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After word leaked out that the family of Monica Lewinskybelonged to Sinai Temple in West Los Angeles, the full-court presswas applied by members of a media desperate for any details evenremotely connected to the alleged White House sex scandal.

by Tom Tugend

January 29, 1998 | 7:00 pm

And while the involvement of the Lewinsky family in the Jewishcommunity is apparently limited, Lewinsky's lawyer referredrepeatedly to Jewish issues and Israel in an interview with anIsraeli daily, even linking the scandal and the future of the Clintonpresidency with Israeli-U.S. relations.

Lewinsky, the 24-year-old former White House intern, is at thecenter of the furor that has become the No. 1 media topic worldwide.

According to the interview her lawyer, William Ginsburg, grantedYediot Aharonot, Monica Lewinsky's paternal grandfather left Germanyin the 1930s and emigrated to England.

Her father, Dr. Bernard S. Lewinsky, and her mother, Marcia,joined Sinai Temple in 1976, and Monica and her younger brother,Michael, attended the temple's religious school.

Bernard Lewinsky, a cancer specialist, divorced Marcia, a sometimeauthor and free-lance journalist, about 10 years ago and hasremarried, all along keeping his Sinai Temple membership current.

He is apparently not involved in temple activities or in theJewish community in general, although Ginsburg claimed that BernardLewinsky recites the "Shema" every morning.

There is no evidence that Monica Lewinsky participated in Jewishstudent activities at either of the two colleges she attended, SantaMonica College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. -- fromwhich she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1995.

Ginsburg stressed in the interview with Yediot Aharonot thatLewinsky is prepared to testify about her relationship with thepresident in exchange for immunity, but he added that both he andLewinsky want to keep Clinton in the presidency, in part, because oftheir support of his policies vis-á-vis Israel.

"We are both Clinton fans and respect his positions and hispolicies regarding Israel," he said. "I don't want the president tostep down. Who knows who will follow Clinton and how he will relateto Israel?"

When asked if Lewinsky would flee to Israel, which is whatMaryland teen-ager Samuel Sheinbein did last year after allegedlycommitting murder, Ginsburg said: "It would not be good for Monica'simage. She has to finish her part in the incident. After it's allover, if Monica wants to go, that could be a great possibility. I'msure she would be very at ease in Israel."

Lewinsky grew up in an affluent family that lived in a $1.6million home, and she attended Beverly Hills High School.

An insight into the family's lifestyle is provided in courtrecords of the parents' divorce proceedings, unearthed by the SantaMonica Outlook.

"I and the children have never had to worry about the cost ofanything that was reasonably desired," the mother testified. Sherelated how the family traveled first class, spent $20,000 a year onvacations, ate at the finest restaurants, and housed a new Cadillacand a new Mercedes-Benz in their garage.

In addition, she said, "We have always provided the children withextensive extracurricular lessons and tutoring to satisfy any desiresthat either they or we may have."

 

Editor Gene Lichtenstein on "Did youknow Monica Lewinsky was Jewish?"

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