Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

At GA, Emanuel Talks U.S. Policy, His Own Jewish Practice

Filling in for the President of the United States is a tough job for anyone, especially when the audience is made up of 3,000 Jewish activists eagerly anticipating the first address of the President Obama to a Jewish communal organization.

But White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel managed to keep the crowd satisfied in his Tuesday speech at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly. He gave a detailed policy speech, and took on claims against his boss from members of the Jewish community. He also succeeded in making participants laugh, living up to his reputation as one of the sharpest politicians in town.

So here are some of the Emanuel highlights:

• After making a joke at the expense of his Washington, D.C.-based rabbi, Jack Moline, Emanuel shared with the crowd his concern that at next year’s High Holy Day services, he would be moved to the back row. That, according to Emanuel, would actually be better because it would allow him to leave before the service is over.

• On being sent to stand in for President Obama, Emanuel said that he understood that he was not the first choice, but reassured his Jewish listeners that he was not offended. Being a middle child, Emanuel said, prepared him for that.

• Emanuel gave his father credit for instilling in him the value of persistence: “Some of my political opponents would say he instilled this quality a little too successful.”

• But the line that got the most applause was when Emanuel spoke of his plans to travel with his brother Ari to celebrate the bar mitzvah of their respective sons in Israel this year. “That’s cheap, the applause,” Emanuel told the cheering Jewish delegates.“I’ll take an $18 check on behalf of him.”

For more highlights of Emanuel speech, regarding Israel, the Palestinians and Iran, click here.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.