For Immediate Release Contact:
February 6, 2014 Roslyn Singer, 212-613-8227
Addressing a crowd of Jewish community, synagogue and day school leaders who convened at the Orthodox Union (OU), newly-elected New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito spoke about her efforts to understand the issues important to the Jewish community and then see how she and the City Council can move forward on those issues.
Noting that she established a subcommittee on non-public schools, Speaker Mark-Viverito said that she wants “to see what we can do as a Council to reflect the scope and diversity of all the children in our schools.”
During the OU Advocacy-Teach NYS-sponsored leadership forum, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the attendees also candidly discussed Mayor de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) proposal and the school safety initiative proposed by Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), which would expand the New York Police Department’s School Safety Agent program to include private schools.
“UPK is a key factor in giving children a “leg up” in their education and to their success later in life,” said Jeff Leb, NY Director of Political Affairs for the OU. “As such, we will work to ensure that all schools, including private and faith-based schools, are included in this legislation.”
Regarding the school safety initiative, Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach for OU Advocacy, said that both federal and state legislation has been put in place to help ensure the safety and security of synagogues and Jewish day schools. “Jewish day schools have told us that acquiring security guards for their premises is a top priority for ensuring the safety of staff and students,” he said.
Speaker Mark-Viverito said the City Council would have a thorough discussion to understand all the issues involved in the bill and then advocate with the administration on the issues raised.
Pictured (l to r):
Rabbi Steven Weil, Executive Vice President of the OU, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Martin Nachimson, President of the OU, City Councilman David G. Greenfield, and Jeff Leb, NY Director of Political Affairs for the OU.
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center, formerly the Institute for Public Affairs, is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.