A Decade of Impact — Agudath Israel of Maryland Hosts Ten- Year Anniversary Gala

One of the many standing ovations at the Agudath Israel of Maryland Ten Year Anniversary Gala . (credit)Jeff Cohn Photography

Mah ashiv laHashem, kol tagmulohi alai, how can I repay Hashem for His bounty of kindness. I began this journey 10 years ago, not knowing where I would end up. It was due to the merits of this community that I served as their emissary.

“I could not have been more fortunate to be part of a better family of askanim than the Agudah, who taught me what it means to work for tzorchei tzibbur.”

These were the words of Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, regional director of Agudath Israel of Maryland, at the organization’s Ten Year Anniversary Gala, held on Sunday evening, October 14.

The event was a huge success and a major kiddush Hashem, as a standing-room-only crowd of close to 750 people came to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of Agudath Israel, and to show appreciation to Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan, and to Maryland’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. David Fowler.

Mr. Jacob Slone, Gala chairman, opened the event and welcomed all the distinguished Rabbanim, government officials, and representatives of the national Agudah who attended the event. He introduced Harav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, who delivered divrei chizuk.

Quoting from Parashas Lech Lecha, Rav Feldman cited Hashem’s brachah to Avraham Avinu that “Those who bless you will be blessed, and those who curse you will be cursed.”

Rav Feldman asserted, “The Jewish People were given a special blessing by G-d, and that includes the political figures and anyone who lends a hand to the improvement of Jewish society.”

Mr. Slone then introduced the Honorable Ben Cardin, Senator for the State of Maryland, who is known for his support of the Jewish community and the State of Israel. Senator Cardin emphasized the strides recently made in Congress in fighting the BDS movement and declared that he anticipates important legislation to be enacted this year.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, relayed divrei brachah. Overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, Rabbi Zwiebel asserted, “I knew about the tangible achievements this office has achieved, but to think that they have galvanized the community in such a way is a sign of the remarkable support, love and appreciation that Rabbi Sadwin has earned.”

 (L-R): Mr. Shlomo Werdiger, chairman of Agudah’s board of trustees; Governor Larry Hogan, and Rabbi Ariel Sadwin.

A highlight of the evening was an address by the guest of honor, the Honorable Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland. The governor was introduced by Dr. Paul Volosov, chairman and founder of Salisbury Management, Inc, who emphasized the wonderful relationship between the governor and the Jewish community, and his many accomplishments on their behalf.

As the governor rose to take the podium, the crowd erupted for a thunderous standing ovation. “I am so proud to be helping all the members of the Jewish faith, and especially the Orthodox community,” the governor began.

He then described his recent trip to Israel and the trade agreements and partnerships that he established while there. He spoke about school security, and the success of the BOOST program, which provides millions of dollars of scholarships to day school students, and his goal to increase the program in the future.

He then called up Rabbi Sadwin and presented him with a beautifully framed Governor’s Citation. Rabbi Sadwin in turn presented the governor with a scrapbook, put together by day school students in Maryland, in appreciation of the governor’s support of the BOOST program and the record funding increases for private schools in Maryland.

In the next segment of the program, Rabbi Sadwin delivered a tribute to Dr. David Fowler, as the crowd rose in another standing ovation.

Rabbi Sadwin described how the Agudah has worked hand in hand with the Medical Examiner’s office to establish protocol that would assure proper kvod hames and still be in tandem with state requirements, and asserted that perhaps Dr. Fowler, with his strong desire to enable the Jewish community to uphold its faith and traditions, could be considered one of the “righteous among the gentiles.”

Dr. Fowler was truly honored by the recognition. He addressed the audience, describing the work of the medical examiner’s office and related that the protocol developed in Maryland was shared with all medical examiners in the Mid-Atlantic region, and ultimately, at the National Association of Medical Examiners convention.

Rabbi Shalom Tendler then rose to the podium, with a surprise presentation to Rabbi Sadwin. Once again, the crowd rose with a thunderous standing ovation, as Rabbi Tendler gifted Rabbi Sadwin with a magnificent silver Kiddush cup, explaining that “he makes a kiddush Hashem with all that he does.”

A video presentation, entitled, “A Decade of Impact,” rounded off the program. The video depicted the development of the Agudath Israel of Maryland and highlighted many of the accomplishments of the Agudath Israel of Maryland, including Title I services in the day schools, MTA busing to the schools, the promotion of Maryland 529 accounts, and general constituent services, providing assistance to community members in any crisis.

The BOOST program has provided 3.5 million dollars of scholarships to 2,500 students, and 60 autopsies have been avoided due to the relationship with the medical examiner’s office.

Rabbi Sadwin delivered moving concluding remarks, thanking all of those who helped the Agudath Israel of Maryland develop and succeed, and all of those who helped make the evening’s event such a success.

“To put together this tremendous kiddush Hashem is one of the greatest zechuyos that I have ever had.”