May 30, 2024
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May 30, 2024
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Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce Leads Mission to Washington DC

“The Orthodox Jewish community is not underserved, but not served at all.”

(Courtesy of OJCC) The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce recently led a delegation to Washington DC on April 3 and 4, accompanied by a group of the top 30 US presidents of Chambers of Commerce. The purpose of this mission was centered around a new initiative introduced by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce called “The National Chamber of Commerce Leadership Roundtable.” This groundbreaking initiative, organized by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Don Graves, in partnership with the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and OFBNP National Partners, marks the first of its kind in bringing together top leaders in the field of commerce.

The National Chamber of Commerce Leadership Roundtable aims to revolutionize the relationships between the federal government and local chambers of commerce to help provide an intimate platform for collaboration, networking and exchange of ideas across the United States.

This initiative highlights the commitment of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce to fostering economic growth, innovation and partnership within the business community. By bringing together top leaders from various chambers of commerce, the roundtable seeks to drive forward progress and create new opportunities for economic development and prosperity.

The roundtable, held at the United States Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. headquarters, was hosted by Deputy Secretary Don Graves and Acting Under Secretary Eric Morrissette, Minority Business Development Agency,and included opening remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

The mission kicked off its evening on April 3 with a VIP welcoming dinner. Special guests included Senior Advisor to SBA Administrator Deidra Henry-Spires and US Representative for the District of Columbia Oye Owolewa.

The dinner began with welcoming remarks and a blessing from Rabbi Levi Shem Tov from Chabad of Washington DC, highlighting the importance of unity and collaboration in achieving common goals. The dinner was sponsored by Randy Peers and Gil Cygler of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with DHC Public Relations Group.

By creating a way to build strong partnerships between government and leading chambers of commerce who are the actual boots on the ground, solutions can be created to economic challenges and it can be ensured that Federal resources are being effectively utilized to support businesses and communities in need.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves opened the National Chambers of Commerce Leadership Roundtable with remarks welcoming everyone and thanking Duvi Honig for his leadership and vision, and for convening a group of mission-driven leaders dedicated to strengthening the US economy.

Duvi Honig, the founder and CEO of the Chamber, highlighted the challenges faced by the Orthodox Jewish community in the United States in his opening remarks. He emphasized to the Secretary how the Orthodox Jewish community is not just underserved, but rather not served at all by the US government. He called for a direct partnership to be established between the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and the US Department of Commerce.

The roundtable included the participation of heads of various bureaus and interagency partners, such as the White House, Treasury, Small Business Administration, FEMA, EDA MBDA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Thanks to the tireless dedication of Andres Torres, special assistant to the deputy secretary, the Joint initiative was widely praised and embraced by the US Department of Commerce and the White House, who recognized the visionary and trailblazing approach of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce in introducing this concept.

Chamber presidents addressed the issue of government funding being funneled to states who sadly redirected those actual funds for purposes other than economic development. They called for an end to this practice and urged the government to work from the bottom up and not from the top down by working directly with chambers and economic development organizations to ensure that funds are allocated and used appropriately for economic development programs and organizations rather than being siphoned off by states for other purposes.

By bypassing the states and working with chambers and economic development organizations at the grassroots level, the government can ensure that resources are reaching those who need them most and are being used to stimulate growth and prosperity in local economies while saving the US Government billions of dollars annually.

The mission to Washington DC was not just a one-time event, but a call to action for continued cooperation and collaboration between government and chambers of commerce at all levels annually. By working together, we can create a more prosperous and inclusive economy that benefits all Americans, regardless of their background, race or religion.

In addition the event provided chambers with access to crucial resources and support from various heads of leading departments within the Department of Commerce. These resources include assistance with entrepreneurship, federal procurement, business development, data and innovation, climate resilience, equity, anti-hate community organizing and more.

It was inspiring to see leaders like Hinojosa Anthony, Rochelle Ford and Reena Bhatia sharing their insights and experiences in navigating the ever-changing business landscape. From Gil Cyglar and Lisa Sorin discussing strategies for promoting economic growth in their communities to Jessica Walker and KV Kumar emphasizing the importance of fostering international partnerships, there was a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw upon. The presence of individuals like Michael Edgenton, Jaime Schmeiser, Mark Jaffe, and Hope Blecher added valuable perspectives on government relations and community development.

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