Shabbat Comes to the White House
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

Shabbat Comes to the White House

Shabbat Comes to the White House

Jacob Lew is appointed White House Chief of Staff. Is that good for the Jews?


First it was Joe Lieberman gaining notoriety as an Orthodox Jew running (unsuccessfully) for Vice President in 2000. Now comes the announcement of Jacob Lew being appointed by President Obama to serve in the powerful position of White House Chief of Staff.

Lew and his wife Ruth have a home in the Bronx, where they are members of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. They also have an apartment in Washington and attend Congregation Beth Shalom of Potomac. They have two grown children.

Lew observes Shabbat, which means that he leaves the office on Friday afternoons in time to get home before sundown, and for the next 25 hours does not use electricity, including the telephone.

Under the headline, "Lew Didn't Answer Earthly Authority," NBC News describes that while working for Clinton, Lew’s home phone rang one Saturday. He didn’t answer and the President’s voice could be heard from the answering machine, urging him to pick up the phone. Clinton said he understood the sanctity of the Sabbath, but that the call was important – and that “God would understand.”

Here’s the question: Is having an observant Jew in such a powerful position “good for the Jews”?

Is it good for the Lews?

Share your comments in the box below.

Published: January 10, 2012

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 146

(125) Jana Ondrackova, March 19, 2013 6:04 PM

yes, it is goppd fpr the Jews

I do have reservations as for him being an orthodox Jew. about him being an orthodox Jew. P.S. What exactly did Clonton want and was the phone answered?

(124) Starr, March 17, 2013 9:29 PM


I am very glad to hear there will be a voice of reason in that huge white house on the hill. I pray it will be heard and listened to when needed. If this appointment is only a ploy, it will probably back fire for truth and what is jsut and right will not perish under pressure

(123) Anonymous, January 11, 2013 1:41 AM

On the surface, Great News; however could spell trouble

I very much fear that if the economy in the U.S. turns south, or there is yet another recession, guess who will be blamed? (I am not a fan of Obama -- he tells too many lies, cannot be trusted, favors the Muslim Brotherhood, and I don't think he's serious about preventing Iran from going nuclear.)

(122) S Dale, June 4, 2012 7:26 AM

Politics as usual

I believe this is just another political ploy Obama is using to keep the Jewish vote. Remember Obama knows so much about Judaism " because he has read about it"...OOOIIIYYYY!!!! I'm not Jewish but love Israel....the People and the Land. G-d Bless you!!!

(121) Barbara Fields, May 29, 2012 1:07 PM

Chief of Staff

Not only good for the Jews but for the world only if he is for the defense and survival of the Jewish State,insists on more respect to Bibi and Israel, condemns terrorism, and tells the real truth not the ameliorated one and was put into this position not only to save face for the White House but to really bring Halacha and Justice on a bipartisan level. Right now we have no friends in the White House.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
Sign up today!