NORPAC July 2016 Newsletter
Dr. BenMessage from the President
The news is dominated by the American Presidential Election. The nominees are taking great pains to put each other in a bad light. No candidate, and almost no person, can be a national name and have been involved with hundreds, if not thousands, of projects and issues by the age of 70 without plenty of cannon fodder for criticism. This has thus been a race where both candidates have unprecedented negative perceptions, despite long records of achievement. 

In this election, with both candidates either having a solid record and/or family ties to issues regarding US-Israel relations, the vote for our community will be largely about trust or concern about other issues. It is remarkable to live in a country where both candidates for office have grandchildren that recently had a Bris. God bless America. 

Each candidate is staking out positions they believe will be attractive to the electorate. For Hillary Clinton the opportunity to vote for the first woman president will be compelling to many. Donald Trump has defined himself as a problem solver that is not bought and sold by fundraising, which is attractive to those who believe DC is corrupted by the slush funds before, during, and after office. Demographics favor a Democrat in this race, but the swing states where many middle class families that have been badly hurt by the loss of manufacturing jobs creates a balance in an election where Trump has promised a solution to their pain. 

The Theocracy in Tehran continues its malevolent activities, threatening and acting upon death to Israel and America. The slaughter of Syrian civilians by Iranian-backed Assad is now estimated at 300,000 with a refugee crisis spilling into Turkey, Jordan, and the West. They have armed Hezbollah with more and upgraded weapons, the likes and numbers of which will overwhelm any anti-missile system currently available. This likely ensures the next conflict with Lebanon to be very damaging with far greater casualties to both sides as less restraint will be possible. The infusion of funding from the JCPOA makes Iran stronger and more formidable. It is both discouraging and ominous hearing the reports of Iran seeking nuclear weapon equipment and materials through Germany via proxies. 

It is apparent that Assad, with his Iranian, Hezbollah, and Russian Allies, has gained the upper hand in this conflict. Expect a continuing ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Syria. The most effective force against Assad and Syria and its allies is ISIS. Unfortunately ISIS has taken the tactical strategy of being the world leading terror organization, thereby putting themselves as a target not only from the Shiites, but from the West as well. Expect Syria to remain in the hands of Assad and for the civil war to be largely over in the next year. 

Sunni-Shiite Conflict
This is played out on the battlefield in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the leaders in the conflict. The battle has been economic as well with the Saudis (Sunni) pumping out as much oil as possible to inhibit the economic development of the oil industry in Shiite Iraq and Iran. With ISIS expected to collapse in the coming months, the Shiite Crescent of influence from Iran to Lebanon will be a major strategic problem for Israel and Jordan. Turkey is in turmoil, which plays into the hands of increasing Shiite influence in the region. 

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the de facto ruler and dictator in Turkey for the last 10 years, has dissolved any pretense of democracy by arresting tens of thousands of opponents, canceling media outlets, and arresting Judges. 

This has been in the planning for some years, and made more pressing by his party election losses. Expect an Islamic Radical Regime in Turkey committed to the demise of Israel and making necessary a withdrawal of NATO from an increasingly hostile environment in this key geographic location.  
NORPAC Members of the Month:
David & Rena Schlussel

From Left: David & Rena Schlussel

Each month, we feature member(s) of our community who have shown exceptional commitment and passion in support of the US-Israel relationship. We proudly recognize on this month David & Rena Schlussel of Teaneck.

David Schlussel graduated from Yale University with a Bachelors in Mathematics and he received a Masters from the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He served on the Maywood, NJ CCG working with the US Department of Energy, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. In 2009, Governor Jon S. Corzine appointed David to the Board of Trustees of Ramapo College of New Jersey. He is co-owner and manager of Key Properties LLC, a Real Estate company in Bergen County.

David, formerly the President and Chairman of NORPAC, is currently its Chairman Emeritus. David is also on the National Council of AIPAC. In these leadership roles, he and his wife Rena have hosted many Congressional leaders at their home, including Senator Charles Schumer (D-NJ), Senator Sue Collins (R-ME), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ). During its early formative years, David was a leading light and the banner carrier of NORPAC. 

As a member of the NORPAC Talking Points Committee and former Committee Chair, David also helped formulate our legislative agenda for the Mission to Washington. This year he was instrumental in getting Senate offices to draft the Collins-Nelson letter urging the administration to prevent Iran from gaining access to the US dollar clearing system. This letter was signed by 35 members of the Senate and was recently sent to the President. 

Rena, an attorney-trained mediator at Safe Horizon Mediation Centers and the New York City court system, is presently the chair of the Netivot Shalom Israel Action Committee. She served on the synagogue's board for many years, as well as on its membership committee. She also is a board member of The Frisch School's Parent Association, and a member of the UJA NNJ Berrie Leadership Council.

We are inspired by and proud of the work David has accomplished with his 20+ years of involvement in NORPAC. His leadership and guidance still drives our organization's presence and success on Capitol Hill to advocate for a stronger US-Israel relationship.
NORPAC Legislative Efforts

There were several important legislative efforts in Congress over the past month to bolster US-Israel relations. Most of these were part of our Mission to Washington Talking Points.

Foreign Aid to Israel
The funding in regard to the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which comes through the Foreign Affairs Appropriation Subcommittees, should be full at about 3.1 billion dollars. The supplemental funding for Israeli Missile Defense, which comes though the Armed Services Committee and its companion Appropriations Committee, is in current flux regarding the level of funding. 

On the authorization side, while the House-passed NDAA fully funds U.S.-Israel missile defense programs at $601 million, the Senate-passed version only authorizes $280.8 million for these programs. On the appropriations side, however, Senators Kirk (R-IL) and Gillibrand (D-NY) successfully persuaded the Senate appropriations committee in June 2016 to fully fund these programs at $601 million.  The House defense appropriations bill also fully funds these programs.

Senators Kirk and Kirsten Gillibrand led 36 Senators in a bipartisan letter to urge full funding for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation programs amid growing missile/rocket threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.  The Kirk-led letter comes as congressional lawmakers work to resolve differences in the Senate- and House-passed versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA), an annual bill to authorize the Pentagon’s military programs.

36 Senators, including 19 Republicans and 17 Democrats, signed the Kirk-Gillibrand letter:  Mark Kirk (R-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), David Vitter (R-LA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), David A. Perdue (R-GA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), James E. Risch (R-ID), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkoswki (R-AK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), John Boozman (R-AR), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tim Scott (R-NC), and John Thune (R-SD).

New Memorandum of Understanding
Bipartisan House Resolution 729 has garnered over 270 co-sponsors as of July. The Resolution Expresses support for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of Israel. The negotiations have been difficult and the Administration has been uncharacteristically tightfisted in this process, especially given the impact of their generosity to Iran. 

Holding Iran Accountable
Reauthorizing the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA):
There is a current struggle between a simple reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) favored by the Democrats and something stronger with additional sections and less executive wavers. The two initiatives are listed below.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chair Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), and 12 other Senate Democrats introduced legislation to renew the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced the Countering Iranian Threats Act of 2016. This bipartisan bill expands sanctions for ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, and other illicit Iranian actions; sanctions transfers of conventional weapons to or from Iran; and extends the Iran Sanctions Act.

Preventing Iranian Access to the US Dollar Clearing System 
On July 8th, the Collins-Nelson letter urging the Administration to continue the long-standing American policy concerning Iran’s access to the dollar clearing system was sent to the President with dozens of Senate signatures. This initiative was one of our Mission Talking Points and was made possible in part due to work of our Chairman Emeritus, David Schlussel. You can view the letter here.

Opposing Efforts to Bypass Direct Negotiations
S. Con. Res. 35 and H. Con. Res. 128: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should continue to exercise its veto in the United Nations Security Council on resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Please contact Members of Congress to support this concurrent Resolution!

Fighting Boycotts Against Israel
Recently New York and other states have passed laws to counter the anti-Semitic BDS movement. One of the NORPAC Mission initiatives, the Combating BDS Act of 2016 (H.R. 4514 and S. 2531) reaffirms States' rights to divest from companies that boycott Israel. This legislation now has about 40 sponsors in the Senate and over 137 in the House. Please call your contacts to garner support for this bill. See current list

Please thank your Members of Congress for their actions this month on behalf of US-Israel relations.
NORPAC Speaks to the Community

We continue our outreach to the community and have both staff and lay leaders available to speak to community groups about the importance and effectiveness of Political Advocacy.

Anyone who wishes to have a NORPAC speaker come to a school or shul should please contact Avi Schranz at
We wish to congratulate the family of Drs. Ben & Esther Chouake on the engagement of their daughter, Atara Chouake to Adam Roth.

Congratulations to grandparents Lori and Harry Reidler and their children Lisa and Noah Elbolgen on the birth of a baby girl. 

Congratulations to Eric Herschmann on his engagement to Orly Ganger.

Congratulations to Jack & Moran Halpern on their recent marriage.

Congratulations to Munr Kazmir on his election as VP of the American Jewish Congress. 

Please send any announcements to
Upcoming Events
Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ)

NORPAC welcomes back Congressman Scott Garrett in late August to an event chaired by Kevin Lemmer and Allen Levinson.

Congressman Garrett supports the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign, democratic nation and defend itself against attacks from neighboring territories.  While Congressman Garrett supports efforts to have peace between Israel and the Palestinians, he does not believe Israel should jeopardize its security by creating borders that could potentially leave it vulnerable to attack by neighbors.

The Congressman supports strong ties with Israel, and is a strong supporter of ensuring that Israel has the full support of the United States. In the 113th Congress, Congressman Garrett introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2013. This important legislation would require that the United States Embassy in Israel move from its current location in Tel Aviv to Israel’s legal capital, Jerusalem.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)

David & Rena Schlussel welcome back Congressman Chris Smith to a NORPAC event in Teaneck in September.

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), senior member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a strong supporter of American-Israeli relations, recently led the vote for the No 2H20 from Iran Act (H.R. 5119) which would block the administration from conducting future purchases of material from Iran’s nuclear program.

Additionally, along with colleagues in the House, Smith took another critical step to block further administration concessions to the Iranian regime by passing the United States Financial System Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4992) on July 14. This measure would prevent the administration from granting Iran direct or indirect access to U.S. dollars and the U.S. banking system.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
Sunday, September 11th

NORPAC welcomes back Senator Tim Scott to a NORPAC event in NYC on September 11th hosted by Adam Sasouness.

Senator Scott has been a long-time ally of US-Israel relations from his brief tenure at the House of Representatives through his  quick rise to the Senate. During Israel's independence day this year, Scott stated that "I will continue to fight for stronger sanctions on Iran and for the complete eradication of their nuclear program – our nation, our ally Israel, and frankly the entire world simply cannot risk anything less."

Tim Scott recently co-signed a bipartisan letter to urge the Administration to quickly renew and strengthen the security Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel to provide it with the defensive resources it so desperately needs.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Dr. Arthur Kook welcomes Senator Ron Johnson to a NORPAC event later this year.

About six years ago under the leadership of Senator Joseph Lieberman, at that time the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Ron Johnson created a program of grants to private institutions in need of added security. Our schools and shuls have benefited from this important program. Senator Johnson, as the current Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is a key Member of Congress for maintaining and growing this program.
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator John Thune will be joining us for his first NORPAC event, hosted by Drs. Alan and Marc Berger later this year.

John Thune is Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. He is pushing hard to make sure that the United States Senate is doing its job in support of Israel, making sure that they are able to defend themselves, and that the funding for the Iron Dome which has been so effective as a defense mechanism against Hamas rocket attacks is funded in a way that allows Israel to continue to use it in that capability.
Upcoming Events (Dates Pending)
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA)

Michael Wildes welcomes Congressman Ted Lieu to a NORPAC event.

In 2014, Ted W. Lieu was elected to California’s 33rd Congressional District, succeeding retiring 40-year incumbent Henry Waxman.  Ted was elected president of the Democratic Freshman class by his colleagues and serves on the House Budget Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Ted was one of the courageous MoCs who voted against the Iran deal because of its many fatal flaws.
Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ)

NORPAC's Edison & Highland Park chapter looks forward to welcoming Rep. Leonard Lance to an event chaired by Robert Kreitman later this year.

Congressman Leonard Lance serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he is Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

Lance currently leads the House Congressional Israel Caucus for 114th Congress. "Israel is the preeminent democracy in the Middle East and a steadfast partner of the United States.  Together our Nations have worked collaboratively toward common interests and goals including the safety, security and freedom of all people around the world.  Our work in the Caucus will continue to facilitate cooperation between our two Nations,” said Lance.

Please join us in support of this event later this year.
Recent Past Events
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
Riverdale, NY 

From Left: Howard Jonas, Sen. Burr

Howard & Debbie Jonas welcomed Senator Richard Burr to a NORPAC Riverdale event on July 10th.

Burr is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Last year, he issued the following statement about the Iran deal: "Several Americans are currently held in Iran, and the regime continues to be the largest supporter of terrorism in the world," Burr said. "Through the work of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the American people and Congress have the right to evaluate this deal and let their voices be heard."

Senator Burr recently co-signed a bipartisan letter headed by Sen.s Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urging the Administration to quickly conclude a strengthened Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide Israel with the resources it needs to defend itself. The current MOU expires 2018.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Englewood, NJ

From Left: Sen. Kirk, Scott & Abigail Herschmann

From Left: Sen. Kirk, Yehuda Blinder

NORPAC proudly welcomed back Senator Mark Kirk to an Englewood event hosted by Scott Herschmann & Yehuda Blinder on June 23rd.

Senator Kirk's reputation as a staunch supporter of US-Israel relations is among the most notable in Congress. He has not only been a key sponsor on almost every pro-Israel bill, but he has also personally introduced many of them. His ability to keep Israel a non-partisan issue by finding co-sponsors on the other side of the aisle has also kept this relationship strong.
Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Edison, NJ

From Left: Susie Wolf, Rep. Sires, Barry Wolf

NORPAC welcomed back Congressman Albio Sires at an event hosted by Dr. Barry & Susie Wolf in Highland Park, NJ on Monday, June 20th.

Albio Sires is the Representative of New Jersey's 8th Congressional District - one of the most diverse and densely populated in the state - covering most of Hudson County, part of Newark, and parts of Union and Bergen Counties.

Congressman Sires serves on two Committees: Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure.  On the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Sires is the Ranking Member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee as well as the Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee. He is focused on improving human rights and freedoms across the globe and building international partnerships to improve our nation's security.

Congressman Sires was one of a handful of Democratic House members to vote against the JCPOA (Iran Deal).
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Teaneck, NJ

Senator Kelly Ayotte (Center) with the Rothberg Family

On Thursday, June 16th, NORPAC welcomed back Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to an event in Bergen County hosted by Mordy & Eva Rothberg and Chaired by Mort Fridman. 

First elected to the Senate in 2010, she has quickly made her reputation as an upcoming leader in the party and the Senate. She has been both active and vigilant in her support of U.S.-Israel relations.

Last year, the Senate passed its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 defense authorization act, which included the U.S.-Israel Anti-Terror and Drug Tunnel Cooperation Amendment, introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and supported by a group of bipartisan senators.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Manhattan, NY

From Left: Sen. Toomey, Stanley Stern

NORPAC welcomed Senator Pat Toomey at an event hosted by Ben Heller and co-chaired by NORPAC's Long Island leaders Stanley & Trudy Stern.

Senator Toomey believes that Israel is the United States' greatest ally and friend in the Middle East and is among its best allies in the entire world. Israel is a beacon of democracy and freedom in an area of the world largely suffering under dictatorships and political persecution. A strong relationship with Israel strengthens both countries in the continuing fight against global terrorism.    

Senator Toomey also believes that there is no place for Hamas or Hezbollah in the future of a peaceful Middle East. Israel's efforts to defend itself from terrorist-led attacks should be supported, and we should demand that Palestinian leaders eradicate terrorist groups like Hamas. Senator Toomey strongly supports American military aid to, and military cooperation with, Israel. He also believes the United States should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and he has cosponsored a bill that would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ)
Closter, NJ

From Left: Rep. Norcross, Dr. Munr Kazmir

NORPAC welcomed Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ1) to an event hosted by Dr. Munr Kazmir on Thursday night, May 26th.

Donald Norcross serves on the House Armed Services and Budget Committees. His association with the local Jewish community began at the tender age of four when he attended nursery school at the JCC. “I remember dressing as a hamantaschen,” he said.

Congressman Norcross voted in favor of providing more than $3-billion in aid to Israel in 2016 and fully supports the country’s longstanding commitment under the Memorandum of Understanding. He also cosponsored legislation to require U.S. companies to disclose their participation in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) polices that target Israel.

Congressman Norcross was one of a handful of Democratic House members to vote against the JCPOA (Iran Deal).

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Riverdale, NY

From Left: Joshua Landes, Rep. Engel
NORPAC's Riverdale chapter proudly welcomed back its very own Congressman, Eliot Engel (D-NY), at an event Chaired by Harry Fader and hosted by Bryna & Joshua Landes in Riverdale NY.

Eliot Engel is the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He has been one of the leading advocates of the US-Israel relationship in his more than two decades long career in Congress, and is currently the #2 Jewish Democrat in the House. Engel often co-introduces pro-Israel legislation with Republican Members in order to keep these issues bipartisan. Recently, he co-sponsored H. Res. 293 along with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), expressing concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority.

Congressman Engel was one of a handful of Democratic House members to vote against the JCPOA (Iran Deal).

Seeking Hosts for Events
We like to host as many Senators and important House members as we can each election cycle.

We are seeking hosts for events for the following candidates:

Senate Members
Senator Johnny Isakson
Senator Charles Grassley
Senator John McCain
Senator Jerry Moran
Senator James Lankford

House Members
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Alcee Hastings

Time to step into the Ring (Host an Event)
Now that we have had the Mission to Washington, here comes the followup. We are busy contacting the Members and staffers, working to form relationships, and hopefully solidifying key contacts with Members.

Sponsoring a parlor meeting in your home is a sign of friendship and leadership, and is well-recognized by the Members of Congress. It sets you in an elite class of citizen advocates that is engaged both on a time and energy basis, and a financial basis. If you wish to take such a leadership role please contact me at
Seen and not Heard

My arm surgery went OK and although it put my exercise routine back a few weeks (like I needed an excuse), I am forcing myself back on the treadmill. Esther is facing the emotional turmoil of elderly ill parents and I mostly nod my head in sympathy and try to help where I can. My daughters are back living with us for a few months and so with all this going on I have learned to be seen and not heard
Educational Initiative

The college campus climate against Israel and Jews has gotten overtly hostile, and the NORPAC leadership has taken the task to help protect and prepare our students. NORPAC lay leadership is coordinating with the Yeshiva Day Schools to facilitate training students for Jewish Advocacy.  We plan to teach them how to defend Israel and themselves as Jews in class, how to debate, practice public speaking, and how to address fellow students about these issues.

Training our high school students is the most cost efficient and most effective way to prepare the next generation for what lies ahead.

NORPAC has posted curriculum from various sources on the Website and our members are engaged with the schools in setting up the programs and integrating advocacy knowledge and skills into the school curriculum. For anyone interested in a leadership role at their school, please contact or

Current lay leaders funding this initiative at various schools include:
Abigail & Scott Herschmann, Monique & Mort Katz, Anne & Jerry Gontownik, Esther & Paul Lerer, Esther & Ben Chouake.

We are looking for additional lay leaders for this Student Advocacy team. Please contact me or Avi if you are willing to help. 

We applaud Rabbi Ciner and Dr. Stein for implementing a national model of student advocacy training at Frisch Yeshiva High School. 
Renew Your Donation

Pray for the safety of the IDF and Israel, and do something more. Donate to - and participate with - NORPAC, an organization in the front lines of virtually every struggle to ensure the survival of the Jewish homeland. Our work gives Jerusalem greater agency to protect its people.

The NORPAC general fund is becoming depleted with the enormous volume of events we have sponsored. It is our responsibility to contribute so that this miracle in our lifetime can continue.  Please do your part so that we can continue to facilitate the survival of America, Israel, and the Jewish people. Your donation is more than Tzedakah (charity), it is Pikuach Nefesh (saving lives).

Every dollar counts. Please go to to donate, or call Avi Schranz at 201-788-5133.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at future events.

Ben Chouake, MD (Dr Ben)
Paid for by NORPAC