Diament, Ratzan named to Obama’s faith-based council

WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama named leaders of the Orthodox Union and the National Council of Jewish Women to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Nathan Diament, public policy director of the O.U., and Nancy Ratzan, president of NCJW, were both appointed to one-year terms on the panel Monday. They join Religous Action Center of Reform Judaism Director Rabbi David Saperstein, who was appointed to the panel in February.

The 25-member advisory council is designed to identify best practices, suggest improvements and make recommendations on the delivery of social services. The council, which includes religious and secular leaders, was established earlier this year as part of Obama’s revamping of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative.

"I look forward to working with the president, his staff, and the other members of the Advisory Council to realize the goals we share," said Ratzan. "NCJW is gratified that in his executive order of Feb. 5, the president made clear that federal government programs will honor our fundamental constitutional commitment to equal protection of the laws, the free exercise of religion, and the First Amendment ban on the establishment of religion."

"This appointment is an enhanced opportunity to bring the Torah’s timeless values into conversations seeking solutions to modern challenges and it is an honor and a privilege to serve my community and my country in this way," said Diament in a statement. The statement added that service on the Council "neither requires nor implies an endorsement by Mr. Diament, or the Orthodox Union, of any particular Administration policy."

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