Rahm Emanuel is leaving, David Axelrod might be on his way out, Larry Summers will be gone by the fall, and Peter Orszag has already moved on.
Are there any Jews left in the White House?
The latest wave of departures of senior White House advisers seems to have taken its toll on the Jewish presence in top administration positions.
The most visible Jewish official, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, decided to part with President Obama and seek election as the mayor of his hometown of Chicago next year. David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president who’s been with Obama since their Chicago days, is reportedly also planning to leave this fall, although he will not be going far. Axelrod will focus on preparing Obama’s strategy for the 2012 presidential elections.
And over at the president’s economic team, Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, announced he would depart by the end of the year and return to Harvard.
Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, left the White House in the end of June, but at least in terms of Jewish head count that won’t make a difference, since his replacement, State Department’s Jacob Lew, is also a member of the tribe.
Having said that, there is still no shortage of Jewish officials in top White House positions, from senior adviser Dennis Ross and Middle East director Dan Shapiro at the National Security Council, to Jared Bernstein in the office of Vice President Joe Biden, and plenty of lower-level aides as well.
Not to worry, Obama’s seder table will not remain empty.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.