Monday, January 09, 2012

Obama names new chief of staff

With Bill Daley stepping down as chief of staff to President Obama, the president has tapped Jack Lew, an observant Jew, to replace him.
Lew, an Orthodox Jew, will replace William Daley, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

Lew is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level position and a post he also filled during the Clinton administration.

He was previously Obama's deputy secretary of state.

Daley is leaving after just over a year on the job; he replaced Rahm Emanuel, who left the White House to run successfully for Chicago's mayor.

Lew, like Emanuel, has close Jewish community ties.
Similar to the case of Rahm Emanuel being in on a conference call on Rosh HaShanah:
One story making the rounds in the United States is that Lew, when he was director for the Office of Management and Budget for former U.S. President Bill Clinton, refused to answer an urgent phone call from the president on the Sabbath, when using the phone is prohibited except in life-saving situations.

The speakerphone was turned on, and Clinton reportedly said, “I know it is the Sabbath, but this is urgent. G-d would understand.”

Lew later consulted with his rabbi, who told him that the Jewish concept of “pikuach Nefesh,” or saving lives, is applicable when the president calls urgently and that he can pick up the phone on the Sabbath without violating the Jewish law.

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