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.
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● 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.


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