click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​



An Open Letter to President Barack Obama: Appoint a Secretary of Jewish Affairs!


Dear President Obama, congratulations on your stunning victory and election to the highest office in the land. Woo-hoo! High five! And another high five for not losing your temper after being interviewed on 60 minutes for the twelfth time. Seriously, how many times can you talk about how you're getting Sasha and Malia a new puppy? But I digress. You are a brilliant and charismatic leader, and we Americans have great expectations for what your administration can and will accomplish. Yet as capable as you are there is always the need for skilled and trusted advisors, hence, the existence of the U.S. Cabinet.

You have selected some accomplished political leaders to fill your own Cabinet, including Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State, Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Ice Cream. I think that's her title, anyway. Yet there is one demographic that remains glaringly un-represented in your Cabinet. I'm referring, of course, to America's Jews.

You have selected some accomplished political leaders to your Cabinet, including Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Ice Cream.

If the Obama Administration is all about change as you have argued, why not take this opportunity to reach out and make yet another ground-breaking change -- establishing a new Cabinet position and appointing a Secretary of Jewish Affairs immediately for your Administration. Yes, you can!

Because I know how extremely busy you must be, Mr. President, I've taken the liberty of preparing the following proposed list of suggested duties and responsibilities of the Secretary of Jewish Affairs. Feel free to accept, reject, or adjust as needed.

Some of the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary of Jewish Affairs ("SOJA") might include:

Entertainer Restoration:

Comic legends Jackie Mason, Shelly Berman, Mort Sahl and Joan Rivers have virtually dropped out of site. It's discrimination, plain and simple. Doesn't seeing Joan Rivers hawking jewelry on the Home Shopping Network break your heart? Can we talk – about a waste of her talent? The SOJA will assist in restoring these national treasures to their proper places on the TV talk shows, Las Vegas stages, HBO concerts and recording contracts. The SOJA can even establish a Jewish Comic Legends Training Academy in which future Jewish comic legends can be taught all the classic mother-in-law jokes, how to appeal to condo and ship cruise audiences, and the proper amount of Yiddishisms to sprinkle throughout their acts.

Ending Sports Anti-Semitism:

Do you know how many Jewish players are currently in the NBA? Go ahead, take a guess? Ready for this? One. One! Jordan Farmar of the L.A. Lakers. This is an outrage, especially when you consider how many African Americans eat at Jewish delis and enjoy Woody Allen films. The SOJA will ensure that there is a minimum quota or "minyan" of Jewish players on every professional sports team. If it should fall short of the quota, the team will be fined and the money used to develop future Jewish athletes.

SOJA will ensure a minimum quota or "minyan" of Jewish players on every professional sports team.

Add Pizzazz to Our Jewish Organizations:

I attended a Sunday Gospel church service in downtown Los Angeles that featured two rock bands on stage, a light show, and a congregation so energized you would have mistaken them for a Super Bowl crowd. Why don't the ladies at the Hadassah rock like that? If they did, I'd say to them, "You had me at 'shalom'."The SOJA can lead the way to that kind of reinvigoration of our Jewish organizations. Let's have a Klezmer band, a Hora contest, Jewish comedians, a kugel bake-off competition. Why shouldn't Jewish Federation meetings be more fun? Sadly, we all know how cash strapped Jewish organizations are right now. Putting the "fun" back in Fundraising is the least we could do. And SOJA's already come up with a slogan: Show Us the Money – to Save the Land of Milk and Honey.

Relocating Israel's Enemies to Florida:

The conflict in the Middle East, clearly, is never going to end. At least not in our lifetimes nor in the lifetimes of our children. You know it. I know it. Everyone but George Bush knows it. So why not do the smart thing and relocate all of Israel's enemies to a different, much safer homeland – Florida? But is that fair to members of Hamas, you ask, who may have lived in the region for generations? Not to fear because Florida has everything Israel has – the weather, the oranges, people who know what hummus is, and of course the millions of Jews. It's a no-brainer. The SOJA can help broker the move and even arrange for a group discount from the Nice Jewish Boys Moving Company.

Why not relocate all of Israel's enemies to a different, much safer homeland – Florida?

Changing Our National Anthem:

Oh, sure, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is catchy and all, and it's fun to sing at sports games. But in these violent, danger-filled times, do we really need to joyously sing about "the bombs bursting in air"? Do we want other nations to see and hear us singing about "the rockets' red glare"? Call me a radical, but I believe we're putting the wrong image out there. I believe we need a national anthem that's less war-like, more life-affirming, more, yes, Jewish. And the SOJA is just the one to push for such a new song. Why not one that truly reflects the American character, such as "If I Were a Rich Man"? Honestly, would you rather spend your time observing the bombs bursting in air, or hanging out doing, oh, "biddy biddy bum"? I think I've made my point.

January 17, 2009

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 22

(22) Irongranny, May 2, 2009 1:17 AM

Pres. Odrama (pun intended) needs jewlarious

That guy in the White House has no sense of humor and he needs one. Brilliant suggestion about moving the terrorists to Florida and how about a Jewish colony in Cuba. I don't think Odrama would know a Jew if he saw one or even talked to one --oh, that would be so funny, Odrama talking to a real Jew.

(21) Liora, January 29, 2009 11:16 AM


"biddy biddy bum" :-)

(20) Lisa, January 28, 2009 8:33 PM

I agree with you Joe

Thanks for saying it so well. I didn't consider this funny....just a bunch of Jewish references.

(19) Guillermo, January 22, 2009 1:24 PM

(18) You forgot!

You are missing the very best one: FDIC Head, Mrs. Sheila Baer. You can tell she is Jewish just by listening to her, tremendous wisdom, remarkable knowledge, and so much love for her fellow men. AND she pays for her taxes. America loves her! It was a BIG mistake not to have named her as our Secretary of Treasury. Soon Jews and we, Christians, are going to have to find solutions to the financial catastrophe we are in. Blessings!

(18) Anonymous, January 22, 2009 5:01 AM

This Man is No Joke - in any case here are his Jewish appointees

Obama's Important Appointees Introducing the new White House Staff. So far we have: Rahm Emanuel - Chief of Staff - Jewish David Axelrod - Senior Advisor to the President - Jewish Ronald Klain - Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States - Jewish Larry Summers - Economic Advisor to the President - Jewish Paul Volcker - Economic Advisor to the President, Former Head of Fed Reserve - Jewish Tim Geithner - Treasury Secretary - Jewish Peter Orszag - Head of Budget - Jewish Am I the only one noticing that Obama and Biden are not so much assembling staff, as gathering a minyan? Only three more needed!" I would rather he hadn't and whatever blame comes down the pike for failure to do the job fell on Obama's shoulders - no theirs!!!!

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