Jewish Education and Religious Freedom: What is at Stake?
A conversation with Alyza Lewin, Jason Bedrick, and Rabbi Aaron Kotler, led by Eric Cohen
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at the Tikvah Center
165 E 56th St, New York, NY 10022
Reception at 6:00 PM | Conversation at 6:30 PM
Limited space available. Registration below required.
Over the past many years, American society has been engaged in an intense debate about the meaning of religious freedom for individuals and communities, private companies and private charities, houses of worship and religious schools. The Jewish community has a great stake in these debates—as we have seen recently in the controversy over New York’s effort to regulate the curriculum of yeshiva day schools.
How should the Jewish community—and how should American citizens and leaders—think about these issues?
- Should state and local governments have regulatory authority over the curriculum of religious schools?
- Should religious schools have the freedom to choose teachers and students according to their own moral and religious values?
- How would a system of school vouchers, tax credits, or education savings accounts—allowing parents to use public funds for the religious education of their children—affect the autonomy of religious schools to direct their own curriculum and culture?
Join us for an in-depth discussion of these issues with three of our nation’s—and the Jewish community’s—leading voices on these issues: Prominent lawyer and religious freedom advocate Alyza Lewin, president of the Lakewood Yeshiva Rabbi Aaron Kotler, and Director of Policy at EdChoice Jason Bedrick. The conversation will be moderated by Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen.
Alyza Lewin, Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Alyza D. Lewin is President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. She is also a co-founder and partner in Lewin & Lewin, LLP where she has specialized in litigation, mediation and government relations. She specializes in litigation, mediation, and government relations. Ms. Lewin currently practices law together with her father, Nathan Lewin, at Lewin & Lewin, LLP, a nationally-acclaimed law firm and one of the most well-known advocates on religious liberty matters in the American Jewish community. Her work involves criminal defense, civil litigation and anti-discrimination matters, including the representation of individuals who are victims of religious discrimination. Ms. Lewin has also been trained as a mediator by the American Arbitration Association and the Center for Dispute Settlement.
Jason Bedrick, EdChoice
Yehoshua (Jason) Bedrick is Director of Policy at EdChoice. Previously, he was a Policy Analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. He also served as a legislator in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and was a Research Fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, where he focused on educational choice. Mr. Bedrick received his Master’s in Public Policy, with a focus in education policy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the Rabbinical College of America and a B.S. in Business Administration from Babson College.
Rabbi Aaron Kotler, Beth Medrash Gevoha Yeshiva of Lakewood, NJ
Rabbi Aaron Kotler is the President and CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG), also known as the Lakewood Yeshiva. BMG has some 7,000 students and 13,000 alumni, many of whom are leaders and builders of Jewish communities worldwide. The yeshiva is the engine of growth for the community of Lakewood, NJ, helping it leap from New Jersey’s 20th largest municipality to the 7th. As Lakewood has grown, Rabbi Kotler has been active in public policy matters, serving on various boards devoted to the expansion of regional health care, transportation, housing, education, and economic development.
Eric Cohen, The Tikvah Fund
Eric Cohen is the Executive Director of the Tikvah Fund since 2007. He was the founder and remains Editor-at-Large of the New Atlantis, serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Review of Books, co-chair of the Jewish Leadership Conference, and is the publisher of Mosaic. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Witherspoon Institute, and National Affairs and on the Editorial Advisory Board of First Things. Mr. Cohen has published in numerous academic and popular journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, the New Republic, First Things, and numerous others. He is the author of In the Shadow of Progress: Being Human in the Age of Technology (2008) and co-editor of The Future is Now: America Confronts the New Genetics (2002). He was previously Managing Editor of the Public Interest and served as a Senior Consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics.