Students at two neighborhood yeshivos recently had a guest-lecturer discuss with them the importance of voting and the role government plays in the lives of citizens. The guest-lecturer was Councilman David C. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), and the events were part of his efforts to get constituents of all ages more involved in local government and to increase the community’s collective voice and power.
This builds on his “I’m a Yeshivah Parent and I Vote” initiative in 2012, in which local yeshivos helped hundreds of local parents register to vote.
The idea came about last September on Primary Election Day, when Councilman Greenfield met some of the students and their teacher near P.S. 180, which serves as a polling site. Councilman Greenfield gave the students an impromptu discussion then about why it is important to vote, and said he would treat them to a pizza party if all the kids went to vote with their parents.
After learning that the students had kept their end of the bargain, Councilman Greenfield visited the yeshivah, Tiferes Elimelech in Boro Park. He explained his duties and responsibilities as a City Council member and answered students’ questions over lunch.
Many students asked about specific problems they or their parents were having. Since many of the students use Gravesend Park, Councilman Greenfield shared with them in detail his plans for its renovation, beginning in the spring. It was a great lesson for the students to see government at work.
Next, the Councilman stopped by Dr. Abe Tawil’s high school small business management class at Magen David Yeshivah to give them a lesson in how government interacts with small business. The Councilman answered students’ questions about several specific pieces of legislation the city is considering or has adopted, including paid sick leave and prevailing wage bills.
Finally, in response to a student’s question, he discussed why he decided to enter politics after being a successful attorney. The Councilman explained that in government, the amount of people one has the opportunity to help, and the resources to do so, are vast.
“It was my pleasure to visit third graders at Tiferes Elimelech and high schoolers at Magen David to share my views and perspective on politics and government with these students. Both classes asked great questions on a range of topics and issues facing our community and city. … It is never too early to nurture a child’s interest in politics and civics,” said Greenfield.