As President Richard Joel bestowed honorary degrees at Yeshiva University’s 88th convocation last week at the Waldorf-Astoria, not a word was uttered about allegations of sexual abuse by two rabbis in the 1970s and ‘80s at its boys high school. That was the era of Rabbi Norman Lamm, the university’s third president.
In 2003 Joel succeeded Lamm who then became chancellor. Lamm, 84, was conspicuously absent from this convocation even though he participated every year.
Last week, I had the honor of sitting at a table with the President of the United States in the Roosevelt Room at The White House. President Obama and his Chief of Staff, Jacob Lew, wanted to hear from Conservative rabbis from around the country. It was a meeting I will remember for the rest of my life.
After one of those “holds” that has nothing to do with the person being considered for high office, the Senate has confirmed Jacob “Jack” Lew as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Lew, who is now deputy secretary of state, held the OMB job at the end of the Clinton administration.
Lew has always struck me as one of the smartest people in Jewish/public life, which leads to this question: if he's so smart, why does he want this thankless job?