Blog Posts Related to the American Jewish Community

  • Moving Forward Together

    Moving Forward Together

    Reform and Reconstructionist Leaders meet with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, July 19, 2012. (Photo by the White House Office of Public Engagement)

    Last week, I was fortunate to be a part of a meeting Jack Lew held with members of the Reform and Reconstructionist clergy and lay leaders to discuss issues and work collectively to find solutions to issues on the domestic and foreign policy agenda.  Following the speech the President gave to the Union for Reform Judaism in December, the group engaged in a conversation on topics from the security for the State of Israel to civil rights to what the Affordable Care Act is doing for the American people.

  • President Obama Again Pushes Congress to Act on Student Loans

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement on college affordability (June 21, 2012)

    President Barack Obama, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, delivers a statement on college affordability and interest rates on student loans, in the East Room of the White House, June 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Time is running out for Congress to take actions to stop the rates on federal student loans from doubling on July 1.

    That's why President Obama spoke today from the East Room of the White House about the importance of keeping college affordable.

    "If Congress does not get this done in a week, the average student with federal student loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the coming year," he said. "If Congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike. And that’s not something that you can afford right now."

    In his remarks, the President also stressed the importance of taking this step for the broader economy. It's not just that those students will suddenly have less money to spend -- it's that we need to have the best educated workforce in the world, and keeping higher education affordable helps to make that possible.

    After the event with the President, Mark Zuckerman, the deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council, took to Twitter to answer your questions about student loans and college affordability in a White House Office Hours.

    You can see that discussion on Storify.


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  • Talking Tachlis

    In the last two weeks I have been fortunate to sit in on meetings President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew were holding with members of the Conservative and Orthodox communities to discuss issues of importance. Covering topics from education to foreign policy, the clergy and lay leadership outlined key concerns and together, we worked toward the goal of collectively finding solutions to our nation's and our world’s problems. These meetings are part of a continuing dialogue with various strands of the American Jewish community.   

    At the meeting with Conservative Jewish leaders, the President was given the traditional blessing for heads of state by Rabbinical Assembly Executive Vice President Julie Schonfeld. The role of faith leaders in communities across the country was discussed and celebrated, with the President speaking to the important role these clergy play in our everyday lives. From the social safety net to advocacy on issues around the globe, leaders of religious movements have helped to make this a “more perfect union.”

  • Celebrating Jewish History at the White House

    President Obama delivers remarks during a Jewish American Heritage Month reception May 30, 2012

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a Jewish American Heritage Month reception in the East Room of the White House, May 30, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Ed note: This was first published on the Library of Congress' official blog

    For the third consecutive year, special items from the Library of Congress’ Jewish American collections have been put on display at the White House. In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, President Barack Obama hosted a reception at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Wednesday evening.

    “Generations of Jewish Americans have brought to bear some of our country’s greatest achievements and forever enriched our national life,” he said in his official proclamation. “Our country is stronger for their contributions, and this month, we commemorate the myriad ways they have enriched the American experience.”

  • Letter from Prague: Every Day a Miracle

    Ambassador Norm Eisen and his Mother

    Ambassador Norm Eisen and his mother. (Photo from United States Embassy in Czech Republic)

    Many of our US ambassadors have strong family connections to their host nations, and I am no exception.  My mother, who passed away earlier this year, was born in then-Czechoslovakia, survived the Holocaust, and later fled Communism and immigrated to the US.  She was very proud that I had returned to the Czech Republic representing the mightiest nation on earth.  She liked to tell people that “the Nazis deported me and my family to Auschwitz in a cattle car, and my son flew back on Air Force One!”  I am so glad that we shared a last adventure together in the form of my ambassadorship before she passed.

    While it is a great honor to serve, returning to a place where my mom, the rest of my family, and so many other Czechs and Slovaks were oppressed by the Nazis and the Communists, was not without its challenges.  I felt the weight of that history particularly during the first weeks of living in my residence – a home built by a Czech Jewish family that was commandeered by the Nazi General Staff before being purchased by the US after World War II.  Not long after moving in I discovered a swastika and a Nazi inventory number affixed underneath a beautiful antique table in my foyer—-seeing that was a stab in the heart.

  • Jack Lew Speaks to the American Jewish Committee Global Forum

    Last night, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew spoke at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum. There, he praised the Committee’s decades of work to build a better world at home and abroad. He also stressed the steps the President has taken to prevent a second Great Depression and create an economy built to last. And he reiterated our commitment to the unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel.

    Below are his full remarks as prepared for delivery.

  • Remarks by Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Anti-Defamation League

    On April 29th, Secretary Janet Napolitano was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with the William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award for her work as Secretary of Homeland Security in combatting terrorism, extremism, and injustice. The Secretary's full remarks are below.

    Thank you, Abe, for your kind words.

    I’ve been privileged to work with the Anti-Defamation League since the 1990s and was honored to receive the ADL Leader of Distinction award as Arizona Attorney General, and your “Torch of Liberty” award as Governor, as Abe mentioned.

    I am truly humbled again tonight to receive the William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award, for the Department of Homeland Security’s work to “combat terrorism, extremism, and injustice”.

  • Remarks by Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer to the American Jewish Committee of Greater Miami and Broward

    Last week, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer addressed the American Jewish Committee of Greater Miami and Broward where she reiterated the Administration's committment to normalizing Israel's status in the UN and countering efforts to de-legitimize the Jewish state.

    Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer's full remarks are below.

    I want to thank Brian Siegel and the American Jewish Committee of Greater Miami and Broward for hosting me and opening your doors again for me to discuss multilateral cooperation between the United States and Israel.

    Today I am going to focus on the Administration’s far-reaching efforts to normalize Israel’s status in and across the UN and broader multilateral system, and to counter head-on efforts of de-legitimization. I know these are issues AJC cares deeply about and has focused on internationally.