President Obama Meets with Leaders of the Conservative Movement
Washington, DC -- President Obama met yesterday with a group of Conservative rabbis and Conservative Movement leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House (See list of attendees below).
The wide-ranging discussion included a focus on Israel, Iran, and domestic concerns. The President and his chief of staff Jacob Lew spent an hour answering questions from Conservative leadership from across the country.
“The President shared his sense of personal connection to the State of Israel and his deep knowledge and appreciation of Jewish tradition,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), which is the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis. “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.”
During the meeting, rabbis asked questions on subjects including the administration’s position on the environment, immigration, the Middle East Peace Process and civil discourse.
“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, Director of Public Policy, Rabbinical Assembly.
Dr. Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary and one of the world’s foremost experts on American Judaism, also took part in the meeting and appreciated the President’s candidness on the different issues discussed.
"What made the meeting special, I think, was the frankness and directness of the discussion. The President clearly valued the role of Jewish religious leaders in American society, and repeatedly stressed the importance of Jewish communities as part of the glue that holds our country together, Eisen said. “He urged us to speak out in the name of Judaism, and we did so forthrightly at the meeting."
Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism: The Association of North American Conservative Congregations, knows just how critical the Conservative Jewish community is in the upcoming election and added, “The meeting was warm and productive. Going into this upcoming election, the role of the Conservative Jewish community is critical; it quite literally constitutes the swing vote. While the Orthodox community can be counted on to vote predominantly Republican and the Reform community largely Democratic, Conservative Judaism – as the central address of contemporary Judaism -- represents the epicenter of our people’s political allegiances. Jews will be especially critical to the 2012 election.”
The Conservative Movement has a strong commitment to Israel and a long history of being an advocate on public policy.
Rabbi Bruce Dollin
Rabbi Ed Farber
Rabbi Jeffrey A Wohlberg
Rabbi Amy Greenbaum
Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin
Rabbi Daniel Greyber
Rabbi Danielle Upbin
Rabbi David M Ackerman
Rabbi Harold Berman
Dr. Arnold Martin Eisen
Mr. Marc Gary
Rabbi Luis Felipe Goodman
Rabbi Andrea L. Merow
Rabbi Jack L. Moline
Rabbi Danny S. Nevins
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld
Rabbi Steven Curtis Wernick
Mr. Richard Skolnik
Rabbi Eric S Yanoff