2017 Jewish Federation of NEPA Mission to Harrisburg
A delegation of 12 members of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania visited the state capital Tuesday April 25, 2017. The mission was organized and presented by Hank Butler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, the lobbyists for issues affecting the Jewish communities of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Upon arrival, Hank greeted the group and ushered to our meeting room for the day where coffee and cake awaited. State Senator John Blake ((D- Lackawanna) greeted the participants and set the stage for an informative and educational day. We learned from Hank that Senator Blake was a co-sponsor of the Resolution condemning anti-Semitism in Pennsylvania.
Our next speaker, Representative Jared Solomon (D- Philadelphia) spoke specifically on the issue of hate crimes particularly in light of the cemetery desecration in Philadelphia. Representative Aaron Kaufer (R- Luzerne) spoke to us about Aging and Welfare Issues and, specifically, about the Center for Independent Living now in Kingston which sounded like a wonderful idea for our aging population. Representative Dan Frankel (D- Allegheny) gave us information on women’s health issues facing the Commonwealth. Representative Michael Carroll (D- Luzerne) spoke about the great privilege and responsibility it is to serve the people of Pennsylvania.All speakers took time to answer questions and listen to comments and opinions from our group.
Over lunch we had a unique opportunity to hear from Sally Flaherty of the PA Department of Education concerning the implementation of Act 70- Holocaust Education in Pennsylvania Public Schools. Sally will be giving a teachers’ training at the upcoming Holocaust Teen Symposium in Scranton on Monday evening May 7, 2017.
After lunch, Hank led the delegation through the beautiful Capitol building, engaging us with many interesting and, often funny, anecdotes as we explored the houses in sessions.
This year’s group included two families of homeschooled students which gave a fresh perspective to seeing the legislative process in action.
All expressed their thanks to Hank Butler and the PJC as well as the Jewish Federation for sponsoring this mission.