West Chester, Pa (April 3, 2023) – Rabbi Yossi Kaplan of Chabad Lubavitch of Chester County recently served as a guest chaplain of the Pennsylvania Senate at the invitation of state Senator Carolyn Comitta.

Rabbi Kaplan offered a Senate prayer in acknowledging the role of the legislature in enacting just laws and regulations that fulfill a sacred purpose.

Comitta, who serves on the newly formed Pennsylvania Jewish Legislative Caucus, said Kaplan is a leader in both Chester County’s Jewish community and its interfaith community where members of all faiths work together to promote understanding, cooperation, and freedom of worship.

“As several faith traditions are currently celebrating or prepare to celebrate major religious holidays, we appreciate Rabbi Kaplan and the Chester County Jewish community in always standing for peace, tolerance, and religious freedom,” Comitta said. “And I want to wish all of those celebrating Passover next week a blessed and joyous holiday.”

“Passover is a time of freedom and redemption for the Jewish people, but it is also a time of celebration for other faiths as well,” said Rabbi Kaplan. “As it is written in the Passover Haggadah:  ‘Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ ”

Kaplan also noted that “the Jewish people acknowledge the hardships and struggles of all people, especially those in need. As Jews who will gather at Passover seder tables around the world will soon recite, referring to the matzah that the Israelites baked as they fled slavery and Egypt in ancient times: “This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, let them come and eat.”

Kaplan and his wife, Tickey, came to Chester County about twenty years ago to raise their family and start a Chabad Center for Jewish life.

As Mayor of West Chester, Comitta brought together community and faith leaders to stand against instances of race or faith-based hate in favor of tolerance, inclusivity, and peace.

In the Senate, she has supported funding for important safety upgrades at nonprofit organizations that serve those with diverse memberships. That program, the Pennsylvania Nonprofit Security Grant Program, has funded safety and security upgrades at several mosques, churches, synagogues, and nonprofit organizations in Chester County.

The Pennsylvania Jewish Legislative Caucus, chaired by state Rep. Dan Frankel and state Senator Judy Schwank, plans to work to incorporate the perspectives and needs of Pennsylvania’s Jewish communities in legislation passed by the General Assembly.

That includes:

  • Speaking out against antisemitism and other forms of intolerance.
  • 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.