New York - NYC Mayor Appoints Clergy Council To Better Serve Needs Of City’s Religious Communities
New York - A newly announced effort by the mayor aims to foster better communication between leaders of faith based groups and City Hall by appointing community liaison who will interface directly with the de Blasio administration.
Mayor de Blasio introduced his plans for the clergy advisory council this morning during Sunday mass at a Manhattan church. The council, which is still in the process of being formed, currently consists of over 45 different clergy members including Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive director of Agudath Israel of America.
“I was solicited by the mayor’s office to be part of this council,” Rabbi Zwiebel told VIN News. “I enjoy a good relationship with the mayor and his people. He has been solicitive of our community in many ways and if he says he wants to put together a religious leaders council, I am happy to lend my name to it.”
According to Rabbi Zwiebel, no date has been set yet for the council’s first meeting. A City Hall press release noted that the council would give religious leaders the ability to discuss their concerns with the administration.
“This effort will formalize and expand City Hall’s relationship with religious community across the city - making it easier for New Yorkers to share feedback, improving service delivery and strengthening clergy networks across the five boroughs.”
The press release also said that council members will have the ability to hold local meetings on matters that pertain to city policy including public safety, housing and education and will help identify and recruit additional members.
Rabbi Zwiebel categorized the newly announced council as a positive move for the city’s Jewish community.
“I can certainly envision how developing these kind of relationships could be helpful down the road,” said Rabbi Zwiebel.
Joining forces with other religious leaders could potentially be helpful in the fight for tuition relief for private school parents, according to Rabbi Zwiebel.
“If I am invited to a meeting and we speak about the agenda, I would include in that agenda the vitality and well being of religious schools across the city and the policies that affect those schools, which could lead to a discussion of UPK and a state initiative of tuition tax credits,” said Rabbi Zwiebel.
Among others in the Jewish community also named to the clergy advisory council were Rabbi Boruch Bender of Achiezer, Rabbi Robert Kaplan of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, Rabbi of Forrest Hill Jewish Center, Queens, and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.
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