Jewish groups support Ilhan Omar’s rule change push
Representative-elect Ilhan Omar. (Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons)
Jewish groups support Ilhan Omar’s rule change push: A new rule change proposed by Democrats would roll back a 181-year-old ban on hats in the House of Representatives and allow religious headwear like yarmulkes and hijabs to be worn by lawmakers. The proposal is backed by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jim McGovern (MA) and member-elect Ilhan Omar (MN), one of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress. Several Jewish groups are supportive of the rule change.
Worth Noting: Omar received some criticism in the pro-Israel community when she announced last week that she “believes in and supports the BDS movement.” On the rule change issue, however, Omar has found support from prominent Jewish leaders.
Nathan Diament, Executive Director for the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center, tells Jewish Insider… “The OU has long supported laws and policies that foster the accommodation of religious practices in the workplace. Religious practices – such as wearing religious garb, whether a kippah or a hijab, should be accommodated in all workplaces – including Congress.”
Avi Shafran, Director of Public Affairs at Agudath Israel of America, tells us… “While we haven’t seen the wording of the proposal, the Agudah has long been in the forefront of advocating for religious rights in the workplace and public spaces – both of which characterize the Congressional chambers. And so, just as we would want a Jewish Congressman to be able to wear a yarmulke in chamber, we would want a Muslim or Sikh representative to be able to hew to his or her religious convictions. That said, relaxing the rules on hats in general, where religious rights aren’t at issue, is not something we have any position on.”
Jewish Insider asked the RAC and Rabbinical Assembly for comment but they did not respond prior to press time.