The National Council of Young Israel replaces its entire executive board, a stark move away from its vocally pro-Donald Trump leadership, whose statements have led to controversy in the Orthodox synagogue association.
The council represents more than 100 Orthodox synagogues across the country. It is more than a century old, and in recent years its national officers had sparked backlash from some member synagogues over their embrace of right-wing politics in the United States and Israel.
In 2019, 23 member synagogues objected when the movement was the first Jewish-American organization to defend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu working with a far-right political party. One of those synagogues, in Atlanta, ended up leaving the movement. Later that year, the national Young Israel gala had the feel of a Jewish Trump rally, with a lineup of Republican officials speaking and red MAGA-style hats on the tables.
Member synagogues elected the new board as a slate last week. The new council president, Rabbi David Warshaw, is a synagogue executive in New York. He said the group will place less of an emphasis on political advocacy.
“We will continue to speak out on Israel,” Warshaw tells Jewish Insider, “but the purpose of NCYI is not to be an advocacy organization.”