The Forward 50

Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel

Politics

First known as the bare-knuckled wunderkind of Bill Clinton’s presidential staff, Rahm Emanuel launched his own political career with a 2002 congressional run from his native Chicago. Though on a fast track to become the first Jewish Speaker of the House of Representatives, he reluctantly returned to a second-banana role in 2009 as President Obama’s White House chief of staff.

This year, the 51-year-old Emanuel struck out on his own again, heading home to run for mayor of Chicago. Easily winning a six-way race with 55% of the vote, Emanuel was inaugurated May 16, becoming the Windy City’s first Jewish mayor. Unusual for an elected official, he’s used his bully pulpit repeatedly to articulate his personal Jewish credo. In June, he defended Obama’s Israel record on ABC News and in a Washington Post Op-Ed, adding that as “the son of an Israeli immigrant,” he had a “deep and abiding commitment” to Israel’s security. He also wrote, “…[I]f during the two years I served in the Obama White House the Palestinians had spent as much time working for peace as they did avoiding the table, the process would be much farther along.”

Reflecting on his own career in a September 20 keynote address at the annual meeting of Chicago’s Jewish United Fund, he said, “To be a Jew is to be a member of a community — and that’s not just our community… We have an obligation beyond our community to serve.”

Plus One

The 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 Forward requires 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, the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • 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.