April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

State Senator Gordon Visits RYNJ

Last week, Senator Robert M. Gordon (D-District 38) visited the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey. Senator Gordon, whose district includes the townships of Bergenfield, Fair Lawn, New Milford and River Edge—where over 45% of RYNJ students reside—told seventh grade students about his role in government, the process by which a bill becomes a law in the state legislature, and the day-to-day duties of a state senator.

Gordon related that the most important aspect of his job as a legislator is helping his constituents. He explained that his office receives over 100 calls and emails daily from citizens requesting assistance with personal issues or navigating state government. They were also told that when they came of age they should exercise their right to vote, and encourage their parents to do so as well.

The students were excited to ask questions about topics they had covered in their social studies curriculum, with Israel and the “tuition crisis” foremost on their minds. Student Chana Lieba Rosenbluth asked the Senator, “Do you think the U.S. should continue to help Israel?” Senator Gordon explained that foreign policy falls under federal jurisdiction but state government can send resolutions to Congress to express its position. He added that, “Israel is our best friend in the Middle East, the only democracy in a very dangerous part of the world, and we must continue to support Israel.”

Mordechai Glatter, another seventh grader, asked, “Why do our parents pay taxes for public schools if we go to private school?” Senator Gordon explained to the students the concept of “public good,” which are functions of government that provide benefits to people regardless of personal consumption. He said, “We are a better society with these things, so we all must contribute to them.”

Following the presentation to the students, Head of School Rabbi Daniel Price and Director of Religious and Academic Studies Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein led Senator Gordon, his Deputy Chief of Staff Matthew Marinello, and two members of the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs, New Jersey Regional Director, Rabbi Josh Pruzansky, and Marketing Director, Arielle Frankston-Morris, on a tour of the school. They visited the school’s technology labs and first and second grade classrooms where they interacted with students and observed lessons.

The Senator also met with lay leadership of the school to discuss issues of importance to the RYNJ community, including state budget cuts for technology grants and school nursing, and the lack of busing for students living in Bergenfield. Senator Gordon was receptive to many concerns expressed by the school administration and lay leadership, and conveyed his commitment to finding creative ways to address the issue of education affordability.

Rabbi Price commented on the meeting with the Senator: “We feel that having students hear about how legislation operates directly from an actual state senator is a crucial component to hands-on learning, and it’s important for our students to see a relationship with our yeshiva and the government.”

The Senator shared how impressed he was with the school’s consistently high academic performance and along with Rabbi Pruzansky, admired the RYNJ Annual Report, which reflects the many milestones achieved in the school and represents an effort on the part of the board and administration towards transparency in their fiduciary responsibilities. This report is just one of the many steps taken on tuition reform. RYNJ remains committed to keeping tuition rates flat and to help relieve the burden on parents.

By P’nina Seplowitz

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