The Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Jewish Republicans are schepping such nachas over Josh Bolten’s appointment as White House chief of staff. They remind me of expecting grandparents when the little tzozkele arrives. Oooh, isn’t he cute! Doesn’t he have Aunt Sadie’s nose?! But seriously (or at least as serious as I can be over such a ridiculous piece of “journalism”), aren’t you proud that Josh Bolten’s now on call as George Bush’s court Jew? Not only can he get a call from Ehud or Shimon through to the prez, he also caters great jelly doughnuts for the White House Chanukah party. I kid you not. This is what this little piece of JTA puffery taught us about Uncle Joshie aka Good Jew Joshie:
When Josh Bolten walked into his first meeting as a member of President Bush’s Cabinet in the summer of 2003, he was asked to lead the president and the Cabinet in prayer. He chose to pray for the welfare of the American government, both in Hebrew and English, a sign of his strong Jewish identity.
I don’t know about you but the cockles of my Jewish heart are warming already!
And leave it to Josh to bensch lichten (“bless candles”) on Chanukah and arrange for a megillah reading at the Big House:
He frequently has been seen at White House Chanukah candle lightings, and participated in a Megillah reading at the White House during Purim this year.
While the article quotes a United Jewish Communities (successor to UJA) executive boasting of what terrific access Bolten will provide the Jewish power elite, it doesn’t appear the same will hold true for Jewish groups critical of Administration policy:
several Jewish groups have complained in the past about the lack of White House access for liberal organizations that do not share the Bush administration’s mind-set on issues such as the Iraq war and faith-based initiatives.
Peace Now, Israel Policy Forum and Brit Tzedek, you can enter the White House through the servant’s quarters if you’re liucky enough to get in at all.
And I don’t know about you, but an endorsement from Chabad sure makes me feel good about Josh’s yiddishkeit:
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Washington office director of American Friends of Lubavitch, called Bolten a “quintessential American Jewish public servant.”
“He’s a Jew who’s constantly seeking to learn and understand more about the Jewish traditions,” Shemtov said. “He’s someone who identifies proudly with the Jewish people and is always there for the community.”
This encomium from one of Josh’s former subordinates is just so touching I had to share it with you:
Noam Neusner, a former White House Jewish liaison, served as Bolten’s communications director at OMB and described his former boss as “brilliant.”
“He’s extremely genial and extremely hard-working,” Neusner said. “He’s a great guy to know.”
And you’ll schep endless nachas to know that Josh keeps kosher in the midst of all those Bush ranch Texas BBQ pork ribs:
Bolten first began working for George W. Bush when he was campaigning for president in 1999. Laura Bush and others made sure barbecues for campaign staffers had vegetables on the grill for Bolten, while the rest ate barbecued pork, colleagues said.
For the piece de la resistance, I simply have to tell you about Josh’s great love for Chanukah fun:
Once at the White House, he would bring dreidels and chocolate gelt to senior staff meetings at Chanukah, and has a mezuzah on his White House door.
Don’t know ’bout you but I sleep easier at night knowing Josh is there to take care of our Jewish interests. George, you’ve picked a marvelous court Jew in Josh Bolten.