Jewish Journal


July 13, 2010

Orthodox Jew Heads to the White House



Since we consider Washington the East Coast Hollywood (with at least as much drama), the latest news from our nation’s capital:

On Tuesday, President Obama announced his nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget. The candidate, Jacob Lew, is an expert in his field—and, he’s shomer Shabbat.

Having commanded the position under the Clinton administration, Lew is lauded by the President as the “only budget director in history to preside over a budget surplus for three consecutive years.” Under his watch, the federal budget in the 90s went from deficit to $236 million surplus—and Obama’s hoping for a repeat performance: “Jack’s challenge over the next few years is to use his extraordinary skill and experience to cut down that deficit and put our nation back on a fiscally responsible path.”

However, as an Orthodox Jew, the federal budget isn’t the only thing Jacob Lew will have to balance. An MSNBC story, “Lew Didn’t Answer Earthly Authority” reports that Lew, working under Clinton, refused to receive an important call from the president on Shabbat (his rabbi later informed him that it is permissible to take such calls). According to Jewishworldnews.com, he was an active member of Congregation Beth Shalom of Potomac and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

Jacob Lew, if approved by the Senate, will be joining a party already in progress: several of Obama’s young aides are Jewish and have Friday night dinners, and the Passover Seder has become an Obama White House tradition.

by Daniella Penn

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