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As mayor, Rahm Emanuel cozies up to his roots

by Danielle Berrin

February 23, 2011 | 9:10 am

Maybe it was too fraught to be forthcoming about the J-word as Barack Obama’s chief of staff. But as newly elected mayor of Chicago? Rahm Emanuel is touting his tribalness.

This from Maureen Dowd’s NY Times column (appropriately laden with a “Black Swan” Oscar reference; perhaps two Black Swans will triumph this week?):

He knows it took awhile for Chicagoans to warm up to him. “The members that represented my district before me were Dan Rostenkowski, Roman Pucinski, Frank Annunzio, Mike Flanagan and Rod Blagojevich,” he said. “And along comes a guy named Rahm Israel Emanuel. I don’t know if I was loved, but they knew whose side I was on.”

He had hoped to become the first Jewish speaker of the House, but now he is destined to become the first Jewish mayor of Chicago.

“For me, as Rahm Emanuel, the grandson of Herman Smulivitz, who came to this city in 1917 from the Russian-Romanian border as a 13-year-old to leave the pogroms, and son of Benjamin Emanuel, who came here in 1959 from Israel to start a medical practice, there’s a personal sense of accomplishment,” he said, after polishing off a half-corned-beef, half-pastrami sandwich at the legendary Manny’s deli.

The other two members of the most competitive sibling trio on earth — his brothers Zeke, the oncologist, and Ari, the Hollywood agent — flew to Chicago to come to their brother’s victory party.

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