web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Home » News & Views » US »

New White House Chief Of Staff ‘Go-To’ Person For Jewish Groups


Jack-Lew-011312

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday announced that Jack Lew, his director of the Office of Budget and Management – a Cabinet-level position – would replace William Daley as White House chief of staff.

Lew, 56, was chosen for his long years in government and his reputation as a skilled multi-tasker – he was top-budget cruncher for Bill Clinton before reprising the job for Obama – but Jewish officials were offering a sigh of relief for a subsidiary reason: Their who-we-gonna-call pleas were answered.

Since Dennis Ross, Obama’s top Iran adviser, announced his departure late last year, community officials wondered who was left to call in a White House that has hemorrhaged top Jews over the last year or so. Lew, an Orthodox Jew, is close to the community and is a go-to person for Jewish events in the capital.

“The reports that there’s no one to talk to have always been exaggerated,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Hoenlein pointed to Peter Rouse, a counselor to Obama who has served as acting chief of staff, as someone who has always been accessible.

Still, Hoenlein added, “Jack being there will be beneficial, it will foster communication.”

Orthodox organizations immediately welcomed the Lew appointment.

Orthodox Union Managing Director Rabbi Steven Burg and executive director for public policy Nathan Diament issued the following statement: “We commend President Obama for appointing Mr. Jack Lew as White House Chief of Staff. Our community takes great pride in the appointment of the first member of our community to this position of great responsibility. We wish Mr. Lew a hearty ‘Mazal Tov’ on his historic appointment and best wishes in his new role in serving the president and people of the United States.”

Rabbi Abba Cohen, Washington director for Agudath Israel of America, said “The president is to be commended for appointing Jack Lew as his new chief of staff. Jack Lew is a person of great skill and intellect. He is an extraordinarily hard worker with a firm grasp of both policy and politics. He is a true public servant.”

Obama launched his administration with a strong contingent of Jewish advisers: In addition to Ross, David Axelrod was his top political adviser, Rahm Emanuel was his chief of staff and Daniel Shapiro handled the Levant desk at the National Security Council.

Emanuel quit in late 2010 to run for Chicago mayor, Axelrod left soon after to help run Obama’s reelection campaign and Shapiro is now in Tel Aviv as ambassador. That left a perceived gap in the White House – one that Lew would fill, though Jewish officials stressed that they did not expect the attention from a chief of staff that they received from mid-level staffers.

“That’s not the role he’s going to play,” said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, referring to the regular conference calls that Ross and Shapiro had with Jewish community leaders.

“He will be an adviser to the president on all things and a gatekeeper, but to the extent the president will turn to him for his view, he has an understanding of the community and of its views.”

President Obama with Jack Lew at his side, announces Lew's appointment as White House chief of staff.

The Obama administration clearly wanted to push across the Jewish message; Shapiro Tweeted the news in Hebrew to his followers. Israeli ambassadors don’t usually make a big deal of the appointment of a White House chief of staff.

Obama stressed Lew’s management savvy in announcing the appointment on Monday. “Jack’s economic advice has been invaluable and he has my complete trust, both because of his mastery of the numbers, but because of the values behind those numbers,” he said.

Lew has become something of a go-to Obama administration speaker and guest for the organized Jewish community, particularly among Orthodox Jews. Most recently, he lit the “national menorah,” the giant chanukiyah that graces the National Mall and is organized by American Friends of Lubavitch.

“As an American Jew, I can’t think of anyone who has a deeper commitment to the United States as well as his own Jewish identity at the same time,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who heads the Chabad group and noted that Lew occasionally stops by for Shabbat services.

“His appointment obviously gives the White House an envoy to the Jewish community who is eloquent, respected, even beloved across the Jewish spectrum. That’s probably an added bonus rather than the core qualification.”

Lew maintains a reliable shtick in his interaction with Jewish audiences: How he balances the 24/7 demands of being a top government official with the 24/6 Sabbath-observant lifestyle.

One incident involves a Shabbat call he received from President Clinton. He came home from synagogue and the phone rang. As was his practice, he waited until the answering machine clicked on to see if it was urgent enough to pick up. As it happened, it was a White House staffer telling him to ignore the earlier message from Clinton, who had been phoning from overseas and had forgotten that in Washington it was still Shabbat. The matter was not urgent enough to interrupt Lew’s observance, Clinton told the staffer to tell Lew.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “New White House Chief Of Staff ‘Go-To’ Person For Jewish Groups”

  1. Gary Lee says:

    W., 01/11/12 common era

    Mister Lew is merely another “court” Jew. Obama will use his presence as evidence that he isn’t an antisemite and continue to try to squeeze Israel into making more suicidal unilateral concessions to its G-d-hating enemies. Nuthin’ new under the sun here. . .

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem, founded by Yemenite Jews in 1881
Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”
Latest News Stories
ISIS/Daesh seized control of the Syrian border town of Quneitra temporarily towards the end of August 2014.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is threatening to kill the founder of Twitter and his employees because they are blocking tweets from Daesh, known also as ISIS.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Dec. 30, 2014.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power tells AIPAC on Monday that America “will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Period.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the AIPAC Policy Conference, Washington DC, on March 2, 2015.

“Today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. Tomorrow, as prime minister of the only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with US Senator Lindsey Graham in Jerusalem.

Former Consul Alon Pinkas charges Prime Minister Netanyahu is “injecting Israel into the American political arena – he loves doing that.”

Former Israel Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold says PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress “will have substance no one has heard before.”

Want to know who are the Bibicotters and how you can tell them what you think?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a packed room at AIPAC on Monday the US-Israel alliance is “sound.” But on Iran: “No one makes alliances with the weak,” he warned.

IDF soldiers, reservists and local security units participated in a massive training drill in the town of Efrat, Gush Etzion, reenacting an infiltration of terrorists into the settlement, on March 02, 2015. The IDF’s central command called a surprise training exercise in the West Bank to test reservists’ alertness and to prepare for the possibility […]

I’m not going to get into timetables. It will happen.

American like Netanyahu by a 2-1 margin, with Obama probably in the minority.

Girls, ages 10-13, from Efrat in Gush Etzion will square off against girls from the Galilee Arab village Sakhnin tonight in a playoff game that will determine which group will advance to the semi-finals in the girls’ league. “We are involved with soccer and not politics,” one of the Efrat girls said. “We really want […]

Jew Wars: Episode 7 – Revenge of the White House

The suspect denied he knew he was sending Hamas material that could be used to kill him and his neighbors.

The PA plans to destroy Israeli products found in Arab-owned stores, but the Arab population will probably just buy them from Rami Levy instead.

He told CNN ‘God gave the US military power” that should be used to stop genocide.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Hillary Clinton

Clinton derided perceptions that U.S.-Israel tensions had become tense under Obama.

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/new-white-house-chief-of-staff-go-to-person-for-jewish-groups/2012/01/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: