Blog Posts Related to the American Jewish Community

  • An Unbreakable Bond with the State of Israel

    Yesterday, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, addressed over 2,500 attendees at the J Street Conference in Washington, DC. There, Valerie reiterated the President’s iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security and shared stories of her personal connections to the Jewish people. Attendants at the J Street Conference also heard from Tony Blinken, the National Security Advisor to the Vice President.

  • A Visit with the Beren Academy Stars

    Jarrod Bernstein with Beren Academy Basketball Team

    White House Director of Jewish Outreach Jarrod Bernstein with Beren Academy basketball team in Houston, TX, March 16, 2012. (Photo from Robert M. Beren Academy)

    Last Friday, I had the privilege of visiting the Robert M. Beren Academy Stars basketball team in Houston, TX. The team received attention after they chose to forfeit the Texas state semi-final for high school basketball rather than playing on Shabbat. After receiving attention in thenational news, the league eventually agreed to move the game and the Beren Stars were allowed to play in the state championship.

  • White House Celebrates Purim with Megillah Reading

    White House Purim Celebration

    White House and Agency staff celebrate the Jewish Holiday of Purim with a Megillah Reading, March 8, 2012. (Photo by Daniel Ensign)

    On March 8, Jews around the world celebrated the holiday of Purim, made famous in the Book of Esther, which tells the story of the Jews of ancient Persia overcoming a murderous plot by Haman. White House and Agency staffers from all faiths and backgrounds gathered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to celebrate the holiday. In partnership with Rabbi Levi Shemtov of the American Friends of Lubavitch, staffers were led in a reading of the Megillah by Rabbi Shua Hecht.

  • Ambassador Susan Rice's Remarks at the AIPAC Synagogue Initiative Lunch

    On Monday, March 5th, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice addressed the Synagogue Initiative lunch at the AIPAC Policy Conference. There, she reiterated the administration's support for Israel and shared the story of her personal connection with Israel. Following her speech, over 400 rabbis sang her favorite psalm, Hinei ma’tov uma-nayim, shevet achim gam yachad - "behold how good and how pleasing if people could sit together in unity."

    Ambassador Rice's remarks are below:

  • U.S.-Israel Cooperation Strengthens Security of Both Countries

    President Obama has stated that the most extreme threat to global security is nuclear terrorism. The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of the President’s main resources to combat this threat.

    In mid-January, I traveled with colleagues from DNDO to Tel Aviv, Israel, to observe a national-level Israeli Ministry of Defense exercise. The exercise explored detection and response capabilities surrounding a simulated Radiation Dispersal Device (RDD) (“dirty bomb”) terrorist attack. As one of President Obama’s key nuclear terrorism experts, I sought to advance our collective efforts to prevent and ultimately detect the illicit movement of nuclear and radiological material. 

  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Israel in Speech to AIPAC Policy Conference

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a meeting at Blair House in Washington, D.C., March 5, 2012. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

    On Tuesday, March 6th, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference where he reaffirmed President Obama's "commitment to maintain and expand Israel’s qualitative military edge." This speech follows Secretary Panetta's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, March 5th.

  • President Obama to Address AIPAC Policy Conference

    From Press Secretary Jay Carney's Daily Press Briefing on February 21:

    First, we are pleased to announce that the President will address this year's annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, March 4.  The President welcomes this opportunity to speak to the strength of the special bonds between Israel and the United States.  As you know and has been previously announced, the President has a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 5th, the day after.


    Jarrod Bernstein is the Director of Jewish Outreach in the Office of Public Engagement.

  • Readout of the National Security Advisor’s Trip to Israel

    Over the weekend, Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor, visited Israel as part of the continuing high-level dialogue between the United States and Israel. The readout of the National Security Advisor's visit is below:

    National Security Advisor Tom Donilon concluded a three day visit to Israel today for consultations with senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, Chief of the General Staff Gantz, and National Security Advisor Gen. Yaakov Amidror.  Mr. Donilon and his delegation addressed the full range of security issues of mutual concern.  The visit is part of the continuous and intensive dialogue between the United States and Israel and reflects our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.  Mr. Donilon relayed to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the President looks forward to meeting with him at the White House on March 5.

    Jarrod Bernstein is the Director of Jewish Outreach in the Office of Public Engagement.