NYC Councilmembers, Orthodox Jewish Leaders, Protest Elimination of Priority-7 Program


priority-7-city-hallAt a press conference today in front of New York City Hall in lower Manhattan, members of the New York City Council and Orthodox communal leaders joined forces to oppose the proposed elimination of the “Priority 7” child-care voucher program.

Under “Priority 7,” vouchers are provided to parents of school-age children where one parent is working full time and the other faces a substantial degree of social difficulty without child care assistance.

Councilmembers David G. Greenfield, Brad Lander, and Stephen Levin, the three Brooklyn councilmen who organized the press conference, were joined by other members of the Brooklyn Council delegation, as well as community advocates and yeshiva repesentatives, to express their firm opposition to the proposed elimination of Priority 7.

Among the speakers at the press conference were two representatives of the Orthodox community: Rabbi Moshe Dovid Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, and Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel.

In his remarks, Rabbi Zwiebel explained the potential social consequences of eliminating the child care vouchers: “These vouchers benefit children, but not just children – also their parents, their siblings, their neighborhoods – all who have a stake in the wellbeing of families struggling to make it in the face of great challenges”

With its often large families and particular financial needs, the city’s Orthodox Jewish community has been the main beneficiary of the Priority 7 category. Some 2000 child care vouchers, worth approximately $15 million to their recipients, have been distributed yearly to parents in heavily Orthodox parts of New York.

Last summer, when the Priority 7 program was threatened with cancellation, letters from 30,000 Orthodox Jewish parents were delivered by Agudath Israel activists to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who subsequently restored funding for the program. However, the Mayor’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year aims again to eliminate it.

“The importance of these vouchers to hard-working, needy families in the Orthodox community can’t be overstated,” said Rabbi Zwiebel. “They represent a true lifeline to good people doing all they can to cope with a challenging economic environment while they raise their young.”

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Taking from a government program from this is Socialism! Since when do Yidden support Socialists! This is America, not Russia.

    And so on…

  2. Isn’t this “socialism?” Handing out taxpayers’ money to needy families who haven’t earned it? Won’t this make them dependent on the government? Why should Taxpayer A pay to take care of B’s children?

    Oh, wait – that’s only if the needy families aren’t Jewish. “Socialism” is only bad if “they” get the money. Funny situation – we vote for the people who want to cut taxes. The taxes get cut and the programs get cut – and then we complain about that. Can you find the logic in that?

  3. It is indeed a degree of socialism. But this kind of socialism is already a fact of life here. If they’d be cutting out socialism, and stoping to cover so many black projects and arts which we absolutly don’t get a sniff from that would be one thing. but why should we let them cut within the world of socialism the one program that means more to our community?

  4. please give all vouchers, section 8, medicare, etc to the people outside brooklyn!!

    we live like sardines! please help us get out of here, we are stuck in the mud with all these good programs! give it to upstate to all over but brooklyn, the city is overcrowded, please!!!!!!! we cant grow up normal familys!!!!!!!

    have rachmunis!!!!!!

  5. How would you be unable to manage without the vouchers? Exactly what “substantial degree of social difficulty” would you experience without someone to care for your children after school? Also, do priority 7 vouchers provide year-round child care, every day? If not, how do you manage when priority 7 care isn’t available?