Jared Kushner was 16 years old when President Bill Clinton paid a visit to the New Jersey offices of his father’s corporation. It wasn’t Kushner’s first encounter with high-powered Washington players, even at this young age. His father, Charles, was a major political donor and as such, courtesy visits such as this were not uncommon. Politicians, at seemed, were always eager to show their appreciation of Charles Kushner’s generosity.
This 1997 visit, according to a Washington Post profile of the first son-in-law, had a special Jewish meaning to it. Kushner’s father, after listening to President Clinton “lavishing praise on the Kushners,” according to the Post, rewarded the president with a shofar as a sign of his appreciation.
It is not clear whether Clinton took the shofar with him back to the White House, if it was ever used in a Jewish prayer service or if Clinton, known as a talented saxophonist, ever took up the ram’s horn.
A few years later, Charles Kushner was sent to jail for exceeding federal limits for political donations, although the shofar gifted to Clinton was not part of his illegal political scam.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz 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. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman