web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Disappointing Political Machinations

Share Button

We are disappointed to report that because of the last minute intransigence of New York’s Governor George Pataki, the state Senate failed to pass the two bills important to the Jewish
community which we wrote about last week, and which had been passed earlier by the Assembly. One of the proposed bills would have established a new kosher laws to fill the gap in protection for kosher consumers created by federal court decisions declaring New York’s
kosher law unconstitutional. The other would have permitted private and religious schools to use state aid - already otherwise earmarked for their students - to be also used to purchase badly-needed computers for their students.

Unfortunately, while both bills passed the Democratic-led Assembly, they stalled as the Republican-dominated Senate, apparently taking its cue from Governor George Pataki, refused to act on them despite earlier indications that it would. To be sure, the bills were introduced by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, both Democrats. But an understanding on both sides of the aisle had emerged in the final days of the legislative session that the bills fundamentally stood on their own merits and should be enacted into law, with some minor revisions.

The story of the kashruth bill is particularly disturbing. Despite the fact that Senate leaders had indicated that the Silver/Spitzer bill was a “go, ” and that prominent Republican senators such as Michael Balboni and Martin Golden had signed on as sponsors, at the 11th hour the Senate refused to consider it. As we have pieced things together, it appears that Governor Pataki insisted that any new legislation would have to be built around a bill he had proposed several months ago without discussion with anyone outside of government and which incorporated certain substantive definitions of “kosher.” Yet to the dismay of virtually everyone with whom we spoke, the Pataki proposal - remarkably - flew directly in the face of the court decisions which struck down the old law on the ground that it enforced religious standards of “kosher.”

Plainly, whether or not one agrees with those court decisions it is necessary to recognize that any new law must be consistent with those decisions. The law proposed by Assembly Speaker Silver and Attorney General Spitzer was just that – essentially requiring vendors only to disclose their basis for representing food as kosher, including the name, contact information
and affiliation of any individual or organization certifying the food as kosher. The bill also required stores to post a Kosher Certification Form containing this information, and directed the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop and maintain a website where interested consumers could download the certification information.

Indeed, this approach was endorsed by members of a task force examining the kosher laws that included representatives of Agudath Israel of America, the American Jewish Congress,
COLPA, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, the United Synagogue of America and the renowned constitutional lawyer Nathan Lewin. Despite this consensus within the Jewish community, the bill failed to proceed beyond the Assembly.

A similar fate befell another Silver/Spitzer bill, this one to provide computers for nonpublic school students at no increase in the overall amount of state aid. More than three years have
passed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such aid is permissible, and yet New York still does not provide computer aid to non-public school students. The bill would have simply allowed certain moneys already allocated for specific student needs to be spent on computers at the discretion of the schools.

This latter bill was developed on the heels of last year’s Attorney General’s Report on Non-Public Education, which recommended that the State assist nonpublic school students with computers and opined that such aid does not violate either the federal or state constitutions. Here too, the bill passed the Assembly but was then ignored by the Senate after an understanding had been reached as to its passage.

We applaud Speaker Silver and Attorney General Spitzer for championing these issues, even as we are appalled by the governor’s seeming willingness to sacrifice meaningful legislation for
political gain. We are hopeful that the Jewish community will make its voice heard and that these bills will be considered when the Legislature next convenes.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Disappointing Political Machinations”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from Editorial Board

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

To be sure, American policy had long opposed the growth of Israeli settlements, but at the same time U.S. policymakers acknowledged that in any negotiated agreement there would be land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians to accommodate the large numbers of Israelis living in the settlements.

The issue of affordable infertility treatment has long been one of particular importance to the Orthodox Jewish community and we support the leadership of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who again successfully championed this significant cause.

So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.

The Department of Justice acknowledges that individuals can claim an exemption if they can demonstrate an adverse impact on their religious beliefs.

In the larger sense, Mrs. Lubling came to epitomize an Orthodox community dedicated to taking care of its own.

There may not have been much else President Obama could have realistically done, but the headline writers at the Times obviously felt the need to massage a front-page story that took a less than giddy approach to Mr. Obama’s policymaking; how else to explain the story’s headline – “As Sanctions Start, Russia Feels a Sting”?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/disappointing-political-machinations/2003/07/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: