On Wednesday, March 1, students from Rambam Mesivta got up early in the morning to make the trek to Albany and participate in the Teach NYS mission to advocate for additional funding for private-school education. Currently, NYS provides over $3 billion for public education, while spending one-tenth of that on private education. After davening vasikin and eating a quick breakfast, the boys boarded the bus to Albany. Rambam was represented by their students Michael Akhavan, Avraham Balsam, Dovi Breuer, Eli Deutsch, Benjamin Kattan, Aaron Moradi, David Rabinovich, Akiva Schuck, and Uriel Sussman.
The lobbying mission was coordinated and organized by the Orthodox Union for 500 students, yeshiva administrators, and community rabbis all across New York. All who came had the opportunity to hear from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was introduced by Mr. Allen Fagin, chief executive officer of the Orthodox Union, and then from Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
The Rambam delegates then met with Assemblyman Francisco Moya who represents Jackson Heights and is a strong supporter of funding private education. He lauded the efforts of the student lobbyists and urged them to continue the process, assuring them that members of the Assembly are responsive to lobbying and public opinion.
After that meeting, the students were invited to the assembly floor by Assemblyman David Weprin, who publicly acknowledged them and welcomed their presence before other members of the Assembly. Shortly thereafter, Assemblyman Dov Hikind spoke about Rambam in front of the crowd.
The Rambam contingent closed out the day with a private meeting with Senator Majority Leader John Flanagan. They thanked the senator for all of his efforts on behalf of private education and he responded by reaffirming his commitment to deliver educational excellence to all students in New York State.
Other yeshivas who participated from the South Shore were HAFTR, HANC, and Shulamith. The voices and presence of all of the students clearly had a positive impact on the New York State Assembly.