Tonight: Agudath Israel of America 93rd Anniversary Dinner


agudah dinnerAgudath Israel of America will hold its 93rd anniversary dinner tonight, Sunday, May 10th, at the Hilton New York.

Five askanim who work tirelessly for the Klal will be recognized for their efforts by receiving the prestigious Agudath Israel of America Avodas Hakodesh Award.

The awards will be presented to Naftali Besser, Yerachmiel Bratt, Rabbi Benzion Leser, and Dr. Elliot Samet. Rabbi Menashe Miller will receive the William k. Friedman Leadership award.

Naftali Besser is a son of the renowned Agudah Askan Rabbi Chaskel Besser, and a great Baal Chessed in his own right. In a caring and sensitive manner, and without fanfare, he has helped many individuals through the trials and tribulations of life.

Yerachmiel Bratt is the Gabbai of Agudas Yisroel of Madison and very involved with the Torah Projects Commission of Agudath Israel and Hakhel. He has been a loyal stalwart of Agudath Israel’s Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah. His involvement in these many Harbatzas Hatorah efforts is done with great energy and alacrity.

Rabbi Benzion Leser serves as Rabbi / Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Care at Maimonides Medical Center. He is also the rabbinic coordinator of Agudath Israel’s Chayim Aruchim, which helps Jewish patients navigate the health care system to ensure that they receive halachic and culturally sensitive care. Rabbi Leser is known for his Halachic expertise in these critical areas of healthcare. Rabbi Leser also serves as a rabbinic consultant for The Jewish Board / Mishkon.

Dr. Elliot Samet is a prominent pediatrician in Passaic, New Jersey, who through his profession has helped countless patients and their families. He is heavily involved in Baruch LiMarpeh, a medical organization in Eretz Yisroel. Dr. Samet is also a loyal attendee of Agudas Yisroel dinners, conventions, and national and local events. He has presented at several Agudah events dealing with medical issues.

The William K. Friedman award will be presented to Rabbi Menashe Miller. Rabbi Miller, a devoted community activist and extraordinary Askan, is currently the deputy mayor of Lakewood Township. He also serves in the United States Air Force Reserves as a military chaplain, where he holds the rank of Major. Rabbi Miller is a long time friend of Agudas Yisroel, and has helped with many Agudah interactions with government and the military.

“This is a very impressive group of Askanim who give their all for Klal Yisroel. B’ezras Hashem, this dinner will be a golden opportunity to recognize and give Kavod to these Askanim, who are truly deserving of it” said Dr. David Diamond, Agudah Israel of America’s chairman of major events, and prominent member of its Board of Trustees.

New Jersey US Senator Cory Booker will be the guest speaker at the dinner. In his distinguished public career, first as Newark City Councilman, then as Mayor of Newark, and as United States Senator since 2013, Cory Booker has made a name for himself as an individual who is intensely devoted to public service and works tirelessly to enhance the lives of all segments of the community.

Senator Booker has been outspoken on behalf of school choice on the floor of the Senate, arguing forcefully that every child deserves a quality education. He has also been a staunch defender of the security of Israel. He sponsored a bill that granted Israel $225 million for the Iron Dome Rocket Defense Program during the Gaza War in August 2014.

Rabbi Avi Schnall, Agudath Israel’s New Jersey Director said, “We ‘Garden Staters’ are very proud to have the New Jersey Senator as the guest speaker for this year’s national Agudah dinner. He has been a true friend to our community and he is an absolutely dynamic speaker. We look forward to hosting him and having the opportunity to hear from him.”

Dinner chairman Dr. Irving Lebovics, President of Agudath Israel of California, urged all who are able to attend. “The dinner is a golden opportunity for the message of Torah Jewry to be heard by those in the positions of power on the federal, state and local level. The more people who are in attendance, the more powerfully that voice is heard. We urge every person who cares about Klal Yisroel to attend the dinner and strengthen the great koach harabim of Agudas Yisroel.”

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  1. Dr. Irving Lebovics, President of Agudath Israel of California is a real askan that asks for nothing on return. He takes care of the Klal in the West coast!