Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Obama Will Be First Prez to Attend UJC

Insiders wonder if it’s just a way to tell Feinberg ‘thanks’

Print Email

Amid all the excitement from the United Jewish Communities this morning over their announcement that President Obama will address its upcoming General Assembly meeting, we wondered when was the last time a president appeared at the annual event, which draws together the senior leadership of local Jewish federations throughout the country. And guess what? After a look through the archives, a UJC publicist confirmed that the answer, somewhat surprisingly, is never. The only other president to come close was Bill Clinton, who delivered remarks by satellite to the 4,000-person gathering in Indianapolis back in 1997. (George H.W. Bush also addressed the group, when he was still Ronald Reagan’s vice-president, as did Al Gore.)

So the next question, of course, is why now? There are all kinds of political benefits, of course—Obama, whose Middle East policies have been heavily criticized in some quarters of the Jewish community, can take his case for peace directly to people who can communicate it back to their local communities. And he’s apparently been able to draw Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, into making the trip from Jerusalem, which means another opportunity for them to talk in person. But the insider scuttlebutt we’ve heard notes a perfectly good reason much closer to home: the event is being chaired by UJC executive committee member Dede Feinberg and her husband, Kenneth—the Treasury’s special master for compensation who has, of course, just finished putting in place an extremely contentious Administration plan for cutting pay to the top dogs at bailed-out Wall Street banks. In other words, it may just be the president’s way of saying thanks.

Earlier: Obama to Address UJC Assembly

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Obama Will Be First Prez to Attend UJC

Insiders wonder if it’s just a way to tell Feinberg ‘thanks’

More on Tablet:

Landmark Gay Rights Protest Turns 50

By Jonathan Zalman — Today we celebrate the anniversary of the first-ever march on Washington, led by Frank Kameny