Ohio Jewish Chronicle, 1992-01-09, page 01
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Ohio Hist.Society Libr 1982 Velrnal Ave . Columbus, Ohio I! V ii< n. w ft THE The Ohio Jewish Chronicle Serving Columbus and Central Ohio Jewish Community for Over 60 Years VOLUME 70 NUMBER 2 JANUARY 9,1992 4TEVET5752 ' DEVOTED TO AMERICAN' AND JEWISH IDEALS Disaffected cantors form new group page 2 Police honor lodge for holiday program page 2 Shneider to address , B&P Group on Jan. 29 '■ ■ page 3 Katzy Cohen to chair two JFS fundraisers page 3 Breakup of Soviet Union raises questions page 4 Lavon named co-chair of New Leadership page 6 R. Milenthal to speak at Jan. 28 YJP event ' ' ■. page 10 mmmm In The Chronicle ■«■ ft ■ - . ■ • • , ; At The jcc ,/,,./.,.,,.; .,.u Community ,-...,.,,.,.-.,.' ,.,;,...'., 5-8 Federation ;,'... ,.„..'.. 10,11 ! FrontPage ....'.,...,..: ,3,3 Ufecycle ,., , 12 ., Marketplace , ....',.;....',,."..,. 16 '. New Generation ,.,..... 13 Synagogues , .'...,, K 9 Viewpoint ,.........,., ,4 FEATURE Power on the Potomac Washington is replacing New York as the center of American Jewish political power By James D. Besser Twenty years ago, Hyman Bookbinder, the longtime Washington representative of the American Jewish Committee, helped create "First Tuesday," an informal, monthly gathering for leading Jewish activistsworking in the nation's capital the idea was to enable them to share common concerns. "In those first years, we'd have maybe seven or eight people at our meetings" recalled Bookbinder, now retired. But over the years, the gatherings grew steadily. "Now, we sometimes have more than 40 — and many of them are full-time professionals representing Jewish organizations," Bookbinder noted. "What I've seen is a constant, uninterrupted increase in the number of players on the Washington scene, in the number oE visits of Jewish officials and organization people to Washington — professional andlay." The growth of "First Tuesday" is one indication of a fundamental recasting of the American Jewish political scene in recent years. New York may still be the spiritual home of American Jewry, but Washington is fast becoming the community's political center. The result is a Washington Jewish presence that may be more politically credible and more sophisticated than ever before — but one that no longer speaks with the resounding authority of a single voice. Where before the only Jewish groups in Washington lob- ' bying on domestic issues represented the liberal end of the Jewish political spectrum, today, with the rising influence of Orthodox lobbyists, legislators are hearing from a Jewish community that is increasingly split on such key issues as parochial school funding and civil rights. Likewise, before there were only a handful of pro-Israel lobbyists, and the unanimity of the community was reflected in their pitch to Congress. But today, their number has increased dramatically — and so has the diversity of opinions on the Middle East offered up to Washington decision-makers. Access Is Key Having lobbyists in Washington has allowed Jewish groups to effectively weigh-in on a growing number of important domestic issues and has enhanced efforts to secure badly needed federal funding for Jewish social and health services. Moreover, the growing Jewish mastery of official Washington has helped propel pro- Israel groups to successes un- imagined only a dozen years ago, the debacle over the $10 billion U.S. loan guarantee for Soviet Jewish resettlement notwithstanding. To be sure, some Jewish groups have long had a major Washington presence. They include the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the American Jewish Congress, the Council of Jewish Federations, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the National Council of Jewish Women. These groups say having a full-time Washington office provides significant advantages, not the least of which is that it enables them to better play the networking game that is the key to getting things done in the nation's capital. "We benefit in two ways," said Henry Siegman, executive director of the American Jewish Congress. "First, hav-' ing a Washington office provides us with accurate and timely information about what is happening in government. And it gives us much more access to legislators and policy-makers." Secondly, he continued, "we've found that with a Washington office, many people in the administration and on [Capitol] Hill turn to us before certain problems arise, to get our input. The fact that our man there is recognized, that the office's work is considered reliable, helps us have a much greater impact." It is these truisms of Washington political life that have prompted a variety of other Jewish groups to also take the capital lobbying game more seriously. One such relative newcomer is Agudath Israel of America, the politically active Orthodox group. . Agudah opened a Washington office three years ago and quickly^ become an active player on a wide range of issues, from education to child care legislation. "There are a number of laws that Congress passed this year that would have looked very different if we hadn't had a Washington presence," said David Zwiebel, Agudah's director of government relations and general counsel. "Opening a Washington office was one of the best decisions we ever made." Two years ago, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry shifted most of its operations to Washington, while also retaining a New York office. "One factor in this shift was the recognition that Washington plays such a critical role in moving the advocacy agenda forward," said Martin Wen- ick, the group's executive director. "It's the inter-relationships with members of Congress and the administration over a number of years that is the capstone of any grassroots effort." Even regional Jewish agencies have set up shop in Washington, one of them being the Jewish Federation of Metro politan Chicago, which has maintained its own office in the district for six years. "We found that the national staff of the Council of Jewish Federations represents the needs and interests of Jews on a national basis — but they can't go in and lobby for Illinois," said Joel Carp, the Chicago federation's associate executive director. "That's what we're interested in. We want to increase the state's piece of the economic pie, which potentially increases the share of funds available for the Jewish community here for things like health and social services, for refugees, for education." Has the investment paid off? , "In six years, we've probably made up the costs of operating that office for more than a dozen; years," Carp said. "We're talking about several million dollars. We have a major grant from HUD for housing for the elderly, we received a second grant from HUD enabling us to open and renovate a 23-bed transitional shelter forhomeless Jews." But it's not just money that attracts groups like the Chicago federation to Washington. "A lot of what happens to the state of Illinois, in terms of laws, regulations and procedures are determined in Washington," Carp continued. "How. regulations and policies get shaped is very important to us. The Israel Lobby The powerful pro-Israel community is both a cause and a beneficiary of this geographic redistribution of Jewish clout. "I'd say the biggest factors in the move to Washington were the historic, momentous developments of 1967," said Bookbinder, former American Jewish Committee official. "The Six Day War was the see POWER pg. 4 3*WS9K£i- •s?*5g5EJ?(jT??C*t<iS!W**y#* f^^gii^fe^^&^—^giiSg"
|Title||Ohio Jewish Chronicle, 1992-01-09|
|Subject||Jews -- Ohio -- Periodicals|
|Place||Columbus (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio)|
|Creator||Ohio Jewish Chronicle|
|Collection||Ohio Jewish Chronicle|
|Submitting Institution||Columbus Jewish Historical Society|
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