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Chicago, IL - Besting More Than A Dozen Hopefuls, Orthodox Rabbi Sworn Into Illinois House Of Representatives

Published on: January 21, 2019 10:19 AM
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Rabbi Yehiel “Mark” Kalish is sworn in to replace former state House Rep. Lou Lang. (Shia Kapos)Rabbi Yehiel “Mark” Kalish is sworn in to replace former state House Rep. Lou Lang. (Shia Kapos)

Chicago, IL - An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi was sworn in to the Illinois House of Representatives Sunday night, replacing Lou Lang, a Democrat who served in the legislature for over 30 years.

Rabbi Yehiel Kalish, an education advocate who spent 12 years at Agudath Israel of America, most recently as its vice president for development and stare relationships, is believed to be the first Orthodox Jewish rabbi to serve as a state legislature. 

During his tenure at the Agudah, he managed government and fundraising efforts on the national level, building relationships with communal organizations from all across the religious spectrum in addition to forging bonds with elected officials, both in Illinois and beyond.

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After hearing that Lang, who represented the 16th House District was vacating his position to join a lobbying firm, Rabbi Kalish elected to throw his Borsalino in the ring.

“We had two weeks to create something out of nothing,” the 43 year old father of six told VIN News.  “Having worked with all different areas of the Jewish Community from the Federation the Agudah and everything in between, as well as many others groups, we were able to rally support.”

Rabbi Kalish, who received his rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, was chosen by a three man committee from a field of 20 other candidates.  He looks forward to representing residents of Rogers Park, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove and parts of Skokie, a district where Orthodox Jewish residents comprise approximately 30 percent of the population.

Rabbi Kalish has been working in government advocacy for the last four years as chairman and CEO of the S4 Group.  He already has his agenda lined up as he begins a two year term in Springfield, with a planned focus on education and capital improvements.

While his appointment to the state legislature may be historic, Rabbi Kalish isn’t the first member of his family to serve at the level of government.  That honor goes to his sister Dafna Michaelson Jenet, who was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2016.



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Read Comments (31)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 21, 2019 at 11:53 AM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

Wishing him luck and not being an aguda pawn

2

 Jan 21, 2019 at 12:11 PM achassidisheyid Says:

kol hakoved. Rabbi Kalish is well known and beloved by all in the Chicago Jewish Community for his tireless work on behalf of the Klal.

3

 Jan 21, 2019 at 12:49 PM SRRLD Says:

Best of luck!!!

4

 Jan 21, 2019 at 01:27 PM Hiymishclown Says:

Editor: one edit - he isn't the "first Orthodox Jewish Rabbi to serve as a state legislature." Should be amended to "in Illinois." (For example Simcha Felder in NY).

5

 Jan 21, 2019 at 01:36 PM aKligeYid Says:

Reply to #2  
achassidisheyid Says:

kol hakoved. Rabbi Kalish is well known and beloved by all in the Chicago Jewish Community for his tireless work on behalf of the Klal.

Rabbi Kalish is a DEMOCRAT like every other frumme in the USA History. 37 Jewish Democrats in Congress 1 Republican. There is a reason for this. Jews, the Torah has the same values as Democrats. LOVE the immigrants etc. 87% of Jews vote Democrat. The 13% can still do TSHUVAH. Never late.

6

 Jan 21, 2019 at 01:45 PM yamsar Says:

Reply to #2  
achassidisheyid Says:

kol hakoved. Rabbi Kalish is well known and beloved by all in the Chicago Jewish Community for his tireless work on behalf of the Klal.

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

7

 Jan 21, 2019 at 02:44 PM ConcernedMember Says:

Reply to #6  
yamsar Says:

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

You've been making that same statement since the day you signed up here. Would you like me to sponsor a class for you in how to look things up on the internet?

8

 Jan 21, 2019 at 02:54 PM Hoshomer Says:

AOC is Jewish too. Not sue what the point of this article is.

9

 Jan 21, 2019 at 03:37 PM commonsense99 Says:

Reply to #6  
yamsar Says:

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

try google translate and btw this is the fourth time you asked this question

10

 Jan 21, 2019 at 03:43 PM democrats are anti religious freedom Says:

Reply to #5  
aKligeYid Says:

Rabbi Kalish is a DEMOCRAT like every other frumme in the USA History. 37 Jewish Democrats in Congress 1 Republican. There is a reason for this. Jews, the Torah has the same values as Democrats. LOVE the immigrants etc. 87% of Jews vote Democrat. The 13% can still do TSHUVAH. Never late.

you must have a different torah where it calls for gay marriage, abortion on demand, gender changes, etc.
frum Jews vote Republican because our Torah isn't just about tikkun olam.

11

 Jan 21, 2019 at 03:59 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #5  
aKligeYid Says:

Rabbi Kalish is a DEMOCRAT like every other frumme in the USA History. 37 Jewish Democrats in Congress 1 Republican. There is a reason for this. Jews, the Torah has the same values as Democrats. LOVE the immigrants etc. 87% of Jews vote Democrat. The 13% can still do TSHUVAH. Never late.

Please stick to one user name (aimainlyaunguf). Please refrain from spamming vin.

Some times its circumstantially obvious, in your case I just need to copy and paste word for word your comments on your other names.

re the torah values. Thats your fake PC torah. Its a lie its nonsense. Love the immigrant refers to other jews not goyim. And when the USSR opened up its iron curtain frum jewish trump supporters supported helping Russian immigrants in droves. There was a slew of organizations and volunteers helping them.

Stop making up your own bogus fake torah.

87% of frum toraj jews vote for Trump.

11

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:01 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #7  
ConcernedMember Says:

You've been making that same statement since the day you signed up here. Would you like me to sponsor a class for you in how to look things up on the internet?

Yamsar the fool knows how to learn. he claims he is well verses. He often knows how to distort our torah. he knows what kol hakavod means since he claims he knows how to learn. Any learned person knows what it means.

Yamsar aka aKligeYid, Ger toshuv means soemone who keeps the 7 mitzvos of noach. Otherwise there is no mitzva to be kind to them.

Fake torah that you have.

12

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
aKligeYid Says:

Rabbi Kalish is a DEMOCRAT like every other frumme in the USA History. 37 Jewish Democrats in Congress 1 Republican. There is a reason for this. Jews, the Torah has the same values as Democrats. LOVE the immigrants etc. 87% of Jews vote Democrat. The 13% can still do TSHUVAH. Never late.

If only the other 13% would come to their senses. Unfortunately, their GOP tribalism will always "trump" voting in their own best interests.

13

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Hiymishclown Says:

Editor: one edit - he isn't the "first Orthodox Jewish Rabbi to serve as a state legislature." Should be amended to "in Illinois." (For example Simcha Felder in NY).

Does Simcha Felder have smichah (ordination)? Looks like he's a rabbi the same way he's a Democrat.

14

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:22 PM Rudolf Says:

Reply to #6  
yamsar Says:

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

It literally means with all honor. But mean in general my hats off to you.

15

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
democrats are anti religious freedom Says:

you must have a different torah where it calls for gay marriage, abortion on demand, gender changes, etc.
frum Jews vote Republican because our Torah isn't just about tikkun olam.

The entire Torah is about Tikun Olam. WOOHAVTO ES REACHO the rest is commentarys. Ask someone who learned some Talmud.

16

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
democrats are anti religious freedom Says:

you must have a different torah where it calls for gay marriage, abortion on demand, gender changes, etc.
frum Jews vote Republican because our Torah isn't just about tikkun olam.

It sure looks like its not only me who have this different Torah from yours. Stick to the subject instead of your chalajmes. This elected Frumm Torah True Rabbi is a Democrat. So is every other Frumm Torah True Elected officials in the USA History.Not a single Republican. If you can name even one. Eyns, achad,uno Frumm Torah True elected republicans please let us know the name. Skajach in advance.

16

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Educated Archy Says:

Please stick to one user name (aimainlyaunguf). Please refrain from spamming vin.

Some times its circumstantially obvious, in your case I just need to copy and paste word for word your comments on your other names.

re the torah values. Thats your fake PC torah. Its a lie its nonsense. Love the immigrant refers to other jews not goyim. And when the USSR opened up its iron curtain frum jewish trump supporters supported helping Russian immigrants in droves. There was a slew of organizations and volunteers helping them.

Stop making up your own bogus fake torah.

87% of frum toraj jews vote for Trump.

Yesterday you were Edith today back Educated?

17

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Educated Archy Says:

Please stick to one user name (aimainlyaunguf). Please refrain from spamming vin.

Some times its circumstantially obvious, in your case I just need to copy and paste word for word your comments on your other names.

re the torah values. Thats your fake PC torah. Its a lie its nonsense. Love the immigrant refers to other jews not goyim. And when the USSR opened up its iron curtain frum jewish trump supporters supported helping Russian immigrants in droves. There was a slew of organizations and volunteers helping them.

Stop making up your own bogus fake torah.

87% of frum toraj jews vote for Trump.

What happened? I am not Yoni anymore? I am so sad. I started to like this Yoni

18

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Educated Archy Says:

Please stick to one user name (aimainlyaunguf). Please refrain from spamming vin.

Some times its circumstantially obvious, in your case I just need to copy and paste word for word your comments on your other names.

re the torah values. Thats your fake PC torah. Its a lie its nonsense. Love the immigrant refers to other jews not goyim. And when the USSR opened up its iron curtain frum jewish trump supporters supported helping Russian immigrants in droves. There was a slew of organizations and volunteers helping them.

Stop making up your own bogus fake torah.

87% of frum toraj jews vote for Trump.

Stick to the subject. This Torah True Rabbi is a Democrat like all Torah True Jews.

19

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

The entire Torah is about Tikun Olam. WOOHAVTO ES REACHO the rest is commentarys. Ask someone who learned some Talmud.

Typical ignorant moron

19

 Jan 21, 2019 at 04:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

If only the other 13% would come to their senses. Unfortunately, their GOP tribalism will always "trump" voting in their own best interests.

We vote for the party that supports our religious freedom to practice our religion instead of the party that calls religious people bigots and would like to ban them from public spaces and from holding any public office.

20

 Jan 21, 2019 at 06:20 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

The entire Torah is about Tikun Olam. WOOHAVTO ES REACHO the rest is commentarys. Ask someone who learned some Talmud.

I learned talmud and almost finsihed shas. I don't know what you are talking about. Sure there is plenty of musar to learn from the torha and plenty of aggaduta's in gemara etc... But the primary job of torah jews to understand what does it say and whats our obligation. The why's and mussar and in depth kind of feelings come second.

21

 Jan 21, 2019 at 06:25 PM Hiymishclown Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

Does Simcha Felder have smichah (ordination)? Looks like he's a rabbi the same way he's a Democrat.

Simcha has semicha. Which gives him enough saychel and daas Torah not to be a democrat in substance, which today stands for the antithesis of the Torah (e.g., immorality, BDS against Hashem's Eretz Hakadosh, etc.)

22

 Jan 21, 2019 at 06:26 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

It sure looks like its not only me who have this different Torah from yours. Stick to the subject instead of your chalajmes. This elected Frumm Torah True Rabbi is a Democrat. So is every other Frumm Torah True Elected officials in the USA History.Not a single Republican. If you can name even one. Eyns, achad,uno Frumm Torah True elected republicans please let us know the name. Skajach in advance.

Ok here you go.

most township committeemen ( ackerman and miller) in Lakewood are republican and frum jews

Felder in all essence is republcian depsite being on the dem ticket.
Florida just appointed a frum cheif justice (was on VIN)
Eric Cantor was officially orthodox.

The reason there are more frum tporah elected officals who are democrates is because in NY there is no structure to support republcians. Its not because they choose to be democrat. Basiclly in NY its a one part system for sure in NYC.

So why do frum jews live in dem distrcits? Bec thats where our ancestors settlled 100 yrs ago. Our family and infrastructure are built up in NY not in Texas. Otherwise we;'d have no issue moving to Texas.

You write lots of nonsense. You love to make up those wacky theories without thinking things thru.

22

 Jan 21, 2019 at 06:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

It sure looks like its not only me who have this different Torah from yours. Stick to the subject instead of your chalajmes. This elected Frumm Torah True Rabbi is a Democrat. So is every other Frumm Torah True Elected officials in the USA History.Not a single Republican. If you can name even one. Eyns, achad,uno Frumm Torah True elected republicans please let us know the name. Skajach in advance.

he wasn't elected dope
lets see
Menashe Miller
Albert Akerman
a number of those democrat Jews you love so much are anti religious freedom and are anti Israel and are against every principle of Judaism

23

 Jan 21, 2019 at 07:46 PM Dems are reshim Says:

Reply to #8  
Hoshomer Says:

AOC is Jewish too. Not sue what the point of this article is.

You act like you’re not Jewish. You and you’re party are anti Torah and anti religion.
Feh! You support evil obumer, feh!

24

 Jan 21, 2019 at 11:51 PM lazy-boy Says:

hmmmmm,

the article says, "vice president for development and stare relationships"

I am interested to know what is STARE relationships????

25

 Jan 22, 2019 at 12:00 AM Cricket Says:

Republican Jews are Democrats in the sense they believe in democracy. Democratic Jews are not Republic in the sense that they hide behind their own personal agenda vs what’s best for society and upholding religious values.

26

 Jan 22, 2019 at 08:39 AM Hakohen Says:

It appears that some of you are against any frum Jew serving in elective office, whether at the state legislature level, or elsewhere. For example, not that long ago, in Brooklyn, NY, a Chassidic woman was elected as a Judge. She presides over criminal and civil cases, from the bench. I remember the undercurrent on this site, after she was sworn in. In fact, some idiot had the gall to write that "she should stay home in the kitchen, and take care of her kids". Obviously, that reactionary had the same attitude as the Taliban, and the religious police in Saudi Arabia!

27

 Jan 23, 2019 at 07:34 AM joseph Says:

Is he ready, willing and able to fight and vote against the toeiva agenda and abortion?

28

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