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Conservative Jews Praise Obama After Meeting

A group of leaders from the Conservative movement praised President Barack Obama after holding an informal meeting May 29 at the White House.

The 20 Conservative rabbis and lay leaders, who also met with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, said Obama emphasized his support for Israel and deep “appreciation of Jewish tradition.”

“He especially encouraged us to carry forward Judaism’s message of communal responsibility and the religious mandate to seek the welfare of all people in society,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis.

The rabbis questioned Obama on subjects including the administration’s position on the environment, immigration, the Middle East peace process during the meeting in the Roosevelt Room. They also discussed sanctions against Iran.

Conservatives said they came away impressed with the president’s candid, no-holds-barred approach.

“The opportunity to speak with candor and depth to the president was a privilege especially at a time when we are usually limited to sound bites and media selectivity”, said Rabbi Jack L. Moline of the Rabbinical Assembly.

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