A delegation of 15 members of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania visited our state capital on Monday April 28, 2014. The mission was organized and presented by Hank Butler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) with a full agenda for the participants.
Upon arrival, coffee and cakes were served as the group settled in the Democratic caucus room for a series of presentations by many state senators and representatives. Hank introduced Sen. John Blake, state senator for Lackawanna County, whom we have met before on other missions. Sen. Blake greeted us and gave us an overview of topics currently under discussion and vote, most notably a potential mandate for Holocaust education in the Commonwealth public schools. He easily took questions and comments from our group.
Secretary of Aging, Brian Duke, next spoke. He talked about the current status of Pennsylvania’s commitment to its aging population, noting that Pennsylvania is the fifth “grayist” state in the country. Interestingly, he mentioned a documentary made by University of Scranton professor, Dr. Hauser, about the issue of aging in place. Our own Jewish Family Service is featured in this film as well interviews with some of our JCC SAC club members.
Other visitors included Jewish members of the State Legislature, Senators Andrew Dinniman and Judy Schwank and Representative Dan Frankel.
Sid Michael Kavulich, of our region, stopped by before we left to attend the Pennsylvania State Civic Holocaust Remembrance held in the governor’s office.
The memorial gave us a chance to reflect on the Holocaust and to remark on the passing of our good friend, Sam Rosen, who always attended this program. His son, Ray, lit a candle in his memory.
We enjoyed a boxed lunch before heading out on a tour of the capital building, probably the most beautiful state capital building in the country.
All who participated enjoyed the company, appreciated the education and marveled at the tour. Thank you to the Federation and to Dassy Ganz for organizing this trip.