchase order, I googled every product code to understand where the money was going.



Eventually it became clear. NYC was systematically misclassifying one type of device which should have been considered classroom technology. Some sleuthing revealed that another district purchased the same devices, classified as classroom technology. I had the bones of a legal brief. Baruch Hashem for coffee!


The ramifications of this mistake were huge, but convincing others would be the real challenge. One legal brief, dozens of emails and meetings with top city and state officials, and 5 years later, government was persuaded to give our yeshivos their rightful share. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Mrs. Deborah Zachai, Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Rabbi Ami Bazov, myself and Agudah’s coalition partners would not stop until it did. An additional $25 million was awarded to account for the misclassification


Whether it’s funds being withheld, or government attempting to control our yeshiva curriculum, the Agudah steps in, fighting for our schools and our children, the staunch advocate for the sacred values of our community.

I now know more than I ever wanted to know about boring devices (I’m looking at you, Cisco Model 3600!), but the knowledge that our schools and children are receiving the equipment they deserve gives me chizuk to keep fighting the good fight.

There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend political clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter.
Join the Agudah’s Machatzis HaShekel Campaign as echod min haminuyim; join the ranks so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for the klal and the yochid.

Yasher Koach.

We Answer to the Higher Supreme

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman Rosh HaYeshiva Torah Vaadath & Rav Agudas Yisroel of Madison

Three days before Hoshana Rabbah this year, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a far-reaching, executive order, effectively shuttering our shuls on one of the most joyous days on our calendar. The news set off a flurry of phone calls between askanim and rabbanim. They spent the next 48 hours drafting legal briefs to obtain an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) in time for Hoshana Rabbah.



Before Yom Tov, the court delivered an oral ruling denying the petition for relief.



Simchas Torah became a landscape of makeshift minyanim and harried hakafos. On October 21, we filed an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.


That too was denied.


Our only recourse was to present the case to the US Supreme Court.


Harav Brudny Shlita emphasized that in no uncertain terms should such a decision be made lightly. Taking our government to court, which is out of character for our behavior in galus—that requires tremendous amount of kevod rosh. Reb Chaim Dovid’s advocacy was not motivated by politics, but by considerations of Kiddush Hashem. Kevod Shamayim was at stake.”

When shuls are shuttered and religious freedoms withheld, the Agudah is there for Klal Yisroel, advocating and lobbying in the halls of power, a mighty voice for a nation that answers to the Highest Power of all.

It took courage from The Agudah, who did the right thing because it was right, not because it was easy.

Word of the Supreme Court ruling broke shortly before midnight on November 25. B’chasdei Hashem, the Supreme Court resoundingly affirmed the rights of Americans of faith to practice their religion, even amid the pandemic.

There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter. Join the Agudah the Machatzis HaShekel campaign as echod min haminuyim; stand with our nation so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for the klal and the yochid.

Yasher Koach, Rav Yisroel Reisman

Silence, Two Quarters, and a Dime

Rabbi Naftali Miller National Director of Development, Agudath Israel of America

I still remember walking into the Capitol building on my first visit to Albany. The building was majestic and quiet. Every footstep echoed on the marble floors. I entered the chamber with 75 others to partake in a session. The room was quiet. The Speaker of the House turned to Avrohom Weinstock and said “Make your case.” Absolute silence. Then clink. Clink. Clink. He slowly and deliberately dropped 2 quarters and a dime on the table. “That’s the reimbursement our yeshivos are receiving for the cost of students’ immunization record-keeping,” he said.



An administrator of a Satmar school had called the Agudah, suspecting that the reimbursement for immunization records that schools are required to keep was lower than it should have been. Devorah Zakai, director of the yeshiva services division for 35 years and known for her encyclopedic knowledge, found the 1984 law which mandated a 60¢ reimbursement per student. And how much does the record-keeping actually cost our yeshivos? The Agudah surveyed 67 schools and discovered that the actual rate was $29.77 per immunization. Thus the sixty cent exhibition. B”H, the Agudah’s tireless advocacy was met with success, and yeshivos received the contested funds. We’ll never let our yeshivos be nickeled and dimed.


Whether it’s funds being withheld, or government attempting to control our yeshiva curriculum, the Agudah steps in, fighting for our schools and our children, the staunch advocate for the sacred values of our community.

There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend political clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter.
Join the Agudah’s Machatzis HaShekel Campaign as echod min haminuyim; join the ranks so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for the klal and the yochid.

Yasher Koach.

It’s Not Our Problem

Rabbi Shaul Rosen Founder of A Time

When a couple doesn’t have any children, the impact is devastating. B”H we were zocheh to help close to 50,000 families over the last 28 years. As IVF was becoming more of a norm, we realized that the amount of funds that we would need would be an impossible amount to fundraise from the community. We reached out to the Agudah, and started lobbying in Albany to mandate insurances’ participation in IVF costs



The Agudah was our connection, helping us speak to the senators, the assembly, and Speaker of the House. When the legislation failed to pass, the Agudah petitioned New York State to create a separate fund enabling infertile couples to receive treatments, with millions of dollars set aside each year specifically for this issue. Each year it needed to be included in the State budget in order to stay active. To date, this fund has allocated more than 125 million dollars to IVF costs. This was a breakthrough that enabled us to reach out to and assist many, many more families. Who knows how many neshamos, boys, girls, are alive today because of that effort?

That’s the Agudah. Behind the scenes, late at night, the dedicated and invested advocates who will keep fighting for us every step of the way, whether they receive recognition or not.

Everybody knows to reach out to the Agudah when they have a problem but people don’t really understand the role of the Agudah, because they usually solve the problem behind the scenes before it becomes a problem. There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend political clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter.

Join the Agudah’s Machatzis HaShekel Campaign as echod min haminuyim; join the ranks so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for the klal and the yochid.

Yasher Koach, Rabbi Shaul Rosen

Crossing the Lines

Yoel Sabel Woodbury, NY Resident

We’re a community of several hundred families that have moved to Woodbury, NY, right outside of Kiryas Yoel. There are a lot of people moving in, mainly from KJ and the city. We started holding small minyanim in our homes, basements, and extensions. In the past year and a half, we started to get summonses for illegal houses of worship. The village was issuing violations left and right.



We were at a loss. We hired a lawyer and tried fighting in court, but it wasn’t going well. Then Abe Kraus, a Woodbury-based nursing home operator, was talking to one of his Lakewood employees. One of them said, “Why don’t you call Avi Schnall? He’s the guy dealing with this in Jackson and Toms River; he knows the landscape.”

So we reached out to the Agudah and told them what is going on. Avi Schnall brought the story to Rabbi Mordechai Biser, one of Agudah’s attorneys, who wrote a detailed letter to the town mayor, inspector, supervisor, and village zoning board, explaining that what they were doing was against federal law.



Suddenly there was a different tone from the town. We started seeing change in their behavior and attitudes. On the day of the court case, the town attorney sent a letter to our lawyer, saying that they realized that they were wrong, they’d be dropping the summonses, and that they’d allow us to hold minyanim. The village started working with us so that we’d have an easier time building shuls in the future. The Agudah’s involvement was the catalyst for these wonderful developments. Chasdei Hashem Yisburach we were menatzeach



When county officials overstep their boundaries regulating eruv and shul zoning laws, the Agudah intervenes on behalf of our communities, keeping our freedoms defined and our way of life secure.

There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend political clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter.

Join the Agudah’s Machatzis HaShekel Campaign as echod min haminuyim; join the ranks so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for the klal and the yochid

Yasher Koach, Yoel Sabel

“Rabbi Zwiebel called her on Shabbos…

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel Executive Vice President, Agudath Israel of America

It was Friday night when a Hatzolah member approached me with a critical message. He had managed to track me down at a neighbor’s shalom zachor. Apparently a Jewish patient urgently needed a vital organ transplant, but the hospital was refusing to operate without federal clearance for priority eligibility. This was clearly an issue of pikuach nefesh. So I did something I never thought I would have to do - I lifted the phone on Leil Shabbos. I reached out to one of my contacts in the White House, who was at home in Virginia. I told her that I had never in my life placed a phone call on Shabbos, and the very fact that I was desecrating the Sabbath should impress upon her the gravity of the situation. She was deeply affected, and told me that she would reach out to the federal agency and see what she could do.



In this particular situation, the outcome was not the one we had hoped for. Baruch Dayan Ha’emes. We did ours, Hashem did His. Success is not up to us. But hishtadlus is — and that is what keeps us going forward, doing all we can wherever we can to advocate for Klal Yisroel.



Dear Fellow Yid, There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter.

When Yidden are fighting for their lives in isolated hospital wards, the Agudah is a formidable defense, with a force of halachic authorities, legal counselors, and dedicated advocates championing sanctity of life 24/7.

Agudath Israel is organizing a Nationwide Machatzis HaShekel Campaign, where families can register in the Agudah’s constituency drive group for $1.50 per family member. By registering en masse in the Agudah’s constituency drive group, we will raise our official count and lend political clout to our advocates.
In these turbulent times, our nation’s unity is our greatest strength. It’s time to rally behind the Agudah, a steadfast voice on behalf of Torah Jewry and our sacred values since its inception. Join us as echod min haminuyim; stand with our nation so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for a nation united.

Yasher Koach, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel