Obama meets with Orthodox rabbis, leaders

SHARE Obama meets with Orthodox rabbis, leaders
SHARE Obama meets with Orthodox rabbis, leaders

WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama stopped by a meeting of Orthodox Jewish leaders Tuesday at the White House, a week after he dropped by a similiar meeting of Conservative leaders. Obama spoke to the Reform movement when he keynoted a session of the Union of Reform Judaism convention earlier this year.

The visits come as the Obama re-election team is trying to shore up Obama support in the Jewish community.

A White House official said, “”This afternoon, President Obama dropped by a meeting that White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew was holding with a group of leaders from the Orthodox Jewish community. The President discussed with the rabbis and lay leaders a variety of issues of mutual concern on issues related to both domestic and foreign policy. The President reiterated his unwavering support for Israel’s security and his commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Click below for a release from the Orthodox Union with a list of rabbis and lay leaders at the meeting.

The meetings were covered by the Jewish press in the U.S. and at Israeli publications:

Haaretz story is HERE.

Times of Israel story is HERE.

JTA story is HERE.

below, from the Orthodox Union…


Today, a delegation of rabbinic and lay leaders from the American Orthodox Jewish community met at The White House with President of the United States Barack Obama and his Chief of Staff, Mr. Jack Lew. The meeting was organized by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (aka “the Orthodox Union”) through its Washington, DC office and its Executive Director for Public Policy, Nathan Diament.

Among the policy issues discussed with the President and his Chief of Staff were:

U.S. policy toward Israel

U.S. action to thwart Iran’s effort to obtain nuclear weapons

Proposals for expanding federal aid in support of Jewish day school education

The critical importance of protecting the religious liberties of faith-institutions in the United States

Ongoing efforts to bolster the security of Jewish community institutions in the face of terror threats through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program

After the meeting, Dr. Simcha Katz, President of the Orthodox Union, stated: “We are deeply appreciative to President Obama and Chief of Staff Lew for meeting with us to discuss the President’s priorities and the Orthodox Jewish community’s values and interests.”

Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the Orthodox Union, stated: “We are honored that the Orthodox Union could play our role as the convener of this important meeting with President Obama in service to our community and the country in which we are blessed to live.”

Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy, stated: “Today, President Obama engaged with Orthodox Jewish leaders in a thoughtful and serious conversation about the values and interests of our community. We look forward to ongoing opportunities to work with the President on shared goals.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, in the Oval Office the Orthodox leaders presented President Obama with a framed reproduction of President George Washington’s letter to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island — the first occasion upon which Jewish leaders and an American president exchanged their views.

Among those attending the meeting, were:

Dr. Simcha Katz, President — Orthodox Union

Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director — Orthodox Union

Mr. Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy — Orthodox Union

Mr. Yehuda Neuberger, Public Policy Chairman — Orthodox Union

Mr. Allen Fagin, Senior Vice President — Orthodox Union

Mrs. Shira Yoshor, Orthodox Union Community Network Leader, Houston, TX; Trustee, Yeshiva University

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, President — Rabbinical Council of America

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Congregation Kehillath Jeshurun, New York

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Boca Raton Synagogue, Florida

Rabbi Benjamin Blau, Green Road Synagogue, Cleveland, Ohio

Rabbi Avraham Shmidman, Lower Merion Synagogue, Pennsylvania

Rabbi Shalom Baum, Congregation Keter Torah, Teaneck, New Jersey

Mrs. Ellen Lightman, Board Member — Orthodox Union

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