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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Another Milestone for the Jewish People in America

I said I am proud of the President for choosing the best man for the job at Treasury even though he is Jewish.
US-Treasury-3

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

For those who have been in a coma for the last couple of days, Jack Lew who is an Orthodox Jew and currently the President’s Chief of Staff will be nominated by the President for the cabinet position of Secretary of the Treasury. Although as of this writing it has not been made official – It seems that this will indeed happen. I also believe that he will sail through the confirmation process.

First let me echo the OU’s congratulatory response. I could not be prouder of my co-religionist, Jack Lew, my country, the United States of America, and my President, Barack Obama.

That’s right. I said I am proud of the President for looking beyond the criticism he got from the Jewish community about Hagel and choosing the best man for the job at Treasury even though he is Jewish. I believe the President is a man of integrity. Though I strongly disagreed with him about Hagel, I think he truly believes Hagel to be the best man for the Secretary of Defense.

I think Hagel will be a negative influence vis-à-vis Israel. But I believe (or at least hope) that the President will stick to his polices with respect to Israel. His polices are for the most part very supportive of the Jewish state. Although I still don’t like the fact that someone who has shown great antagonism towards “The Jewish Lobby” will be a member of his cabinet – I do not believe that the President sees us that way. He has certainly never referred to any of us that way.

That Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew whose Sabbath observance might seem to be a hindrance to his duties has the confidence of the President says a lot about both men. Apparently the President cares that his employees do not sacrifice their principles for their job. In fact the President himself has seen to it that Mr. Lew does not violate the Sabbath. He has been Jack Lew’s Shomer in that regard – reminding him on Friday’s that sunset was approaching and he better hurry up and get home before Shabbos begins.

It is interesting to note an article that appeared a few days ago in the Forward. It was about just how far an observant Jew can go in the workplace these days despite some apparent obstacles. Avital Chizhik, an Orthodox woman, writes about her experiences in seeking a job.

When asked about there indeed her religious observances would hinder her – she replied that she was not that religious. Her interviewer laughed and offered her the job saying he was glad to hear that.

She felt guilty afterward realizing that indeed she was ‘that’ religious. But after thinking about it, she realized that she was really responding to an image and not reality. Unfortunately our image as observant Jews does not always project confidence in an employer about our dedication to our jobs. Her reaction was made to counter that notion. She goes on to say that the sense of purpose that drives her religious beliefs and actions is also channeled into her work – making for a much better employee.

Although I am very happy for Ms. Chizik’s success, there is no better role model for an Orthodox Jew achieving career success than Jack Lew. Of course he is not the first Orthodox Jew to achieve it. Former Vice Presidential candidate and senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman did it first.

The job Mr. Lew is about to take on is not an easy one. Which adds to his prestige. His job will perhaps be the most difficult one in the President’s entire cabinet. He will be presiding over an economy that has yet to completely recover from the recession of 2008. Whatever improvement or deterioration happens in the economy will be under his watch. He will either get credit or blame.

Which leads me back to a common fear many Jews have about a Jewish public servants in positions of power in the government. Some people will say that they regret the choice of any Jew, let alone an Orthodox one, being in such a position. They fear that if the economy goes really south, “the Jews” will be blamed for it. As they always have in the past by European governments. The last government to blame the Jews for their problems ended up with the Holocaust!

I understand their fear. It is based on a very long and sad history of persecution of the Jewish people by governments that were at first friendly and welcoming to us. They will say it happened “there” when no one expected it, it can happen here just as easily. “The Goyim don’t need much to turn on us.” Germany was great to the Jewish people for generations of Jews. And look what happened. We should not be naïve about our standing here… that it’s all smoke and mirrors and when the chips are down we are going to be the first ones to be blamed.

Like I said, I understand it. But it’s just plain wrong. Aside from the fact that this country was founded precisely on the principle of religious tolerance, the American people are a fine and decent people who know not to blame their troubles on any one ethnicity. There has unfortunately been many examples where high profile religious Jews have done wrong.

The American people have had ample opportunity to blame “the Jews” for a variety of behaviors of its miscreants. Bernie Madoff could have easily sparked an anti-Semitic backlash… as could any one of a number of high profile Jewish miscreants. High profile because of their obvious Jewishness. How many Orthodox Jews wearing Kipot and other religious artifacts have been arrested or convicted of financial fraud? How many Orthodox Jewish molesters have been in the news lately? There is certainly enough of that kind of thing to bring out any latent Antisemitism. And yet it hasn’t.

Instead we have a President nominating an Orthodox Jew to perhaps the most important cabinet position in America right now… a nomination that should – as I said – sail through congress. So even if God forbid the worst happens and the economy really tanks, perhaps Jack Lew will be blamed. But in no way will “the Jews” will be blamed. Those among my coreligionists who don’t understand this and think I am naïve, are themselves naive. They truly do not understand what this great country is all about nor what the American people are made of.

What a Country!

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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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15 Responses to “Another Milestone for the Jewish People in America”

  1. Liad Bar-el says:

    Now, all America's financial problems will be blamed on the Jews.

  2. Cody Flecker says:

    This author is an idiot and should be banned from publishing here. Jack lew is a political hack who never held a real job in his life. His last company was Citicorp who received 472 Million Dollars in a bailout and Lew received a whopping bonus of 950,000 dollars while workers of Citicorp were laid off. Jack Lew is hardly the man for this position right now while the country is slowly imploding.

  3. Ari Yosef says:

    ?"believe… is a man of integrity"? THE "LIAR IN CHIEF"? the most arrogantly and historically UNTRUTHFUL President in the HISTORY of USA!

  4. Ari Yosef says:

    Maybe some need reminders of NOT integrity:
    Avowed "transparency" is the most extremly NOT transparent personally and politically.
    Promoted great lies of Bengazi while had video ringside seat to the attack from the beginning. What is he hiding by these deaths. What exposure?
    Claims spending cuts while not at all, only "projecting" in future 10 yrs and that amount will not cut current years deficit + interest for even 1 year. No cut this year or next!
    Serial liars are NOT men of integrity. They are exploiters, manipulators, and without moral conscience except by tone of words ABSENT ANY DEEDS.
    Rather ARIAL murder of innocent women, children, and bystanders.
    Executive orders that bypas the Constitution and all our legislative checks against safeguards of freedom and civil due process.
    NOT JEWISH Ethics, not honorable, and the path of Germany in 1930's.Total package is entirely NOT INTEGRITY!

    WAKE UP!

  5. Carolin Knox says:

    And here lies our main problem of being Jews in the diaspora, falling into the same trap as all others in the past…the "not in my country" blindness. We have lived happily in other countries longer than America has existed, until due to bad leadership, and neverending anti-Semitism we end up in pogroms or worse.

  6. Tzvi Fishman says:

    What Jewish milestones is the author referring to? That Arthur Miller married Marilyn Monroe? That Simon and Garfunkle both married shiksas? That Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, Henry Kissinger, on and on and on married shiksa too? Or the milestone that the Jews of America have found a new fig leaf to cover their nakedness in living in a gentile land when they could be living in the Land that G-d gave to the Jews? The new Sec of Treasury proves that America loves the Jews, so let's all stay in America and look the other way as 60% marry non-Jews, then 70%, then 80%. What will be with the grandchildren – who cares? We're safe now, that's all that matters. Just like the Jews of Egypt were safe when Joseph was Sec of Treasury, and the Jews of Spain were safe when the Abarbanel was Sec of Treasury up until the Inquisition. I'm sure glad the author isn't naive, aren't you?

  7. Sandra Mc says:

    " a nomination that should – as I said – sail through congress. So even if God forbid the worst happens and the economy really tanks, perhaps Jack Lew will be blamed. But in no way will “the Jews” will be blamed. Those among my coreligionists who don’t understand this and think I am naïve, are themselves naive. They truly do not understand what this great country is all about nor what the American people are made of." @ that's a laugh..everyone knows they will be blamed.

  8. Justplaino Misha says:

    B'H, we're coming home. Will be interesting to see how many show up for the Dallas NBN Aliyah Planning workshop this month…

  9. Liad Bar-el says:

    Not only will the above be true, but Hil lu HaShem will be great. When America falls even further and because Jack Lew is a religious Jew, people will say, "where is your god that we suffer so much?" Jack Lew is doing nobody any good being in that office. Jack, Stanley Fischer will not bail you out on this one with his advice on how he helped save Israel from going under for HaShem is watching over Israel. It seems that Esav/Mohammed is watching over America and Harry Maryles honors such a watch. There's nothing holy over such an unholy country directed by unholy support of those who want to destroy Israel. Next time you post, Harry, study some Rav Kook first.

  10. Move to the north. The Galil, the Golan, it's all waiting here for you. I pay NIS2600 a month for a large 4 bedroomed house with the finest view in the world, Kinneret to the south, snow-capped Hermon to the north, Meron and beyond to the west. I can feed myself with what grows in my garden. And there are a lot of things you can do here to make a good living. My neighbor just moved into a 5 bedroomed house for NIS 2300 a month. I pay 20 sheks a month for 100mbit internet so I run my chool business from my home office. Here we have 100% chance our kids will marry in the faith. Israel needs you now. We are surging in population but we need more Anglos NOW. Make English, not Russian, the second language. And another thing. Israel is giving away land. People are bringing prefabs in their containers. Time is running out people. Moshiach is counting heads right now.

  11. Mr.Maryles I believe you R naive as the country to day is not the same and the people have changed, and the last election should tell you that I also believe that Obama nominated a Jew for secretary of treasury for a reason, knowing Obama and his agenda he will be happy if the country blames a Jew for a bad economy.

  12. Yosef Shapiro Mr, Shapiro can you tell me in US dollar how much you pay a month for a 4 bedroom home Thank you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The author says there is no anti-semetic backlash? Thank H" for YouTube comments.There is no small corner of the USA that doesn't hatte the Jews.Albeit for many quirky reasons they lie but the anti-Jewish feeling is there."The Jews run the economy","The Jews run Hollywood","Rothschilds & Zionists are taking over the world".If a Jew gets a top job in Washington is not a criteria for succsess.

  14. Ishabella Gabriella Lacroix says:

    So true…they say all the right things and do all the wrong things as they smile in your face and gut the country and us as they do it…UNBELIEVABLE! You so nailed this!

  15. Ari Yosef says:

    Pehraps "HIXOS" would be more appropriate to be blamed for surely these are those who claim to be Jews but are NOT. Yahuhua spoke through Yochanan in Rev 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
    A true Jew keeps his heart focused on honoring the Creator not gaining power and physical wealth. Hatred of those who cannot see the difference in air-head liberals who have adopted a "Jewish persona" they are pawns of satan who intends, like Hitler, to destroy true Jews and all Israel who believe on the ECHAD Creator.

    I do not know the hearts and forefathers of men, but by their acts:
    Some of righteousness, others of guile and evil. The fruit of the tree tells of it's roots.

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