Young Israel Participates in Faith Leaders’ Summit Focusing on Education

November 18, 2018

The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) recently participated in the U.S. Department of Education’s Faith Leaders’ Summit, which focused on various issues pertaining to education in faith-based schools. The summit, which was held in Washington, DC under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, featured an array of government officials who addressed the faith leaders about matters that impact religious liberty within the realm of education.

NCYI Director of Government Relations & Policy Communications Nachman Mostofsky, who attended the conference, noted how valuable the program was.

“With several hundred thousand students enrolled in Jewish day schools across the United States, the intersection of religious liberty and education is of great interest to the American Jewish community,” said Mostofsky. “It is critical that we continue advocating for our students and our schools, and ensure that their needs and concerns are being duly addressed by our government officials.”

In addition to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who offered video greetings, attendees at the Faith Leaders’ Summit heard from Dr. Andrea Ramirez, Acting Executive Director at the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, Dr. Maureen Dowling, Director of the Office of Non-Public Education, and Amanda Robbins, Deputy Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Liaison.

There were a number of panels that focused on specific topics, such as higher education, which featured Jim Blew, Assistant Secretary at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, and school safety, which was led by Gen./Dr. Mitchell Zais, Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

Mostofsky participated in a session on religious liberty, in which there were extensive discussions regarding the scope of religious freedom in the U.S. In addition, there was a detailed conversation about the Presidential Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty that was signed in May 2017, which was intended to assist the Executive Branch in formulating and implementing policies relating to religious liberty.

During the summit, Mostofsky raised the issue of administration of religious liberties in faith-based schools. In response to a question he posed to the legal advisor for federal faith liaisons about utilizing the Department of Justice to enforce religious freedom in schools, Mostofsky received a standing ovation from the many faith and education leaders who were present.