More than 750 people turned out for Agudath Israel of Maryland’s 10-year anniversary event, “A Decade of Impact,” held Oct. 14 at Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Pikesville. Gov. Larry Hogan was the featured guest, along with Maryland’s chief medical examiner, Dr. David Fowler.
Agudath Israel serves the general Jewish community, advocating for the interests of schools, synagogues, organizations, families and individuals, as well as specifically on behalf of the Orthodox Jewish community.
“This was a rare opportunity to come together for the event, as we’ve worked with Gov. Hogan extensively over the last four years through our advocacy work and the advances and initiatives that are important to the community, especially to the day schools, that have taken place under his leadership. That’s why we wanted to have him as a featured guest,” said Agudath Israel of Maryland founder and director Rabbi Ariel Sadwin. “And the chief medical examiner, because a lot of our advocacy is to promote religious protections of some of the more sacred items in Judaism, which the secular, governmental culture does not hold to the same regard as we do. Like prevention of autopsies and the Jewish traditional approach to preserving the dignity of the dead.”
The organization’s initiatives include security funds for schools and shuls, transportation for Jewish day school students, protecting religious rights and securing scholarships that since 2016 have reached $3.5 million for 2,500 students.
“It is truly an honor to join you for the 10-year anniversary gala of Agudath Israel of Maryland and to have this opportunity to help celebrate your many successes advocating on behalf of Jewish schools and synagogues, organizations and families, for all members of the Jewish faith, and especially for the Orthodox Jewish Community, throughout the mid-Atlantic region,” Hogan said in his address, adding that he met Sadwin when he was running for governor. “I promised him and all of the rabbis then that my administration would be more accessible and more responsive to your community, and I hope that you’ll agree that we have done exactly that. As governor, I have been a strong supporter and advocate — not just for Maryland’s Jewish community — but also for Israel. There is a long and proud shared history between Maryland and Israel.”
Sadwin said the event was a great success and a successful fundraiser to continue the organization’s mission of serving the needs of the Jewish community. Looking forward, Sadwin said Agudath Israel is pursuing expanded access to services for children in Jewish day schools with special needs, improving school transportation and maintaining religious protections in medical facilities regarding end-of-life issues.
“There’s always a struggle in the medical world today when a person is nearing the end. Do we forget about them and let hospitals do what they want?” Sadwin asked. “Or do we advocate on their behalf to ensure that their families’ wishes, in terms of how care is administered, are carried out?”
Hogan ended his address with praise for the organization’s decade of service and advocacy.
“For 10 years now, Agudath Israel of Maryland has been protecting the freedoms and serving the interests of the Jewish community,” Hogan said. “It has been my honor to work alongside you and to support your efforts, and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the years ahead.”