When David Greenfield was thinking of running for City Council in the special election that is scheduled for one week before Pesah – Tuesday, March 23rd – he visited two prominent sages. He went toHacham Yosef Harari–Raful, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Torah and an esteemed member of the Mo’esset Gedolei Hatorah (Council of Torah Sages) of Agudath Yisrael of America for advice and support. Hacham Yosef advised him to pursue the City Council seat, extending to him a blessing that no serious candidate should run against him and that he should be successful in the race. With this encouragement, the prospective candidate went to the venerated Rachmistrivka Rebbe of Boro Park – his first cousin – who praised Greenfield’s success in bringing in millions of dollars to yeshivas in the community and wished him success and that he should be liked by all people in his quest for City Council and beyond.
A Diverse Background
David Greenfield is no ordinary political candidate – as evidenced by his distinguished pedigree. The renowned sadik, the Hida (Rav Haim Yosef David Azoulay z.t.l.) is his great-grandfather, after whom he was named. On his mother’s side, he descends from the gaon Rabbi Yisrael Zev Minzberg z.t.l., the late Chief Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem. On his father’s side he is a descendant of Rabbi Herschel of Cracow z.s.l., a renowned leader of Polish Jewry. Considering this distinct background, it must be more than a coincidence that the job he now seeks – representing one of the most diverse Jewish communities in the world – will put him at the center of Ashkenazic, Sephardic and Hasidic Jews, living side by side.
The other large demographic in the 44th Council district consists of Catholics – a group which Greenfield has established strong ties in the quest to help parents of private school children get their fair share of education dollars from the government.
A life-long resident of Brooklyn, where he presently lives with his wife and two young children, David Greenfield has always shown outstanding promise. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC and Touro College in New York City, where he graduated summa cum laude and was named valedictorian.
Track Record of Results
In addition to being an experienced attorney and acclaimed community advocate, David Greenfield is the Executive Vice President of the Sephardic Community Federation (SCF), the umbrella governmental relations and public policy organization of the Sephardic Jewish community. In his role at the helm of SCF, David has worked night and day, six days a week, on behalf of the Jewish community. It is largely through David Greenfield’s efforts that the Sephardic community has risen to great prominence in New York’s political circles and it is largely through David Greenfield’s efforts that the number one Jewish issue in New York today is increasing government funds for yeshivas and providing tuition relief for yeshiva parents.
Greenfield is the founding Director and Counsel of TEACH NYS, which is the only umbrella group that advocates on behalf of the parents of the 500,000 Jewish, Catholic and Independent school children in New York State. The group’s efforts to solve the tuition crisis have earned the support of virtually all community leaders, and under David Greenfield’s leadership, it has achieved phenomenal results. It was David Greenfield’s successful strategy for TEACH NYS that led to recently enacted legislation that provides for $600 million in tax-credits for parents of all school-age children in New York. This law provides annual tax relief to millions of New Yorkers. It is estimated that this law, which provides families with a $330 tax refund for each child attending yeshiva, brings in over $32,500,000 to yeshiva parents in New York State each and every year.
In addition to his education advocacy efforts at TEACH NYS, David Greenfield was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to serve on the prestigious New York Non-Public School Standing Committee, which serves as the liaison between New York government and the non-public school community. As a member of the committee, Greenfield plays a critical role in addressing important issues affecting all of New York’s children who attend non-public schools, including yeshivot, and advocating on their behalf. In this role, Greenfield worked with Mayor Bloomberg and Councilman Simcha Felder to secure free tutoring services for thousands of yeshiva children. This program is now available in 50 yeshivas. Next year, dozens of additional yeshivas will benefit as well.
David Greenfield is also a popular television, radio and newspaper political commentator. His “Weekly Political Wrap-up” can be heard frequently on the radio on 620AM, and his weekly “Inside Politics” internet podcast on Yeshiva World News is downloaded by tens of thousands of listeners each week. Greenfield has been quoted in many noteworthy media publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and he has been featured on Fox News.
Before he joined the Sephardic Community Federation, Greenfield served as Deputy Director of Finance for Senator Joseph Lieberman’s 2004 presidential campaign and as Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Prior to that, Greenfield practiced corporate law at the national law firm of Rosenman & Colin LLP.
Strongly Endorsed by Political Leaders
Immediately after David Greenfield announced his intention to the run for the City Council, a number of prominent elected officials representing Brooklyn’s Jewish community declared their support for his candidacy.
Senator Carl Kruger and Senator Martin J. Golden publicly endorsed Greenfield, as did New York City Councilmen Vincent J. Gentile, Michael C. Nelson, Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., and Lewis A. Fidler, all of whom represent Southern Brooklyn.
David Greenfield also received key endorsements from the current Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and a popular former Mayor, Ed Koch. In announcing his support for David Greenfield, Mayor Bloomberg noted that Greenfield spearheaded a number of key initiatives that positively impacted not just the neighborhoods in the 44th Council District, but neighborhoods throughout New York City. Mayor Bloomberg cited Greenfield’s leadership in establishing the new tutoring program, through which thousands of yeshiva students in New York City now receive free tutoring services.
“David Greenfield is an independent and innovative leader who is adept at identifying issues and solving problems,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through David’s hard work and tireless advocacy, thousands of non-public school students throughout the city now have access to free tutoring services paid for through the Federal ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act. David Greenfield has a proven record of accomplishment as a community advocate, and has a bright future ahead of him in the City Council. David Greenfield will be an outstanding City Councilman, and I look forward to working together with him in City Hall to address the issues that are important to all New Yorkers.”
Greenfield has also received the support of Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the only Shabbat observant Senator in America, and a long-time friend of the community. “I have known David Greenfield for over ten years and have seen him grow from a talented political staffer to an effective community advocate,” said Senator Lieberman. “David’s independence and persistence is what makes him such an effective advocate for his community.”
“David Greenfield represents the finest of the next generation of political leaders,” the Senator added. “His grasp of public policy and understanding of real-world politics is remarkable. In short, David Greenfield knows how to get things done.”
In addition to the backing he has received from local political leaders, David Greenfield has also received the support of prominent members of the different ethnic communities in the district, including the Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Hasidic and Catholic communities. Over a dozen leaders in the Sephardic community strongly endorse David Greenfield including, SCF President Sam Sutton, a member of the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY) and a board member and former president of Sephardic Bikur Holim, and SCF Co-Chairman Ronnie Tawil, a vice president of Sephardic Bikur Holim.
Plans for the Future
In an exclusive interview with Community Magazine, David Greenfield discussed the plethora of challenges that face the community, and he shared his plans on how he intends to overcome those challenges as a member of City Council.
“There are monumental challenges confronting the community, and solutions to those problems will continue to elude us unless we work together to overcome them,” said Greenfield. “The community needs a voice in City Hall that understands the community’s concerns.”
Greenfield spoke about a number of issues that have become centerpieces of his City Council campaign.
“New York City has become an expensive place to live, and middle class families throughout the five boroughs are finding it difficult to make ends meet,” said Greenfield. “We need to make New York affordable again so families can continue to live here and businesses can continue to succeed.”
Greenfield discussed the importance of free busing for students, and of allowing parents to select the bus company that best suits their schedule and needs. He also committed to continue working towards relief for tuition-paying parents and securing additional funding for private and public schools. In addition, Greenfield told Community that he will focus on creating jobs, enhancing services for seniors, improving transportation, and lowering taxes and fines.
“I am running for the City Council so I can continue serving as an advocate for the community,” Greenfield concluded, “and so that I can be in an even better position to achieve the results that this community deserves.”