- Public Policy
- Jewish Communal Network
- Radio and Television
- International Synagogue and Jewish Center Advisory Council
- In Defense of World Jewry
- Watchman for the Community
- An Oasis of Harmony
The NYBR is the voice of mainstream religious Judaism as it relates to governmental policy positions. The NYBR monitors the governments of city, state and neighboring counties on matters that affect Jewish life and public welfare. Consequently, the NYBR involves itself in legislation, tax issues, and other public matters touching the Jewish religious community. It has worked closely with the other faith groups and other Jewish agencies in opposing burdensome taxes that adversely affect synagogues, churches, yeshivot and day schools. The Board has also fought budget cuts in city, county and state that have endangered chaplaincy programs, curtailed religious services or infringed on religious observances. The NYBR is represented in New York City as well as in Albany and in the county seats to keep watch on legislative developments and safeguard Jewish religious rights and prerogatives. It maintains ties with various city and state departments and agencies assuring that religious sensibilities and needs are met. The Board is invariably invited to participate in major public events and significant ceremonials as the representative of mainstream religious Jewry.
The NYBR is a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation of New York, and its members sit on some very important committees, helping to shape policies of that organization. The Board is also a charter member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and helps coordinate policies of the New York Jewish community. It assist and cooperates with organizations such as the New York Metropolitan Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty and Federation Employment and Guidance Service.
It works with national agencies, such as the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, UJC, State of Israel Bonds, JNF and birthright Israel in a variety of domestic and foreign areas.
Additionally, the NYBR has been in the vanguard of the Soviet Jewry movement. It has spearheaded support groups for Jewish sufferers from drug and alcohol addiction, housing the homeless and a host of other critical social issues.
Since 1936, the New York Board of Rabbis continually has developed a lively and popular series of radio and television programs. The flagship program on television is “Point of View”, appearing on cable and aired nationally on the VISN cable network. The Board helps produce religious programs which air nationally, including “Religion on the Line” on WABC, “Perspectives in the News” on WOR, and a weekly commentary on WINS. The Media and Communication Commission draws Rabbis and media specialists who advise on all aspects of television, radio and communication.
The NYBR helped establish the International Synagogue at John F. Kennedy Airport in 1967 to serve travelers, airport employees, and merchants. The Board’s chaplain runs religious services, teaches classes in Jewish subjects, hosts Jewish dignitaries from all over the world, arranges for special conferences and meetings, and handles special needs of travelers and emergencies.
The NYBR is aided in its work by a lay Advisory Council that meets periodically. This group of distinguished men and women helps the Board meet its financial obligations, advises it on policy matters and aids in promoting projects of the Board.
The NYBR is zealous to protect and defend the rights and needs of Jews worldwide. Soviet and Syrian Jewry have always occupied a high place on the list of priorities for the Board. Israel has also been uppermost in the programs, policies and positions of the Board which retains close ties to the Consulate of Israel in New York and which is vocal in marshaling support for the Jewish state.
The NYBR has served faithfully as “the watchman in the night” protecting and defending Jewish religious needs whether in the civil service or professions, on the college campuses or in the public schools, in the public and private sectors. It is always wary of infringement of Jewish observances and battles for Sabbath and Yom Tov observances, kashrut in public as well as private institutions, Jewish burial rites, and other vital mitzvot.
In an era of divisiveness, partisanship and denominationalism when polarization has increased and differences of theology and Halakhah have sharpened, the New York Board of Rabbis has served as a bridge across troubled waters. By seeking to rise above partisan bickering and factionalism, by working for the common good, by serving all Jews irrespective of religious orientation, the NYBR acts as an oasis of harmony in a wilderness of dissension. It is a haven where rabbis learn there is more that unites than divides them and where colleagues can agree to disagree agreeably. In a word, it teaches us that all Jews are colleagues and brothers and sisters.