A friend told me that when he mentioned to his young daughter last week that he was going to attend the White House Chanukah party, she looked up at him wide-eyed and said, “I didn’t even know President Obama was Jewish.”
During his four-year tenure as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, marked by an often-stormy relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, Michael Oren was the consummate diplomat. He was dignified, thoughtful, articulate, knowledgeable and tactful.
I had dinner Sunday evening with a group of Chabad rabbis in Brooklyn.
Several thousand of them, actually. Wearing their traditional black suits, black hats and long beards they filled the cavernous Brooklyn Marine Terminal with their ebullient enthusiasm. It was said to be the largest dinner of the year in New York, and I don’t doubt it.
Elie Wiesel, the Nobel peace laureate and perhaps the most respected figure in Jewish life, is being honored this week by the 92nd Street Y on the occasion of his 180th appearance there, a run that has spanned almost five decades.