NEW YORK (JTA) — The chancellor of New York’s public school system hailed the efforts of those who support day schools, yeshivas and other Jewish educational institutions.
Joel Klein was one of the speakers at the first fund-raising dinner to benefit BJENY-SAJES, the central agency for Jewish education in Greater New York. He used his remarks to hail the efforts of those working to improve schools — public or private.
Klein told the nearly 500 attendees that he frequently has people asking him why he shows up at events benefiting private schools.
“This to me is the wrong frame,” Klein said. “To me, I’m here to serve the children of New York.”
Klein recounted a recent trip to Jerusalem where he met with the Israeli city’s mayor, Nir Barkat. He praised Barkat for prioritizing education as the main way to transform a city facing a host of cultural, religious and socio-economic challenges.
“I thought I had the toughest job,” Klein quipped.
The dinner honored two educators, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Manhattan, principal of the Ramaz School and religious leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, and Erica Leventhal, director of programming and youth activities at Beth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle, N.Y. Four past and current leaders of the central education agency and its predecessor organizations also were honored: Jeff Corbin, David Eisner, Craig Padover and David Rosenberg.