Amid intense speculation about her future political plans, former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Rodham Cinton has accepted an invitation to be honored by the American Jewish Congress on March 19th.
The event comes at an interesting juncture for both host and honoree as the AJCongress struggles to regain its stature after ceasing operations and laying off most of its staff in 2010. A restructured group emerged last year, run by longtime president Jack Rosen and a few associates. Rosen was a fundraiser for Clinton's husband, Bill, and other Democrats, including Barack Obama.
No longer a membership organization, AJCongress, founded in 1918 to provide a unified voice for American Jewish leaders has kept a low profile in Jewish organizational life. It remains a member of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations, however.
A save-the-date notice for the upcoming gala at Cipriani's in Midtown was obtained by the Daily News Monday. A spokesman for the organization declined to comment on the event when contacted by The Jewish Week, saying more information would be forthcoming when available. He said Rosen was not available for an interview.
Hillary Clinton is widely expected to be a Democratic candidate for president next year, as she was in 2008. A New York Times Magazine story explored the vast network of political operatives already in place for such a campaign and how she might utiilize it.
"Having Hillary Clinton is always a big thing for any organization," said New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. "It pumps up the AJC and may help it get back in its feet."
Sheinkopf said the appearance would guarantee widespread attention to what might otherwise be an obscure dinner. "All she has to do is wake up and breathe and she creates attention."
If she decides to run, Sheinkopf said, Clinton and her team will likely keep a close eye on Massachussets senator Elizabeth Warren and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
"The cities are determining where the party is going," Sheinkopf said. "[Warren] is serious on repairing the income gaps. And O'Malley is an inside player who can raise money."
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