The recent spike in divisiveness and partisanship in America has driven many Americans, to seek out the politics of bipartisanship and reconciliation. This is why I was heartened to meet Melissa Jane (“MJ”) Kronfeld, running for a seat on the city council of New York City. It was nice to finally meet someone who saw bipartisanship and the ability to work with diverse groups of people, as a virtue — not a fault.
MJ believes deeply in the importance of working together and one working with people who think differently than we do, knowing that we are all in this together. She believes that working on politics is something that should be “beautiful” and positive, rather than being something that many find divisive and polluted. While she is running for a local seat on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, her message about positive politics is one that has resonated with people far beyond New York City. Americans throughout this country are feeling the emotional and mental burden of divisive politics and MJ’s message comes to Americans like cold water on a weary soul.
MJ comes from a background with vast experience in the field of public service and activism—the kind of background we wish up ourselves when thinking about a more positive future for American politics. She is the founder of Party for a Purpose, helping non-profit organizations conserve resources and be more effective in their work. She co-chaired the Zionist Organization of America’s New York chapter and is a tireless advocate of Israel’s right to be treated with fairness and objectivity. She will never remain silent in the face of Anti-Semitism and Prejudice. She also works to make sure that Holocaust survivors live in dignity and that any needs that they have what they need when they need it.
MJs Jewish pride and commitment to the safety and equality of all, is an important one, particularly in the district she is running in. Over the past year or so we have seen antisemitism rear its ugly face in the midst of New York City, with students of Hunter College chanting loudly and in a very public way: “Zionists out of CUNY!” Such behavior must be addressed in the strongest terms and having a young passionate Zionist in this district will help ensure that such hateful and bigoted rhetoric has no place in New York City.
Another issue which is very much on the mind of Jewish families in New York City is the issue of schooling. Jewish families often struggle with the high costs of Jewish education. Having someone who supports maximum participation on the part of New York City’s Department of Education in the funding of charter schools and parochial schools, is something which will also students to excel in the school parents find best suited for them, will significantly improve the quality and accessibility of education in New York City and will put tax dollars back into the pockets of working families who work so hard to make ensure our future.
Like so many others, I was taken aback by MJs positive message and vibrant outlook for the future and American politics and it is no surprise that so many are taken aback by her positive outlook on politics and her active pursuit of a better future for our great country. We needed a voice like this for a long time, thankfully, it has arrived at last.
An earlier version of this article appeared in the Jewish Voice of New York