The Friday and Sunday sessions scheduled to take place at Agudath Israel of America’s 91st National Convention will address issues of great importance to both individuals and the tzibur at large. The Friday morning program will include three sessions. The first session on the topic “The Disappearing American Jew” will focus on the increasing rate of assimilation, highlighted by the recent Pew Study, which is decimating American Jewry.
The speakers will be Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetsky, Dean, Yeshiva Toras Chaim, South Shore; Rabbi Shmuel Klein, Director of Publications and Zechor Yemos Olam Holocaust Studies Program, Torah Umesorah; Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, Senior Lecturer and Educator, Project Inspire; and Rabbi Hillel Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva, Aish HaTorah, Yerushalayim. Dr. Irving Lebovics, President of Agudath Israel of California, will moderate the session.
Another Friday morning session, focusing on “The Observant Patient in the Modern Hospital,” will have experienced hospital representatives and other experts providing practical guidelines to those navigating the hospital system. The speakers will be Rabbi Baruch Ber Bender, President, Achiezer Community Resources Center; Dr. Howard Lebowitz, Chief Medical Officer, Accutecare Health System, Lakewood, NJ; Solomon Rosenberg, Program Director, Office of the President, Montefiore Medical Center; and Israel Rosman, Senior Patient Liaison, NYU Langone. The session will be chaired by Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Vice President for Community Services, Agudath Israel of America; and Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Agudath Israel of America. They will help session participants understand the difficulties and challenges that arise for Jewish patients and their family members when dealing with the special needs and cultural concerns of Orthodox Jewish hospital patients.
There will also be a session on Friday focusing on the women’s role in “The Contemporary Workplace,” which will discuss the challenges of being a religious Jew in business or in the workforce. The speakers will be Mrs. Chaya Fishman, Founder and Director of the Jewish Woman Entrepreneur; Rebbetzin Faygie Horowitz, Consultant, Author and Speaker; and Mrs. Naomi Tessler, Pharmacist. The session will be moderated by Barbara Dombroff, of the Spina Bifida Resource Network. The session will include a Business to Business component, coordinated by ShaulE! Events, providing many networking opportunities.
The Sunday program will begin with a report on the activities of Agudath Israel offices around the country by Rabbi A.D. Motzen, Agudath Israel’s National Director of State Relations. The session will continue with a report on the situation facing the Chareidi community in Eretz Yisroel, delivered by Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Leizerson, Director, Chinuch Atzmai. It will be followed by a timely session focusing on “Jews in the News,” which will help provide guidance on making a Kiddush Hashem and avoid a Chillul Hashem as a community and as individuals. The speakers will be Avi Schick, attorney and community activist; Rabbi Avi Shafran, Director of Public Affairs, Agudath Israel of America; and Rabbi Aaron Brafman, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Far Rockaway. The session will be moderated by Rabbi Labish Becker, Executive Director, Agudath Israel of America and Convention Coordinator.
The convention will conclude with a topic of great interest to every caring Jew, “Addressing the Needs of Children Facing Adversity”. In today’s challenging society, many children face extraordinary religious, social and emotional challenges. The session will address this topic, providing both parents and the general public with guidance on how to effectively deal with these issues. The speakers will be Rabbi Doniel Parnes, Rosh mesivta, Yeshivas Novominsk; and Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein, Menahel, Ohr Naava, Ateres Naava, and Bnot Chaya Academy for Girls. Rabbi Doniel Frank, Family Therapist, Private Practice, will chair the session.
“Agudath Israel convention sessions address issues of great importance to Klal Yisroel. Indeed, many of the convention participants gain a better understanding of issues facing the Torah tzibur today, enhancing their ability to tackle them on a personal, professional and communal level. Agudah conventions have also led to concrete action and even the formation of new organizations to tackle of problems facing the klal. We anticipate that this convention will be no different,” says Rabbi Becker,.