News Article

OU Teens Lobby on the Hill
April 18, 2024


(Courtesy of OU) The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, together with NCSY Atlantic Seaboard, recently gathered over 150 Jewish high school students in Washington, DC, as part of Senator Ben Cardin’s Jewish Scholar Program.

The young leaders advocated for passing the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which mandates the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism within the Department of Education when monitoring and prosecuting federal anti-discrimination laws.

They also stressed the importance of including the additional $400 million in emergency funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) passed by the Senate in future House funding bills. The young leaders urged members to continue publicly defending Israel and to pass the National Security Supplemental, which would provide much-needed aid to Israel.

During their visit to Capitol Hill, the group had the privilege of meeting with Senator Ben Cardin, a stalwart advocate for the Jewish community, and Aaron Keyak, the State Department’s Deputy Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism. Additionally, Representatives David Trone (MD-06), Rob Menendez (NJ-08) and Steny Hoyer (MD-05) addressed the students.

These engagements allowed them to voice their concerns directly and learn from key decision-makers.

Nathan Diament, executive director of public policy at the Orthodox Union, said:

“At this critical time for Jewish Americans, it is more important than ever to engage our youth in the process of advocating for our community’s priorities. Today’s meetings allowed students to voice their concerns directly and learn from key decision-makers. Additionally, they were able to lend their voices to critical legislation we urge Congress to pass, allowing the protection of American Jewish communities as well as the safety of Israel. With Senator Cardin retiring from the Senate, this was an opportune time to thank him for trailblazing this powerful program.”