The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, last week announced the launch of CJV Missouri, to pursue its mission of promoting traditional Jewish values with legislators, media, and the public at the state and local level. It is the first state chapter of the CJV and will be chaired by Rabbi Ze’ev Smason, who has served as Midwestern Regional Vice President of the organization since 2020, and who recently retired after decades leading Nusach Hari B’nai Zion Congregation in St. Louis.
“Missourians generally uphold traditional values,” said Rabbi Smason, CJV’s Midwestern Regional Vice President and Chairman of CJV-MO, “yet today are confronted with distortions of the authentic Jewish positions on life, gender, and even anti-Semitism. This new CJV state chapter will be a crucial voice in correcting the record.”
CJV Missouri was launched at a private gathering, at which Rabbi Smason was joined by CJV President Emeritus Rabbi Pesach Lerner and Managing Director Rabbi Yaakov Menken. Rabbi Yonason Goldson has agreed to serve as Executive Vice President of the new organization.
Dov Axelbaum, a prominent local businessman, is one of those who pledged to participate in the new organization. “Jewish Torah values are those that this great country, the United States of America, was founded upon. CJV Missouri will provide a voice for these Jewish Torah values to be heard in our public forum.”
“I welcome the formation of Coalition for Jewish Values Missouri,” added lifelong St. Louis resident Alan Kandel, “and wish it much success in championing authentic Jewish values on issues of public policy.”
“Many issues we deal with begin at the local level,” concluded Rabbi Menken, “By the time they receive national attention, the situation is much more complicated. We need to be educating and advocating at the state and local level, for maximal benefit for all Americans.”
Even during the planning stage, CJV Missouri began to have local impact, with testimony provided before the state legislature in Jefferson City and a letter appearing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.