Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Brooklyn Bridge

Binyamin Rose

David Greenfield is arguably one of America’s most powerful Orthodox Jewish elected officials. His Brooklyn district is home to more than 120,000 Jews, but if you ask him, he insists the best way to serve them is to exert broad influence for the benefit of all his constituents. As Mishpacha’s news editor Binyamin Rose shadowed Greenfield for a full working day, Councilman Greenfield shared the political wisdom of a spiritual gadol, and disclosed how his yarmulke almost set off a Mideast crisis.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

All little boys have big dreams, but only a few ever work their way into a position to make those dreams come true.DavidGreenfield did. As a child, he played in one of Brooklyn’s most crowded and run-down playgrounds —in the 18th Avenue Park — losing patience with the long lines for the one and only swing set. When he got elected to the New York City Council in 2010, at age 31, he decided to make park renovation his top priority. It took the next five years, dozens of meetings, and cutting through copious quantities of red tape before he secured $5.45 million to renovate the park. “When I broke ground on the project just a few weeks ago and thought about the tens of thousands of children who will enjoy the same park that disappointed me as a child some 30 years ago, I was elated,” Greenfield says, looking forward to the day when the park will boast not just two new swing sets, but four new playgrounds, brand-new basketball and paddle-ball courts, a new baseball field, new benches, trees, and lighting. As a member of the City Council, the Big Apple’s lawmaking body, Greenfield considers the $23 million he has already obtained for parks funding as his most significant accomplishment to date. City and State, a bimonthly magazine devoted solely to covering New York government and politics, ranks Greenfield as the 69th most powerful New Yorker, a position from which he should be able to make more of his and his constituents’ dreams come true. I catch up withDavidGreenfield on the steps of City Hall, after he emerges from an emergency session to negotiate the city’s $78 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016. And although I’m a bit jet-lagged following the flight fromTelAviv to New York the day before, Greenfield’s energy and enthusiasm level is contagious. While big political decisions are made behind closed doors, it is the informal political chatter that greases the wheels behind the scenes. With his black velvet yarmulke, Greenfield is one of the most influential members of a political culture that seats representatives of every ethnic and religious community under one domed roof.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you