July 23, 2024
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BPY Board President Cheryl Rosenberg Plans Run for Englewood City Council Seat

Englewood—Cheryl Rosenberg, 36, president of the board of trustees of Ben Porat Yosef (BPY) in Paramus, has won the endorsement of the Democratic municipal committee for an open seat on the Englewood City Council. She will be the candidate on the Democratic party line in the June primary from Englewood’s first ward. Rosenberg will step down from the BPY board on June 30.

Rosenberg told The Jewish Link she believes she was selected as her values, experience and approach resonated with the committee. “They didn’t want someone focused only on their own neighborhood or community,” Rosenberg said in a phone interview. “I am very committed to my own community and the broader community—and I don’t think they are in conflict with each other. I care very much about protecting the most vulnerable in our society—women, minorities, immigrants, the LGBT community, and I want to make sure they have access to good education and health care. These are values I have been passionate about.”

Rosenberg said her three years heading the BPY board has given her the skills to help with what she says is a budgetary crisis in Englewood and a “large tax increase coming up. “I’ve been running a non-profit for three years; I am adept at maximizing service and value while minimizing tuition increases—which are like tax increases,” Rosenberg said. “Long-term financial planning is the key to achieving long-term goals—plan for small, modest increases over a long period of time.”

While the city council does not administer the education budget, schools are affected by many decisions the council makes. “If you look at the tax bill as a whole, the municipal portion that City Council works with accounts for about 42 percent, the schools about 47 percent and the rest divided between the county and the library, with more to the former,” Rosenberg explained. “We want to make sure every decision we make at the council level is one that will help the public schools.

Empty storefronts are a visible reminder that Englewood’s economic health needs a boost. Rosenberg said a 2014 Master Plan to help economic development hasn’t been moving forward. “I have a different perspective from some of the veterans, mostly men, on the committee and that fresh perspective from a somewhat different demographic is something I can bring to the table. I’m a young mother who spends my days in Englewood. There’s not much variety in the stores or restaurants. We must make sure we’re catering to a diverse audience. We must have broad and diverse representation within our committees, and planning and zoning boards to help Englewood think outside the retail box by bringing in entertainment or a specialty store, and not just clothing for the same audience. We also have to do something about parking to help store owners, extend limits and make it easier to find parking so people want to come and stay. Committee appointments, traffic, parking and zoning, making it easier for businesses to thrive in Englewood—these are all areas where the council can have a big influence.”

Englewood Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle has also endorsed Rosenberg. In an email, Huttle wrote, “I am supporting Cheryl Rosenberg for Englewood City Council. Cheryl is the president of the board of trustees of Ben Porat Yosef. Her experience and three-year track record in leading this vibrant educational institution gives her the expertise in governance, strategic planning and fiscal responsibility. She understands business and what it takes to collaboratively work together to achieve success. I am confident that she will apply her leadership experience to Englewood and bring a fresh perspective to strengthen our community. As a mother of four children, Cheryl has the passion and commitment to the democratic values that make Englewood great. Her resume speaks volumes as to why she would be an asset to the Englewood Council.”

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Rosenberg worked for several non-profits, including the ACLU and the Murray & Sydell Rosenberg Foundation, a family foundation, where she was an advocate for women’s health issues and helping impoverished families around the globe. Rosenberg and her family moved from New York City to Englewood in 2007 after hearing about the “warm and welcoming” Kehilat Kesher Synagogue at the Tenafly/Englewood border. As their family grew, Cheryl said she and her husband Mordy chose Ben Porat Yosef for the children’s education for “the same warmth, as well as the attention to each child, progressive individualized learning and Hebrew immersion.”

Rosenberg became actively involved on the BPY board and got up to speed with her trademark approach. “I approach anything new by finding mentors who have expertise and asking questions. When I started with the board of trustees, I was coached by people with expertise in governance, budgeting and finance.”

Rosenberg also serves on the executive committee of Teach NJS, an initiative of the Orthodox Union (OU) to help secure state government funding for nonpublic schools. She was elected this past January 15 as a member of the board of directors of the OU. She is a recent graduate of the Berrie Fellows Leadership Program through the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.

Although this is her first foray into politics, Rosenberg is following the same path to becoming an advocate for Englewood’s residents. “If elected, I will serve the broader Englewood community. I will listen, learn what the problems are, ask the right questions and be approachable to help solve problems.”

By Bracha Schwartz

 

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