Agudath Israel VP to Enter Private Sector, Will Retain Role

NEW YORK (Hamodia Staff) -

Agudath Israel of America’s vice president for development and state relations, Rabbi Yechiel Kalish, will be leaving the employ of Agudath Israel, a spokesman announced Thursday. He will retain a prominent role in the development of Agudath Israel’s national network of governmental advocacy offices.

“After consultation with Gedolei Torah,” Rabbi Kalish said in a statement released to Hamodia, “including the Telsher Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Avrohom Chaim Levin, shlita, and guidance of chashuve Roshei Yeshivah including Harav Chaim Yehoshua Hoberman, shlita, I have concluded that it was time for me to leave the ‘employ’ of Agudath Israel but not the ‘family.’”

Rabbi Kalish began his career at Agudath Israel in 2002, when he was hired to serve as the Midwest regional director. He became vice president for development and state relations in 2013. In addition, Rabbi Kalish was a member, along with Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin and Rabbi Labish Becker, of the executive staff committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Over the course of his tenure at Agudah, Rabbi Kalish was instrumental in developing a network of regional offices focusing on governmental advocacy in state capitals across the country. In addition, he emerged on the national scene as one of the most effective advocates for “school choice.”

Rabbi Kalish will be leaving, effective Sept. 1, 2014. He will serve as chairman and CEO of the S4 Group, LLC, a full-service government affairs firm with offices in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

At the same time, Rabbi Kalish will continue to serve as a volunteer for Agudath Israel, as chairman of the organization’s state relations committee. In that capacity, he will continue to work with Rabbi A.D. Motzen, Agudath Israel’s national director of state relations.

“When a person of the caliber and stature of Rabbi Yechiel Kalish leaves the employ of an organization, it is obviously a great loss,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel. “We will miss him tremendously.”

“At the same time, however, we are thrilled that Yechiel will continue to serve Agudath Israel in a volunteer capacity as chairman of our state relations committee. Knowing him as we do, we have every confidence that he will continue making a real difference for Klal Yisrael regardless of where he happens to be employed.”

Rabbi Kalish said that working for Agudah has been a dream since he was 11-years-old.

“I have tremendous amounts of hakaras hatov to the city of Chicago, the entire staff, membership, board of trustees and friends of Agudath Israel and specifically, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom who found, hired and trained me. To Rabbi Dovid Schnell and Rabbi Labish Becker, who encouraged and guided me and to Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel and Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin for creating an organization we could all be proud to be a part of. A deep sense of hakaras hatov to four members of our board of trustees who are involved in the very difficult task of keeping Agudath Israel fiscally sound: Reb Shlomo Werdiger, Reb Yaty Weinreb, Dr. Dudie Diamond and Reb Hashi Herzka.”