Home Highlights L’shalom and stay in touch!

L’shalom and stay in touch!

TPV loves this White House. It is very considerate of everybody’s religious sympathies. TPV loves it so much that we will even share a tip on how to avoid wasting time and energy: there is no need to ask any Jew to get healthcare (everything below reproduces the WH email). Every Jewish mother has a doctor in the family. But do talk to us about shalom. Even the best of us need a reminder.

To a better year, TPV.


The White House

American Jewish Outreach Update


The past few weeks have been extremely busy here at the White House when it comes to our outreach to the American Jewish community. In addition to two Hanukkah receptions, we’ve been engaging with the community regarding the Administration’s ongoing efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The President, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew all addressed the community on Iran along with other important topics at events detailed below. And Vice President Biden announced a new set of Administration actions to help support the unmet needs of Holocaust survivors living in the U.S. More information about and links to all of these appearances is below.

Finally, an important reminder that December 23, 2013, is the deadline to enroll in affordable healthcare through the health insurance Marketplace for coverage beginning on January 1, 2014. Click here to see the four ways you can sign up.

L’shalom and stay in touch!

Matt Nosanchuk

President Obama and Secretary Kerry Appear at the Saban Policy Forum

The President sat down with Haim Saban at the 10th Annual Saban Policy Forum on December 7, for a wide-ranging conversation before an audience of U.S. and Israeli policymakers and opinion leaders who were brought together by the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.

President Obama Speaks at the Saban ForumDuring their discussion, the President explained current Administration policy on Iran:

Ultimately, my goal as President of the United States — something that I’ve said publicly and privately and shared everywhere I’ve gone — is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. But what I’ve also said is the best way for us to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon[] is for a comprehensive, verifiable, diplomatic resolution, without taking any other options off the table if we fail to achieve that.

He also reaffirmed his strong support for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian direct final status negotiations to resolve the decades-old conflict:

[W]hat I’ve consistently said is that the only way this is going to be resolved is if the people of Israel and the Palestinian people make a determination that their futures and the futures of their children and grandchildren will be better off with peace than with conflict. The United States can be an effective facilitator of that negotiation and dialogue; we can help to bridge differences and bridge gaps.


Read the transcript of the President’s conversation with Haim Saban and watch the video:

Secretary Kerry also delivered a keynote address at the Saban Forum. Read and watch his remarks.

Hanukkah at the White House

As the 8th day of Hanukkah drew to a close, the President and Mrs. Obama welcomed a diverse cross-section of the American Jewish community to the White House for two Hanukkah receptions.  You can read all about them in Matt Nosanchuk’s blog post, which links to the evening video and remarks, in which the President noted the passing of Nelson Mandela and touched on current policy on Iran, as well as the afternoon video and remarks, in which the President welcomed the 10-year-old inventor of the menurkey and the creators of Thanksgivukkah to the White House.

President Obama Speaks at Hanukkah ReceptionMore than 100 guests attending the Hanukkah receptions also had the opportunity to participate in a White House Hanukkah policy briefing focused on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The off-the-record briefing featured a panel of senior administration officials – Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Advisor; Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications; David Cohen, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence; Ilan Goldenberg, Chief of Staff to the Special Envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations; and David Makovsky, Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy. Jewish Community Liaison Matt Nosanchuk moderated the session.

White House Hanukkah Policy BriefingGuests attending the White House Hanukkah reception at a White House Hanukkah policy briefing focused on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (Photo by White House Office of Public Engagement)

Vice President Biden Announces Holocaust Survivor Assistance Proposal

On December 10, in keynote remarks delivered at the Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC’s) centennial conference in Washington, the Vice President announced that the President and he have directed the Administration to adopt a three-part plan of action that builds on existing efforts by nonprofits and the philanthropic community to address the unmet needs of Holocaust Survivors living in the U.S., many of whom live in poverty or isolation.  He described the initiative in his remarks:

The Jewish community has been leading this for decades.  And the President and I have decided it’s time for us to step up and build on your efforts.  So I’m announcing today we’re about to appoint a special envoy to the Department of Health and Human Services charged with the mission to reach out across federal agencies to help find the kind of support that nonprofits need to effectively deliver services like home care, transportation, meal delivery and other services to these survivors living in poverty.

This will make the government more responsive to a Hungarian survivor in the Bronx who needs a wheelchair or the elderly woman with memories of Warsaw ghetto who needs a ride to the doctor.  We’re also going to secondly, create a new partnership through AmeriCorps to bring together volunteers with community-based organizational skills that support local Nazi victims living in isolation and poverty.  AmeriCorps and VISTA members are going to be working at a national level, and local levels, to help plan and execute these programs, recruit and manage volunteers, and help with resource development efforts.

And, thirdly, recognizing the Jewish community’s collective commitment to helping these vulnerable populations, we’re also looking to new public-private partnership opportunities with foundations, nonprofits and private sectors to increase the resources available to support these survivors and their unmet needs, because I still think by working together we can increase the overall resources available.

In the coming months, the Administration will continue to consult on these steps with the American Jewish community, including with Survivors and the organizations that support them.

In addition to the Vice President, other senior officials addressed JDC, including Secretary of State John Kerry, whose remarks can be read and viewed here; and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, whose remarks can be read here.

Hanukkah Candlelighting for Immigration Reform

Representatives from eight major Jewish organizations were invited to a special Hanukkah candlelighting with Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Matt Nosanchuk.  The event tied together the American Jewish community’s strong support for immigration reform with the themes of Hanukkah.  After welcoming remarks by Cecilia,  leaders from each organization were invited to light a candle for immigration reform on a the very special Statute of Liberty Centennial Menorah, which was loaned by the Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia to the White House for the afternoon Hanukkah reception.

Participating organizations included the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Bend the Arc, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, the National Council for Jewish Women (NCJW), and the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (RAC).

Hanukkah Candlelighting for Immigration Reform

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  1. I was looking for the punchline. Finally, after reading the first paragraph quite a few times I understood that was it. Tricky

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