HARRISBURG, March 21 – State. Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, announced Tuesday the formation of Pennsylvania’s first ever Jewish Legislative Caucus.
“Representing the community that suffered the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history, I have seen that protecting the needs of vulnerable groups can’t be incidental – we need to create spaces where we can make them the focus,” said Frankel, whose district includes the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community and the site of the 2018 attack on three congregations in the Tree of Life building.
Schwank added, “It’s important to have a caucus that is vocal and stands against hatred and hate-based violence, not just against Jewish Pennsylvanians, but Pennsylvanians of all faiths. I’m looking forward to taking an active role with this caucus, working with my fellow members and connecting with Jewish communities throughout the commonwealth.”
The Pennsylvania Jewish Legislative Caucus will work to incorporate the perspectives and needs of Pennsylvania’s Jewish communities in legislation passed by the General Assembly. This includes:
- Speaking out against antisemitism and other forms of intolerance and standing for a Commonwealth that is welcoming to all.
- Working to protect the civil rights of all Pennsylvanians.
- Modernizing Pennsylvania’s laws to address the growing threat of hate crimes.
- Improving security measures for organizations predominately serving Jewish communities and other vulnerable communities at risk for hate-based violence.
- Celebrating Jewish culture and heritage in Pennsylvania.
- Serving as a liaison to local, statewide and national organizations serving Jewish populations/communities.
- Providing a structure and organization for caucus members to coordinate advocation for caucus goals.
Members of the Jewish Legislative Caucus include legislators who are Jewish themselves or connected to Jewish communities through their families or the populations they represent. Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly that joined are:
- Frankel- Co-Chair
- Schwank- Co-Chair
- Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery)
- Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery)
- Rep. Robert Freeman (D-Northampton)
- Rep. Tarik Khan (D-Philadelphia)
- Rep. Steven Malagari (D-Montgomery)
- Rep. Dan Miller (D-Allegheny)
- Rep. Abigail Salisbury (D-Allegheny)
- Rep. Ben Sanchez (D-Montgomery)
- Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh)
- Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Chester)
- Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia)
- Rep. Ben Waxman (D-Philadelphia)
- Rep. Joseph Webster (D-Montgomery)
Frankel plans to reintroduce a package of bills to modernize laws relating to hate crimes and ethnic intimidation in Pennsylvania.