How Three Jewish Boys From Wilmette Became the 'Brothers Emanuel'

Oldest Brother Offers a Manual to Being Emanuel

Brother Z: Zeke Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a former medical advisor in the Obama White House
Candace diCarlo
Brother Z: Zeke Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a former medical advisor in the Obama White House

By Ben Joravsky

Published April 15, 2013, issue of April 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

● Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family
By Ezekiel Emanuel
Random House, 288 pages, $27

As near as I can tell, it was New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller who brought the world’s attention to the phenomenon of the three fabulous Emanuel brothers from Wilmette, Ill. Before Bumiller’s 1997 article, people in medicine knew about Ezekiel, just as people in politics and Hollywood respectively knew about Rahm and Ariel.

But Bumiller’s feature — “The Brothers Emanuel” — connected the dots, telling the improbable tale of how each of three high-energy siblings from one relatively unknown suburban Chicago family had clawed his way to the top of his respective heap.

Ezekiel, the oldest, is an oncologist, a bioethicist, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, a former medical advisor in the Obama White House and, if that’s not enough, a columnist for the Times. Ariel, the youngest, is a hard-charging Hollywood agent. He was also the prototype for Ari Gold, the hard-charging Hollywood agent played by Jeremy Piven on the TV show “Entourage.”

And, of course, there’s Rahm, the middle child and best known of the bunch. A former high-ranking White House aide to Presidents Clinton and Obama, he’s currently mayor of Chicago and — well, who knows what’s next.

Somehow Rahm barely manages to conceal his ambition to become the country’s first Jewish president.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.