Highlights of the 2014 OU Convention

The Orthodox Union’s biennial convention focused on the quest for global Jewish unity in the face of surging anti-Semitism. Bringing Orthodox Jewish women to the leadership table, day school affordability and other key communal issues were also addressed. Four hundred and fifty people attended the weekend and Sunday sessions in Tarrytown, New York, last December.

Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth Ephraim Mirvis speaking about issues facing the global Jewish community to convention participants.

Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth Ephraim Mirvis speaking about issues facing the global Jewish community to convention participants.

A new slate of officers and board members was installed on Friday afternoon. President Martin Nachimson was elected to a second term, Howard Zvi Friedman was elected chairman of the board and, for the first time in the history of the Orthodox Union, five women—Isabelle Novak, Barbara Lehmann Siegel, Esther Williams, Lorraine Hoffman and Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike—were among those designated officers of the organization. A complete list is on page 103.

Issues facing Israel and the global Jewish community were discussed at a plenary following Shabbat dinner. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Richard Stone, past chairman of the Conference, and former US Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen were featured. OU Director-at-large Moishe Bane chaired the session.

OU Associate Vice President Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike moderates a panel on women’s leadership in the Orthodox community.

OU Associate Vice President Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike moderates a panel on women’s leadership in the Orthodox community.

Yeshiva University President Richard Joel delivered the keynote address at the Installation Dinner of the new OU leadership on Motzaei Shabbat.

President of Yeshiva University Richard Joel delivering the keynote address at the Installation Dinner of the new OU leadership. Photos: David Miller/millerfolio.com

President of Yeshiva University Richard Joel delivering the keynote address at the Installation Dinner of the new OU leadership.
Photos: David Miller/millerfolio.com

The convention displayed the full scope of OU efforts, including, perhaps most notably, the work of OU Advocacy to secure the full measure of constitutionally permissible government funding for secular aspects of yeshivah and day school education.

Director of State Political Affairs, OU Advocacy, Maury Litwack discusses Jewish day school affordability.

Director of State Political Affairs, OU Advocacy, Maury Litwack discusses Jewish day school affordability.

A panel entitled “Bringing Orthodox Women to the Leadership Table” discussed the need for a stronger voice for women in the Orthodox community. Panelists included Chani Neuberger, chief risk officer of the National Security Agency (NSA); Rabbanit Chana Henkin, founder and dean of Nishmat, the Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women in Jerusalem, and Dr. Rona Novick, dean of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. OU Associate Vice President Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike chaired the panel.

From left: OU President Martin Nachimson; OU Executive Vice President Allen I. Fagin and OU National Vice President and Convention Chairman Dr. Shimmy Tennenbaum.

From left: OU President Martin Nachimson; OU Executive Vice President Allen I. Fagin and OU National Vice President and Convention Chairman Dr. Shimmy Tennenbaum.

Yaakov and Emma Farkas from Edison, New Jersey, enjoying the convention.

Yaakov and Emma Farkas from Edison, New Jersey, enjoying the convention.

The lengthy list of distinguished presenters included many well-known OU personalities as well as Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (Great Britain); Rabbi Daniel Oppenheimer, chief Ashkenazic rabbi of Buenos Aires; Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D., who leads the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue in Manhattan; Rachel Friedman, dean of the Lamdeinu Center for Jewish Learning in Teaneck, New Jersey; Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of the Touro College and University System; Rabbi Leonard Matanky, president of the Rabbinical Council of America; Rabbi Ya’akov Trump, assistant rabbi of Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst and Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, director of the Beth Din of America.

OU National Vice President Dr. Shimmy Tennenbaum of Teaneck served as convention chairman.

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This article was featured in the Spring 2015 issue of Jewish Action.
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